It was with great regret that we learned of the resignation of Franklin Fire Chief Chuck Bourgeois this week.
While talking to Chuck about his plans, I learned that, coincidentally, he started at the fire department the same time I started here at the Banner the first time around, to the day.
The chief has been above all dedicated and professional. Beyond that, he’s been a friend and it is with best wishes and high hopes that I bid him a fond adieu.
Alas, there’s more.
Franklin Foundation Hospital administrator Calvin Green, like our fire chief, has accepted another position.
Calvin has been one of those rare and wonderful people who have come to this community and not only fit in with no reservations, but did so much more than his job. Calvin has been a force in the Chamber of Commerce and the community, an omnipresent face around town and a credit to his profession in all regards.
Wishing Calvin the best, and sincere thanks, for what he did for our community and our hospital.
Well, my little man turned six months last weekend.
Bogie, the yellow Lab pup, is right at 40 pounds now, which I figure will put him in the 70-90 pound range when he’s grown. They tell me that Labs generally reach their mature height at a year, but fill out through the second year.
While he’s still just a kid, really, he continues to be a Webster’s definition of the proverbial "good boy."
Since the onslaught of summer, we moved him from the workshop into the piddling room in my house. The "piddling room" is where I do my – you guessed it – piddling. Messing with fly rods, reels, flies, whatever. We put the kennel in there and Bogie’s quite comfortable during the day when we’re gone and at night.
Here’s our routine: In the morning, after my shower, I pour a cup of coffee and we go outside for an hour. This is the time he gets his breakfast, and takes care of any unmentionables (so far as this column is concerned, anyway) that need taking care of. He has to explore the back yard, of course, for any changes since the day before. He accompanies me to water the plants on the back porch and patio, and we usually play a little fetch if we have time before I head out to the grindstone.
Suzie lets him out before she goes to work, too, and when I get home at four, if I don’t have to go pain through some meeting or another, I give him his supper and we either spend time in the yard or, more likely, jump in the truck and head for a large open field with a little pond in it that Bogie loves. If I have a meeting, we just stay in the yard, but if I get home from said meeting early enough, we may go to the pond, too. All in all, he gets at least three hours of my time a day during the week, five with no meetings, and he’s pretty much with us all the time on weekends.
He is nearly 100 percent on sit and stay by voice and whistle. Pretty dang good for half-a-year old on "come" unless he’s really distracted by something, or at least pretending to be. I’m working on that final step.
About three weeks ago, I gradually took him off the food he had been getting since birth. I wanted to upgrade him to a better quality food, so got online and did some research. What I discovered…well, "horrifying" is too mild a word.
Here’s a stern, serious warning: Don’t go research it yourself unless you’ve got a very strong stomach and constitution. What is in your dog’s food is absolutely horrifying. Same with cat food.
The least unsettling details are this: Your pets are not physically able to digest corn. Most of commercial dog food is corn. It fills them up and makes them feel satisfied, but takes the place of true nutrition, which is sadly lacking. Dogs do not digest corn, period. Also, the quantity of preservatives, colorings and other chemicals are appalling. The meat content and other items they call "natural flavors" and "processed chicken meal" and the like are where it really gets horrendous, so I’ll stop there.
I made a decision based on that research and Bogie is now a connoisseur of Blue Buffalo, chicken and rice formula for puppies. You’ve probably never heard of it, I’ll bet. I got it online from PetSmart because the Lafayette store doesn’t carry it. It’s more expensive than your run-of-the-mill foods, plus shipping, but surprisingly, it’s averaging out well: Bogie loves it, but tends to be satisfied sooner and thus eats less. There are many other such foods out there, that’s just the one I settled on based on budget and availability.
A half-a-year old, he’s so personality-ridden he reeks of it. We continue to be impressed with his calmness, for a Lab. That’s not to suggest he doesn’t have his moments of what I call "Puppybursts."
Puppybursts are sudden explosions of energy that come without warning. We can be calmly walking to the bayou, Bogie sniffing at the ground and all of a sudden…Puppyburst! This usually results in what I learned was called – well, let’s say the "behind tuck." It’s when a Lab tucks his back end under his stomach, is the only way to describe it, and with his back arched downward just so, shoots across the ground like a crazed rocket, or a self-propelled, misshapen gnome. He has a normal trot and gallop, too, but the behind-tuck gets me to giggling every time, as he’s running these wide, blazing circles around me in sheer jubilation. Over what is anybody’s guess.
But other than that, he’s been great about not chewing on what he’s not supposed to, just about house-trained, and sweet as molasses.
Out in the pasture by the pond, he loves to swim and chase birds, a fact that makes me very proud and hopeful for his future lineage as a bird dog.
He’s losing his puppy-fur at the moment, too. I swear, I don’t know how that puppy isn’t bald from head to toe, judging by the amount of blond hair I sweep up from the piddling room, the workshop and shake out of his bedding daily. I could stuff a mattress with it.
The unfortunate thing about moving Bogie into the house is that, while I can’t prove it, I strongly suspect that Patches is tormenting him while we’re gone. You see, Patches has the run of the house, but Bogie stays in his kennel while we’re gone, for his own protection and that of our furniture and personal belongings. I am nearly certain Patches is perching herself just outside the kennel to taunt him. One day, Bogie’s going to be loose in the house and, well, vengeance will probably the order of the day.
My better three-quarters says I’m obsessed with the dog, but admits that the time we have spent with him has helped mold him into that aforementioned proverbial "good boy." One night I had a meeting in town, and it finished up kinda early. I knew Suzie wouldn’t be off yet, so I raced home and without even changing my clothes, grabbed my tackle bag and a rod, jumped in the truck with Bogie and we went to the pond so I could harass the little perch while the pup ran around having fun.
When I got back, Suzie was home and looking at me oddly.
"Where’s Bogie?" she asked.
"In the shop," I said.
She looked at me even more oddly. "Why did you take the puppy to your meeting?"
She was, to say the least, relieved to know I hadn’t completely gone off the deep end over the dog.
He is my bud, though. The research I did on food indicated over and over again that there’s no reason – other than terrible pet foods – our pets shouldn’t enjoy good life and health for at least 20 years.
We got a lot of things to do between now and then. Hope you’ll come along for the adventures – and misadventures, to be sure – along the way.
Nea’se. Thank you. For sharing my ramblings, and my road.