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Dog Days of Summer

Samantha DeMont


It's hard to believe this is Labor Day weekend. While the calendar may claim September 21 as the first day of Autumn, I've always thought of this weekend as summer's end. It's hot again in Kansas. The radio reported a heat index of 108 today, and I was not envious of Hub as he took the kids and dog out so I could get a much needed bit of quiet.

Working for Head Start gives me a four week furlough in the summer. It's been the first time I had a summer break since leaving high school twenty years ago. After my mother's sudden passing in March I had been planning a Texas trip for June. I needed to sort through things at her property, and I really needed some time with my college girlfriends. As each of us leads busy lives we scheduled our get- together months ahead, and it became known as Nervous Breakdown Weekend. Toward the end of my first week of vacation, I dyed my hair blue and headed south.

Here comes my public service announcement for the year. Make copies of everything. Invest in a fireproof box. Not all lock boxes are fireproof. To say dealing with my mother's estate has been an ordeal could be the understatement of my life. Nothing has been easy or simple, as I'd imagine is often the case with death, but as an only child it has all fallen on me to figure out. I felt having blue hair was a nice outward expression of my internal craziness.

Relaxation came on a ranch outside Sanger, TX where I gathered with my girls and caught up on each others' lives. Free roaming chickens, two dogs, and a donkey greeted us on the back porch each morning. We lounged around the patio with music and home cooked meals during the day, and at night we watched the stars while the bullfrogs serenaded us. It was close to perfect.

July brought a return to work and normal hair color. We also decided it was time to make another addition to our family. Hub and I headed out for the Humane Society while the kids were at camp, and we fell in love with an eight month old Pit Terrier mix. K-9 is one of the smartest dogs I've ever encountered. He is often a better listener than our children. He is quite large and a playful pup, but also very well behaved. He is a perfect fit for our family.

Until now I have never been a dog person, always preferring cats. I love their independence, their quiet natures, that they are mostly low maintenance pets. At least one never needs to rush home after work to let the cat out. I always regarded dogs as loud, destructive, and much more needy. The small ones were yappy and had a potential for tripping over. The large ones could knock you down.

It turns out I'm a cat person who loves some dogs. I enjoy taking K-9 to the Farmer's Market and the dog park. We walk along the Arkansas River by the museums. People gravitate to my dog, wanting to know where we got him and admiring his features. Children always want to pet him. He is happy to oblige, wanting to meet everyone and every other dog as well. He loves our neighbors' dogs. They congregate in the yard almost every afternoon, like the kids playing ball in the driveway next door. K-9 seems so happy all the time. His wagging tail bangs against the walls as he comes down the hall. His big soft face rests on my leg as I type.

Of course, I still love my persnickety 13 year old cat, Georgia, who insists on hopping in my lap anytime I want to knit.