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The Bay Gardener’s Four-Legged Companions

What’s a farm without dogs and cats?

Even at 10, Dandy still demands to play Frisbee every morning.

The Gouins have had five dogs and four cats. Yoder, our first dog, was an Appalachian beagle, from near Grantville in the Appalachian mountains. His mother was a beagle and the father, a neighbor’s dog. He was given the name Yoder, which is Mennonite, because we purchased his first dog food at Yoder’s meat market and locker.
    Our second dog was a black cocker spaniel named Dixie, so named because we purchased her from a breeder in southern Virginia. She loved to ride the tractor.
    Our third dog, T.J., a cross between a cocker spaniel and a basset hound, came from our daughter Tina. She and the dog did not get along well, but he loved coming to the farm, so we adopted him. T.J. had a limp but managed to run quite well until one day he fell and broke two legs in the joints. We were advised to put him down. We had him for less than a year, but we missed him very much because he was such a happy dog and always ready to go as soon as I put on my hat.
    Shortly after Dixie died, we acquired Dandy, our golden retriever. Dandy was a terror for the first two years, chewing the corners on stairs and benches and the ends off shoelaces. He eventually calmed down and is truly a retriever. Even at the age of 10, he still demands to play Frisbee every morning.
    Last fall we obtained a Carolina dingo as a rescue dog from Georgia. This dog is a hunter and a runner. I have clocked Lusby’s speed at 26 miles per hour in our driveway, and she has dragged home two groundhogs and several rabbits.
    Cats are also part of our lives.
    When we purchased Upakrik Farm in 1990, we acquired a Maine coon cat that we named Pumpkin based on the large orange patch on her side. Pumpkin was a cuddly cat and very friendly. She and Dandy became the best of friends.
    Then on Halloween night in 1995, along came Spooks, a Norwegian forest cat that could leap seven feet six inches and weighed 17 pounds. Spooks was an affectionate cat and a great mouser. He would follow me everywhere, including climbing a ladder to be with me on the roof of the house or barn. He climbed a tree every day just to keep in shape.
    A short hair tabby we called Rastuss, who had blue eyes, wandered onto the farm but only lived a few years because he came with feline leukemia, for which there is no cure. He too was a great cat and followed me all over the farm.
    Now we have Kute Toots, who we believe is part Maine coon cat. She belonged to our younger daughter Bonnie. Toots and Bonnie’s dog, a Jack Russell, did not get along well, so when Spooks died, we adopted Toots-Toots, who quickly became Kute Toots at Upakrik Farm.


Ask Dr. Gouin your questions at frgouin@erols.com. All questions will appear in Bay Weekly. Please include your name and address.