Sunday, November 2, 2008

My First Dog REBEL pt.2

These photo's are in poor shape, as they were mostly taken with an Poloroid Instamatic camera and have degraded through the years, and some were way out of focus. I have tried to clear them up as much as possible. I had to search though way too many photos to find these and that is why it has been such a long time from the posting of part #1.

This photo was Reb at his ungainly puppy stage, all legs and ears, and full of "pee and vinegar". I was trying to get a picture of him sitting, but it was impossible to get him to "stay" long enough to snap a shot.

And speaking of ears, just look at those monsters. This is one of my favorite photos. We were watching TV together. He was the only dog I have ever had that liked to watch TV. Not everything, but a few programs he would watch from beginning to end, usually from this vantage point. As you can see he wasn't even distracted by my wife taking this picture. (and that was way before we had a color TV) Also this photo showed his colors about the best.

In these 2 blurry photos you can see on the right side the 2x4 we used in training Rebel not to get hit. We worked our way up from sticks and eventually to a wooden baseball bat. He got to be real good at disarming his attacker. He was about 1 yr. old here.

Just look at those distinctive markings! And that face! everybody say, "Awwwww".

This last photo is one of a pair of pics of Angie and Rebel. Ang was 6 weeks old and Reb was 9mo. old. We had a very hard time propping Ang up long enough to snap these. The other one is lost somewhere, but was of Rebel lying length wise on the couch and Ang was sitting against his belly and propped up by his hind legs. These 2 photos cemented my friendship with a crotchety old farmer who was a customer at my work.

"Rollie"(pronounced roll-e) Limburger by name. As I stated previously, my brother and I worked at the feed-end of the Wickes Grain Elevator, and we were in the process of trying to get back customers from other local feed plants. This meant being fast, efficient, courteous, knowledgeable and most of all friendly towards our customers. Being raised in the era when respecting your elders and the customer was always right, helped a lot. The first day I met Rollie, he tried my patience mightily, I just could NOT do anything right in his eyes, and he gave me grief about everything. But I did my best to please him, and bit my tongue, almost through. My brother was not around at the time and when he returned I told him about this farmer and his attitude. John said I did the right thing and to try harder next time as we needed all of the customers we could get.

When I first started working there we were lucky to see 4 customers a day. We spent our spare time cleaning and repairing the old place and helping out Ol' Dan on the navy bean end, or in the seed warehouse. We also had our own feed warehouse to keep up which meant pest control, stock inventory and ordering and rotation. Occasionally we would even help out at the grain storage facility downtown and help load up and chemicals for custom application. We also loaded bulk fertilizer and coal for customers and after hours delivery, soon this was to include bulk feed delivery also.

John and I did a great job and soon word had spread through the farming community that the Cass City grain elevator was THE place to get feed ground. This also caused more business in the rest of the facility. Soon we were busy all the time. We quit shutting down for lunch and switched off taking our breaks. The boss soon took advantage of me living practically next door and soon I had farmers calling on me at home, for emergency needs, after hours and on the weekends.

Now back to Rollie, for months I did my best to please this man and my brother always seemed to magically disappear whenever he showed up. This one day he finally got my goat good and I lost all control and chewed him a new one. The whole time I was ranting at him he just stood there looking up at me with this dumb expression on his face. I mean I went up one side and down the other, let him have it with both barrels. The veins were showing and the arms were waving and I am sure half the town heard me....the BOSS sure did. He stuck his head out the door and started hollering at me...I just knew I was fired!

Then Rollie threw an arm around me told told the boss to shut up and go back inside!!!

Now it was my turn to stand there with a dumb expression on my face. Rollie gave me a hug and was laughing, cackling really, so hard he had tears streaming down his face. He said, "Boy....I had just about given up on you.....It's about time you acted like a man.....I have never seem anyone with as much patience as you."
I found out that day that this man wanted someone to be just as cranky towards him as he was to them. So I gave him what he spades, it was the beginning of a great friendship between us.
I had told him about getting a German Shepherd pup for my soon to be born first child and he immediately started ranting about me being a fool and just how dangerous those "killer dogs" were and how they couldn't be trusted.
Years before, his sister's family had had one and it turned on her young son and almost took his face off. The boy almost died and probably would have if her husband hadn't been there to pull the dog off him and kill it.
I tried to explain to him that yes, years ago, with the popularity of the German Shepherd that came from the famous movie and TV dogs that the breed had been degenerated by all of the back yard breeders, puppy mills and unscrupulous professional breeders, that many problems in the temperament of these animals had resulted. He was having none of this, to him no matter what, they were still untrustworthy and "KILLERS" and if I was smart I would get rid of my dog before my child was born. Why, didn't I watch the news or read the papers, they were full of dog attacks.
So when I showed him the photos of my daughter Angie and Rebel, he went into another rant and called me a "stupid city boy" and I called him a "dumb old farmer". I figured he would have had a heart attack if I would have told him how we introduced Reb to Ang.
When I brought Lynn and Angie home from the hospital, I had her sit on the couch with the baby in her arms and then had Reb sit in front of her on the floor. He was desperate for Lynn's attention so I had her pet him and talk to him and let him sniff her and eventually the bundled up baby. Then she slowly uncovered Ang. Rebel immediately calmed down, and delicately sniffed at Ang. He would look at Lynn, nuzzle her hand and then sniff Ang some more.
All the while I kept a hand on Rebels collar, I was NOT a fool. Eventually I let go of the collar and Reb kept his sitting stance, content to be close to Lynn, the baby, and me. Then I spread one of the baby blankets on the floor and under a mother's protest, laid Ang on the blanket and undressed her. Rebel came over and checked her all out. Then laid down next to her with his head on his paws watching the new addition to our family. After a few minutes I redressed her and laid her in her bassinet. Reb followed and took a peek to see where I put the baby, then followed me back into the living room to welcome Lynn home with a little more enthusiasm.
Reb was ALWAYS careful around Angie. And he loved nothing more than being next to her. If she cried longer than he thought was necessary, he would bark to alert us. If he was penned up in the kitchen at night we had to bring her to show him all was well to shut him up.
Rebel loved having Angie on the floor with him, and when she got older, he was one of her favorite toys. She would roll to him and pull his hair, stick her fingers in his nostrils and mouth, and even chew on his ears. Whenever Reb had enough of this he would carefully get up and move. Sometimes it was chase around the room until he would jump up on the couch to escape.
About six months after Angie was born the corporate office decided to close down the feed plant in Cass City. One Friday after work when the boss was giving me my check, he also told me I was laid off. Permanently. This was devastating as the following Monday we were supposed to be signing the closing papers on a new house. I had to go home and tell Lynn and then call the realtor and loan institution to inform them that the deal was off. As you might guess I didn't get much sleep that night, trying to figure out my families future.
I awoke at 6am the nest morning to Rebel barking and someone knocking on the door. I hurriedly dressed and answered the door to find Rollie standing there. Before I could say anything he hollered at Rebel to shut up (which he DID) and said let's get to work!!!
I figured he had a load of feed to grind and told him I no longer worked at the elevator.
He said, "I know that, but I need someone to help bale hay, and since you aren't doing nothing, get your shoes on and let's go, you got a family to support!" I invited him in but he took one look at Reb and said, "Nope, I'm going to Veronica's (restaurant) for coffee, meet me there."
Evidently I was the last one to know I was being laid off. The boss had kept me on as long as he could knowing that I was trying to buy a house. Luckily for me the main office made him get rid of me when they did, and I hadn't signed the papers yet. I guess he had been fighting with them to try to keep us going because of all of the business we had brought in, which he knew he would loose to our competition still grinding feed.
I worked for Rollie all summer baling hay and when I wasn't working for him it was for someone he knew. He tried his best to keep me employed.
Years later I was very sad to learn that he had died and was buried before I found out.


Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Wow. Oh Wow. What an amazing story. That Rollie guy surely affected your character. What an interesting feller. He should have taken a few lessons from you about patience and tolerance. But all's well in the end they say, right?

Sorry that you never got to say goodbye, though.

I loved seeing all of Reb's old photos, especially the ones where he was all ears. Our Zuni was like that as a pup, too. So cute!

And the one with Angie is precious. You really knew just what to do to introduce dogs to new babies.
So many people try so hard to keep dogs and babies separate to where the dog gets resentful and nervous around the baby, and the baby grows up not knowing how to treat animals and having a fear of them.
Kudos for you.

I'm kind of giggling a little, though, picturing a naked Angie with a dog nose sniffing all over her little body. lol!


GreyWolf said...

Lisa: LOL, well I guess I should have said that I did leave her diaper on.
But it was funny to watch, whenever she moved or made a sound, Rebel would jump back and give her that tilted head look and wait for her to stop before any further investigation.
I don't know where I came up with a lot of my training ideas. I mean I did some research and listened to many peoples training ideas, but in the end, I just used a lot of old fashioned common sense to acheive the results I wanted.

Anonymous said...

Great post dad. I wish I remebered him....but I do have a love of all animals, particularly dogs, especially german shepards. So some thing must have stayed with me. I love all your rebel stories....and I was really suprised not to hear about me and the dog food in this post! ;)

GreyWolf said...

Don't be too surprised! The story ain't over yet. Stay tuned for part #3. ;)

Farmgirl_dk: said...

I love the picture of Rebel sitting on your lap watching t.v. His ears were so big, chances are he improved your reception! lol
So, you really lost the house you were going to buy?
I love that Rollie wound up being such a good guy on the inside. There's something so special about meeting a tough-guy and realizing that he's got a soft and kind center. He clearly saw something special in you.

Country Girl said...

Great story. We had a Lab for 16 years and she loved our kiddos as Rebel loved Ang!