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Rocket's home, since I first adopted him, had been in a small corner of Northern Virginia between the town of Leesburg and the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains. In 2000, however, all that changed. My husband decided to retire early and we moved to northeastern Michigan, or as they say up here, the Sunrise Side of the state. We sold our beautiful house, joined his parents on their farm, and stuffed most of our belongings into storage. The 3 of us then lived in a singlewide trailer next to the farmhouse until we bought a house in the woods, which we moved into in September!
There are a few differences between our new and old homes, besides the obvious. There are no mountains behind our house (sigh). Trees, rather than hay fields now surround us. These woods are actually an 80-acre cedar swamp rather than a small 20-acre hardwood grove. Mosquitoes and deer flies abound, however poison ivy is hard to find! Rocket has less lawn to play on but I have less grass to mow. We get lots more snow, WOOHOO!! Summers are much less humid. A pond replaces the seasonal streams we had in VA. And, an acre of yard is fenced so Rocket no longer has to be tied up when I cant be outside with him.
Lots more snow. Mom and Dad have been really sick though, so we didnt get to play much at first. Then Mom took for a walk and I heard dogs playing so I ran out into the street ahead of her to see who it was. I was chased by Juffy and Rascal and one of them BIT me! Mom yelled at them and I hid behind her till the man across the street made them go away. Mom had to take me to the vet. I had to take pills for more than a week. My Mom doesnt like me to go near them any more, so she makes sure Im on a leash before we get to the end of the driveway.
Mom and Dad built a fence around the front yard and part way into the woods. Now I dont need that awful chain outside anymore. But I cant get to my nice muddy pond unless Mom opens the gate. At least I have my little pool.
Mom and I went away to Massachusetts for a long time. On the way there we stayed in a big building with lots of rooms and strange people. A nice man in the parking lot gave me a yummy treat. I got to see Shadow and her Mom, but Grammy went away and I dont know where she went. Mom said she was in the hospital, but would come back eventually. We left before that happened though.
Oh boy, we went home again! It was great to see Dad, he even threw the Frisbee for me!
Some men came and built stairs and but up railings so I wouldnt fall off the deck. The fence was open the whole time and I got to play in the pond as much as I wanted. But it is so hot, I dont like this weather, and my pond shrunk, too. We drove all the way back to Massachusetts again and I got to see my Grammy again.
Well if you read December of 1999 you know we had a good time! So far after the first, life has been uneventful but Mom tells me I get to see Maddie again soon. I can't wait!
Something really odd is going on. Strangers are getting into my house! Lots of times I don't know about it till after we get back from these long rides and I can smell that they have been there! I wonder if my Mom knows about this. She doesn't seem worried though but is always cleaning things now.
Now there is this huge yellow truck outside the garage and Mom and Dad are putting all the furniture inside! They said they sold the house. What is that? What is going on?
Oh boy, we're going for a long ride, I know cause Mom put my bed in her car. Dad got into the front of the big yellow truck and went down the driveway first. He is pulling his big blue tractor behind him. Mom said we're going back to the farm. I wonder if they're going to make me stay in the nasty old barn again?
Oh boy, oh boy, they let me the skinny house at the farm. I still don't get to go in the big one where Dad's mom and dad (the Farmer) live but the skinny one is all mine, (and Mom and Dad's of course) they put a lot of our furniture in it. And LOOKEE! My bed is on the floor next to theirs! Dad is letting me sleep with them. Oh boy, oh boy, oh BOY!
Another long drive and we're back home! I got to visit with Smokey and Molly again!! But Dad brought home another truck and they are filling this one up with everything left. Hey! There goes my regular bed!! What is going on here?!!
Well I'm back on the farm again. I met 2 very obnoxious puppies named Max and Benny. Max stole my milk bone right out of my mouth while Benny distracted me! I was not pleased. I'm not fond of their mom Katie, either; she thinks she's better than me because she hunts birds for the Farmer. Sometimes I get stuck in this big pen with all 3 of them when Mom and Dad go away for a few days. Mom says it's only temporary while they clean up the house. I thought it was clean enough already!
They have big ponds up here! Oh these are so great! Mom throws sticks and my frisbee into them and I wade in and bring them back. Swimming is fun! Mom says we are living up here now. I think she means we aren't going back to our old house? What about Smokey and Molly? *Hmmpf*
And I found a new hobby! Mom and Dad like to take these long sticks down to the pond and wave them in the air. Then I see these little balls drop into the water and go in after them. For some reason Dad doesn't like it and yells at me, Mom laughs. Why do they throw things in the water if they don't want me to get them? I don't see them do this anymore, Dad makes me stay at home.
I got to see all the little humans I saw last year. They came to visit me and play! It was great fun to chase them about in that funny little car. Mom calls it a golf cart. I got to see Maddie again too! She came to see me and got to stay in the skinny house with me. She said the first time she visited here they wouldn't let her in the skinny house either. I guess I'm special.
Then I got to meet a new puppy named Lucky. She is really small and very bouncy. She's nearly all white with tiny black spots. She wasn't too fond of Max, she kept snapping at him. I didn't think that was very nice. Max and I are getting along very well now, we go for long walks with Mom, and sometimes Benny comes instead. Benny is not as shy as Max, he sneaks under fences and I follow him. It's fun.
A really neat thing has happened. Mom and Dad moved all of our stuff out of the skinny house and into a bigger house in the woods! I have this big window I can look out and there are all kinds of deer to watch! I try to talk Mom and Dad into letting me out to play with them but they keep saying no. But there are also these really big birds called turkeys and they are almost as fun. Mom doesn't want me playing with them either but sometimes when we're out walking they just appear and off I go. I come back to Mom after they fly away. They look funny flying!
Dad got a deer, but he wouldn't let me go outside and see it! *hmpf*!! I only got to go outside after he took it away somewhere. Oh and we had a tiny bit of snow. It didn't last long but Mom said there would be more later, I can hardly wait.
We got more snow!
We went for a lot of rides and I got to see Shadow and her family in Massachusetts, then I met a couple of German Shepherds named Bailey (who wasnt very nice to me) and her buddy M???? and their family in Maryland. Then we went to Delaware and saw Maddie again, and then off to Virginia to see Molly and Smokey!! Boy did I have fun! Then we went back to Michigan and I got to see Lucky the Dalmatian again, and then we got home and there was so much snow, we had to get out of the car and romp down the driveway, I had a blast but Mom and Dad were huffing and puffing all the way.
Oh boy! A new year to play in! I wonder what's going to happen!
Mom just took me on lots of walks. She said winter has been very mild again and that's why we don't have any snow. I wish we had snow, I like it! And Dad has been coming for walks with us in the woods! I love when both of them come but for some reason Dad never has any biscuits! Mom always does though.
One time after we walked in the woods I ran off to wee my sister Molly. We played for a few minutes but then I heard another dog and I just had to investigate! After all he was only across the street and up a hill! But boy did Mom and Dad yell! Billy is my new friend and he is a Rottweiller. He can't leave his yard because he has this beeper on his neck that he says hurts if he goes too far. But that's okay because I can visit him!
I visited Billy again, twice in one day! Mom didn't seen too happy though and I can't figure out why! I buried a few more bones too. She seems to get upset about that too. But they smell so good under those neat plants!
SNOW! A whole bunch of it! I got to dive through it and roll in it and chase the snow balls Mom made! It was so much fun! It went away really fast though. But a few days later we got some more! But it didn't last either. Mom says there probably won't be any more for months. I don't know how long that is but I hope not too long.
I made a new friend, too! Merlin lives right across the street though I don't see him often. He's just a little guy, only 3 months old. He looks like a miniature version of Smokey! We got to race all over his yard. He has a nice place too, trees and a couple of skinny streams and a tube under his driveway like the one under ours but when I tried to crawl through it got really small on the far end and I nearly got stuck! I had to go backwards on my belly to get out! I haven't tried to go in since. I fit through the one in my yard just fine though!
Mom brought me home a pool! It's just great! It's a bit small but I don't mind, I manage to get wet all over anyway. She said there are bigger ones but she couldn't get that one home. Here is a picture of me in my new pool.
Mom and I went on another trip to Shadow's place! We stayed there are a long time and I had a blast. Mom went walking with me twice a day! It wasn't too bad being on a leash, she let me meet all kinds of friends! And I got to play with Butter next door! All kinds of people were there that I remember from last time and they played with me and kept giving me treats when Mom wasn't looking!
When we started for home again the car stopped and then my Mom's sister came and took me home while mom stayed with the car. She came back a little later and we got to stay until the next day!
When we got back to our house I ran around like crazy and wow! Next to my yard was a big fence and two horses! Really neat ones like at the farm but these weren't as brown as me. Mom told me their names are Duke and Mocha and they're my new neighbors. Duke is very friendly and we sniff noses but his mom Mocha is shy. I want to play with them but mom won't let me crawl under the fence.
I snuck under the horse fence the other night though when Mom wasn't looking and found some really great smelly stuff to roll in! Mom didn't notice at first until Dad told her! Dad had her give me a bath, not fair! Mom is sneezing a lot and can't smell anything lately, she says it's the tall grass that the farmers haven't cut down yet. I don't want them to cut it down! I like it tall! I can hide in it and find all sorts of neat things hiding there too.
It got REALLY hot out! I didn't like it at all! Mom kept my pool filled up with water but it was warm! I like COLD water! Mom did a lot of cooking outside with lots of smoke that smelled really great but I couldn't have any! She gave me lots of biscuits though. And now there are all these cute little furry things with white tails running all over the place! Mom said they're called baby bunnies. They are fast! I haven't been able to catch one yet but I'm trying!
Oh and there are baby deer too! But Mom won't let me outside at all when they're out so I have to watch them through the window. It's very frustrating! Especially when they look like they're having so much fun playing together!
And on some of our walks mom would stop and pick these funny little black things off the bushes. I didn't know why she did this every day and I would get bored. One day she tried to give me some but they felt funny so I spit them out. Then she gave me more and squeezed them. They were sweet and sticky! I liked them! I tried to pull some off the bushes myself but they bit me! Mom said they were called black berries and had prickers. I know about prickers! The wild roses get me all the time! So I sat back and looked at Mom and she would put some in a bucket and then give me some. I wasn't bored anymore!
It's been hot outside! And my pool water is warm. A couple days ago, mom said it was the 21st, whatever that means, a lot of people came to our house! I had so much fun! They brought the little squeaky kind with them and they played ball and frisbee with me for hours! I chased them when Dad took them for wagon rides in the woods. It was so wonderful! I want to do it again and again! My mom said it was my birthday. I got these big biscuits from someone my mom met in a chat room, and I made lots of new friends. There was food everywhere too; people food! I won't tell mom how much of it I got either! I was sad when all the people went home but I know some live nearby because Smokey and Molly's families were here too and I get to see Molly and Smokey a lot.
It rained a lot! Mom said the rain had names this year, She said the first one was named Dennis, I thought that was really strange. I didn't mind too much because we got to go traveling again! We went to a place called Dover, Delaware for the Labor Day weekend. I got to meet Dad's brother and his family, and best of all I met my cousin Maddie! She is a beagle. I never met a beagle before; she is small! She ran under my belly! I was so excited I made a mistake and peed in the house, mom was so upset! I had to go right out side and stay there for a while, but I didn't mind because Maddie went outside with me.
Later that month it rained some more and Mom called it Floyd! And even later we had more rain but Mom said that one didn't have a name, I think it's silly! Mom said we didn't get as much rain as we needed but hey, my stream is running again! I think we had plenty!
It got cool outside! This is great! And Dad has been home all week and walking around in these funny clothes that make him blend into the background. He won't let me come with him though when he goes into the woods.
Another really exciting thing happened too. Mom and I were out walking one morning and we met our neighbor who was tracking a deer. He couldn't find it so mom and I helped. It was so fun! I got to chase squirrels and birds, and run back and forth between Mom and our neighbor. Then I found the deer! He was so happy; he got me a big rawhide bone as a reward. I ate most of it and then buried the rest in the front yard.
We drove off to see cousin Shadow and her family again! We got to go in the new car and I was so much more comfortable, it was nice and flat in the back and mom put my travel bed back there and I wore my seat belt and had biscuits. I met another friendly dog when we stopped to rest and her mom gave me a biscuit too!
The other night there was a big white thing in the back yard just as it was getting dark. I barked and barked. Mom told me it was just a white deer but I think it was something else, why would a deer be white? So I kept barking and finally it went away! If it comes back I'll bark some more.
Wow, what a fun time we had! Early this month Mom and Dad loaded the new black car and with all sorts of stuff and me and off we went to a new place in Michigan! It was near Ann Arbor and they let me in the house! There were little humans everywhere! And the smallest boy loved to play with me. Sometimes he wanted to play even when I wanted to sleep! I didn't know a person could have so much energy! We raced around and just had a blast. Sometimes I was outside on a chain and the dogs next door came over and played with me too! Whenever I got wrapped around a bush or picnic table mom or someone else would come out and rescue me! I got to meet horses and rabbits and goats too! I really want to go back there again. Mom assures we I will!
The sad thing was I could smell Amos who I met last year but I couldn't find him. Mom told me it was because he had something called cancer and went to the Rainbow Bridge last summer. I miss him. Amos' mom seemed to like having me around; I hope I cheered her up.
When we came back home, Mom and Dad brought another of those trees into the house and Mom put lights and stuff all over it. She also made lots of cookies and though I looked really sad at her, all I got were biscuits, but that's okay, I like those too.
Then for Christmas we went to Delaware and I got to play with my beagle cousin Maddie again. Plus they had another dog visiting named Jasper. He was this itty bitty dog they called a miniature poodle. We all got along really well and had a blast chasing and digging in the back yard. And Christmas morning was wild; stuff everywhere! And I got a new fuzzy squeaky ball! It is great fun to catch!
A week later I was really surprised because Maddie and her family came to my house! It was great! There was more food and the kids all slept in the same room with Maddie and me! Mom took us for walks in the back and they stayed up all night all weekend. I was never so tired! I would nap and every time I opened my eyes they were still talking and eating, and watching these noisy people on tv throwing a ball back and forth. They yelled a lot when some guys caught the ball too!
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