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Old trucks and old dogs    Feb. 2008
by Sid Harrison ETCM(SS) USN/Ret
Colton (ca 1987)
It requires no explanation as to why we become so attached to our pets. But inanimate objects? Now that's a whole different deal. Or is it?

That truck in the left of the pic (taken about 1986 or 87) is a 1979 Dodge W250 Sno-Commander. Dodge doesn't sell that package as such any longer. I liked the "4-wheel lock" feature. Great traction but now only available for utility companies and military vehicles - so they tell me.  Bought it new (only 8 grand at the time). It has 70,000 road miles but must have the equivalent of a half million with all the snow it has pushed over the years..

A few years ago I had to take it off the road because no garage would put it on the lift for inspection as the frame is too rusty. It kinda sags in the middle now; the bed is twisted from firewood overload up and down these hilly fields and the floorboard on the driver's side is rotted through and is now plywood. The transmission doesn't go into Drive any longer, the main headlights don't work and the door is hard to shut, but hey, it doesn't go on the road anymore so it doesn't really matter.

In fact it has become a fairly accurate metaphor for myself. Age takes a toll.

Every winter I say to my wife, "We're gonna have to put a plow on the other truck and send this thing to the junk man". But at the first snow the old truck roars to life in a cloud of exhaust and I raise and lower the plow, angle it left and right a few times and I just know it'll once again make it through one more season. So far, so good.

The old truck has hauled lumber, dirt and firewood, a dead hog and a dead sheep. The latter two were taken into the woods for chowdown for the critters. In a month you couldn't even find a bone. Ultimate recycling. I felt I was doing my mother-earth "green" duty. Almost called Ralph Nader to make a full report.

So this spring when snow plows get marked down for their annual post-winter discount sales I'm gonna have to face up to it: that Dodge is destined for old- truck heaven.

But I remember when the truck was young  --  and I was younger --  and I'd make that last cut late at night down our 800 ft drive with the plow lights blazing, the heater blowing warm,  the radio working (then) and our dog at the time (now long dead) named Poochie that loved to ride with me. The kids were young at the time, and of course at home, and they tagged us with "Captain Snowplow and his side-kick: 'Poochie the Wonder Dog' ".

Old Pooch loved plowing. She would  have a ball sitting up in the passenger seat. Even tolerating getting bounced onto the floor when I would slam a big load into a snow bank. She knew it was worth it as there would be a cookie waiting for her when we were done.

After I filled the woodstove and furnace for the night and poured my last cup of coffee she got her snack. By that time everyone had gone to bed, the house was warm and quiet and Poochie and I knew that we and that Dodge had once again done a good job. (And the next day we'd get to do it all over again)

Gonna miss that truck - just like I miss that dog.


Just thought I'd share.

It's what an old guy thinks about at 0500 on a snowy morning here in the boonies.



After writing the above, the following winter the old truck wouldn't start. That was after we had experienced a few days of alternating snow and freezing rain so I was looking at a long driveway with about 8 inches of layer-cake ice/snow/ice/snow.

I figured that even if I got the Dodge to run I'd never cut through all that stuff. Called a friend who has a big Tonka-toy front loader and he busted up that layer cake and piled the slabs next to the driveway. As I wasn't looking for a freebie (big Tonka-toys cost money) I asked him how much he normally charged. He said 150 bucks an hour. So I said I was getting too damned old to be fooling around with an unreliable plow truck and it was about time I got rid of the old Dodge. So I offered the truck as payment. He said he'd take the plow. I told him nope - gotta take the whole thing. Being in the trucking and excavation business he's kind of handy with a welding stinger and a torch so he took it. Welded a bunch of stuff onto the frame, got it running and says he's pushing snow around his place.  Good... I'm glad the old Dodge has a new home and I have a nice new plow on my other truck.   (And a working radio too.)

But I still fondly remember that old truck and of course Poochie The Wonder Dog.

New plow  -  December 2008
House new: 1889
Garage new: 2010 -->>  Truck rust prevention:   Priceless!
Then along came Molly - born July 1998
A posting I made on a Submarine forum on 10 August 2010:
Our baby has surgery next Tuesday

Molly, our Lhasa Apso/Poodle mix (12 yrs old) has bladder stones.

Went for annual Vet visit and routine shots yesterday and he said she has bladder stones. We never heard of such a thing in dogs. But apparently it is common. He showed us a stone he removed from a small dog. It was huge.

Molly's stones aren't just one big one but palpation indicated a large amount of "gravel".

We noticed she was squatting quite a bit when out and thought it was just some new thing she was doing. Apparently the irritation of the bladder gravel made her think she had to pee. She doesn't have accidents in the house but goes to the door frequently.

So if you notice excessive peeing of your dog --- see the vet. Cost?? Cost of surgery is $150

This has been a public service announcement for doggy owners.


Molly - January 2010

CLICK HERE for online sources about bladder stones in dogs
18 August 2010 --- post-op
Surgery successful. Gravel removed.

Molly in recovery mode.
Feeling not very frisky for a few days.
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