It's now two weeks later, little Val is growing like a weed and it won't be long before we have to call him Big Val. We are told that at full size he'll weigh somewhere in the neighborhood of 160 lbs. Regardless of size, he is developing a very gentle personality and is quite laid back, but he has already shown us that he wants to be the keeper of the flock, something his breed was developed to do. This will be a godsend around here with our occasional problem caused by coyotes trying to get to our fowl.
Like all youngsters regardless of species, Val has to learn about all of the mysteries around him in life and sometimes this means learning the hard way. Like meeting Kahuna, the Patriarch of the Barn Cats, eighteen years old but still capable of exerting himself to show he means business. It's okay to be friendly with Kahuna, Val, but remember not to get to personal. Ouch, you just got popped on the nose.
Then there's the issue of fire ants, probably one of the biggest nuisances, also itchy and painful, that you have to look out for. Don't walk through that mound or you'll be blazing a trail of fire.
He received his first "Purple Heart" last week and, as a result, we found a "hot spot" near his rump, probably caused by an insect bite which he scratched and licked. We found a flea medication designed for puppies and also applied a salve to stop his itching, hoping it would stop the licking. Nope, he continued relentlessly with the result being a very tender spot which was getting raw and subject to infection. We were left with only one alternative.
We had to turn our happy-go-lucky pup into "Dish Man", complete with protective collar to preclude him from any further licking. It really doesn't slow him down much, but we can tell he would like to be rid of it. Even so, it makes a cute picture. Hopefully we will be able to remove it in a few days as it does appear to be doing the job.
Val has found his favorite spot to be right beside the kitchen door on the deck. He waits for us every morning there unless the weather is bad, reminiscent of our wonderful but dearly departed Springer spaniel, Yeardley, a special chapter in my book.. He has a comfy bed set up in the garage next door and is already starting to act like the protector of the flock which includes all of our animals and the two of us as well. I'll just have to keep a close eye on his "goings on"and might even have to add a chapter to my book incorporating his antics.
And then I thought to myself, while having internet problems in the weather with my satellite connection, I'll bet our little "Dish Man" would be a cute substitute for the boring satellite dish ads on TV. Maybe he could even be the modern day replacement for the RCA dog from the old days hearing his master's voice. Oh, I'm sorry, many of you are too young to know what I am talking about. Ask your parents or grandparents, they'll know.
As for Val, I'm glad my wife surprised me with him two weeks ago. He's already captured my heart and I know that he's going to be a great and loyal new family member. Thank the Lord for His granting us the ability to care for all of our wonderful animals. For just a little care, food and water and a pat and a hug on occasion they provide such unconditional love. They are truly one of God's great gifts to us.
Have a great day and always remember the One who gave you life.
If you like easy-to-read animal stories, you'll like my book, Honey, We Shoulda' Bought the Ark. Check out my book page on this website or visit www.outskirtspress.com/honeyweshouldaboughttheark. Available through Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Animals: A Wonderful Gift from God.