Friday, January 16, 2009

And Skeeter makes three...

Skeeter is a big black lab. He came to live with us a year ago at Christmas. My son, Alex brought him from Ft. Leonard Wood, MO where he had been abandoned by a family who was moving. Skeeter was about 3 months old when he was abandoned... along with a cat... in a small animal carrier. Alex's friend had rescued him but couldn't keep him so Alex took him knowing that he, too, would have to give him up when he deployed to Iraq again the following May. Because Alex had re-enlisted & been promoted to Seargent he was required to attend some special schooling between January & April. When he was home for Thanksgiving (2007) he approached me about caring for Skeeter. How could I say "no" after I had kept my daughter's 2 year old little girl for a year while she was in Iraq??

Skeeter arrived, with his pillow & a couple chew toys, and LOTS of energy. It was a real power struggle between him & Hayli for a while. My daughter came home from Iraq in February & packed up Hayli... leaving me with just Skeeter. He hadn't been socialized - with other dogs - but found a friend on the other side of the fence. Jerry's son Bryan brought one of his dogs, Maggie, over to play & after the usual "doggie introductions" (sniffing of the butts) they became instant friends!

I tried to get Skeeter leash trained but he is much to strong for me to control... and I wasn't about to spend time & money on obedience school (shame on me). His manners were actually pretty good... except for getting overly excited when people came to visit. He doesn't understand that not everyone wants to be his friend! He has gotten much better!

We left for Colorado the first of June... and took Skeeter with us. We spent the first 2 months in a 16' camper in an RV park where Skeeter made friends with some other dogs. He ran around most of the time playing with the dogs, playing in the creek. When we looked at lots we'd take Skeeter with us and he'd run... burning off excess energy!

We have friends in the mountains who have a 4-year old chocolate lab named Halley & a 10-year old Irish wolfhound mix named Snickers. We introduced Skeeter to these dogs & he LOVED having someone to play with. Twice he had to be dragged out from under our friends' deck when it was time to leave... just like pulling a small child out from under a bed when it's time to leave a friend's house!

When we finally bought the lot we were going to build on he had loads of space to run & explore. While we were building our cabin he would wander around our 5 acres... and probably the adjacent acreages. He'd bring back bleached white deer & elk bones, burying them under trees.

One day while we were working I noticed that he hadn't been around for quite some time. I heard a yelp but didn't think much of it... figuring he'd probably stepped on cactus or something?? I went outside & yelled for him several times... and finally he appeared... with a chin full of porcupine quills!! I tried to pull some out but he was associating the pliers with pain & wouldn't let me after I'd pulled maybe 20 out of his neck. By the end of the second day his neck was full of infection. I made an emergency phone call to a vet... who put Skeeter to sleep in order to get the quills out. Hopefully he's learned not to be overly curious about things! By the time this happened he'd reached about 100 pounds... both the vet in Nebraska & Colorado told me he'll probably top out at around 125 pounds.

He is a good watch dog. When we were living in the camper he'd let us know when a vehicle was coming up the driveway... and he lets us know when he hears things... even if they're not threatening. He doesn't like thunder & lightning or gunshots; he loves rolling in the dirt & snow. He likes bananas & popcorn. He is such a handsome dog... and he knows it... I tell him everyday! He is an awesome companion for me... Jerry, not so much. Jerry's not a "dog person" and has never been too fond of Skeeter. I keep thinking that one day Skeeter will really prove himself to Jerry. Skeeter is a mama's boy... no doubt about it!

Alex's plan was (at the time he left Skeeter with me) to take him back once he gets back from Iraq in August (09). We'll be back in Colorado by the time he comes back. Who knows whether Alex will be living in a place where he can even have a dog? I know I would miss Skeeter very much if he were to go back with Alex. He's become part of my family...

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