Pet Tips 'n' Tales

Companion of the Heart

Photo by Mary Ellen "Angel Scribe"
Gary and Ella proudly show off their 6-year-old, rescue dog, Pauli, who is a companion of their heart. Having a dog adds exercise and humor to Ella's and Gary's quiet life.  Included in this little-brown-fur package is an affectionate dog who likes to sleep with a slipper and eat buried peanuts!

TALES

Gary was born at home in Cottage Grove, 72 years ago, and has lived and worked here his entire life.  His bride, Ella, was born in Georgia, and lived in Cottage Grove since she was a toddler.  The couple met on a blind date. "It was my sister, Arlene's, fault," laughs Gary. "She lined us up! Arlene, an Avon dealer, thought her customer, Ella, and I would like each other. She was right.  We've been married 40 years and have two sons, Darren and Keith."

"We enjoy Dachshunds and when our last two died our home felt empty," said Ella.  "Our niece, Kriss, saw a newspaper ad about a Dachshund needing a home, and a few hours later we had a purebred for free! Pauli's name is a feminine twist of her former owner Paul's name.

I've been ill for several years," continues Ella. "When Gary is not here, Pauli keeps me from being lonesome. She is so smart that Gary and I have to spell words because she recognizes so many!  And, now we are in trouble because she has figured out what we are spelling," laughs Ella. "Pauli is a communicator. Her barks are so specific, that by their various tones, Gary and I both know what she wants. Gary can't mention 'walk', because Pauli explodes with joy.  Gary takes plastic bags for her 'offerings' on the walk, and when she hears him rustle the box, she gets even more excited for their next outside adventure."

"Pauli and I walk two-miles a day which keeps us in shape," shares Gary. "She loves walking, no matter the weather! If I am slow getting ready, she yelps to 'speed things up!'  She carries her leash in her mouth, and pulls me along for 'her' walk.  While walking, if I say, 'cross the street,' she does and when she goes around a sign post the wrong  way,  I say, 'go around' - she reverses the right way.

Sometimes Pauli sneaks outside, and runs away; chasing her doesn't do any good, because she is faster than I am. As she runs, she turns around and looks at me with laughing eyes.  She loves people and likes visiting the neighbors."
 
"Our 38-year-old autistic son, Darren, lives in a group home in Eugene and he comes home to attend church with us," said Ella.  "When Pauli hears Darren's voice,  she perks up at the prospect of one more person to spoil her. Pets bring autistic people out of their shells; the people are often standoffish and live in their own world and dogs help them focus."

Before Gary leaves on errands, he gives Pauli a snack.  Now, she expects one.  She also knows that a new toy is coming home when Gary and Ella go shopping.

"We love spoiling her!" said Ella, "Her eyes light up when she sees a new toy!  Last Christmas, we bought several toys for her and for our son Keith's dog.  Before we could stop Pauli, she took every one of those toys out of the bag, carried them into our bedroom, and scattered them all over our bed!"

"When Pauli is in the yard, she must smell the squirrel's buried peanuts, because she digs up the peanuts, cracks them open, and then eats the nut," laughs Gary. "Apparently the occasional peanut is OK for dogs, but macadamia nuts are poisonous!  Another funny thing about this dog is that when she puts herself to bed, and I am not home, she carries one of my slippers into her bed to cuddle up next to."

Ella and Gary both concur that this dog is the light of their lives.  "She thinks she is a human, just an extra-short one who adds warmth, affection and comfort to our hearts, lives, and bed!" said Ella. "There is only one problem sleeping next to Pauli," adds Ella laughing. "She snores!"


TIPS

Linda emailed in her winter dog pet tip: "My husband, Bryon, had an idea for creating an inexpensive, custom-fitting, warm "Doggy Body Stocking"  for our small dogs, which requires no sewing!

Cut the arms off an old sweatshirt. If the wrist end of the sleeve is too tight to pull over your dog's head, cut the cuff ribbing off and leave the reinforced stitching behind. Often, the cuff is stretched so that it mimics a turtleneck.

Straighten the tube along the length of your dog's back, then trim the sleeve even with the tail. Now the warm jacket completely covers the dog's back.  

"Fit" your dog into the designer sleeve-tube. Avoid nicking a squirming dog: When your dog is not wearing the coat, cut a small horizontal slit for the front legs to emerge. Take the sleeve off and cut out a "V" on the underside to prevent the dog from getting wet while urinating (widest part of the "V" closest to the tail).

Dress all your dogs to the K-nines: Copy the new jacket pattern for your other same-size dogs.  These sweaters keep older and short-haired dogs warm in winter and dry when it rains.  Each sweatshirt produces 2 Body-Stockings, so you can dry a wet one while the other is being worn.

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