Gene Street……

On our way home today we gave our customary royal wave to a street about 1.5 miles from our house. We have been doing this every time we drive by the street for the past three months. Eugene, the Jack Russell Terrier that lives with us, is afraid of thunder, lightning, fireworks, gunshot-like noises, etc.  On our first Fourth of July back in town, we found that fireworks are now allowed in the city several weeks before July 4. Gene was terrified…… he spent a lot of time quivering under the bed or on the bed under the comforter or burrowed behind whomever he found on the loveseat recliner.

A week before the main patriotic day display, I let Gene and Princess, our animal pack’s, alpha female Schipperke, out into the fenced backyard. On my way to bed, I told Mike the cat and dogs were outside.  About an hour later, I woke to the sound of the front door open and shut. Mike was coming back in the house. I asked him what was happening. He said he went to let the animals in after a series of really loud fireworks, and could not find Gene. For the next several days, Mike, sometimes by himself, or, sometimes with Alice, drove the neighborhood looking for their buddy.

When granddaughter, Hayley, and great-niece, Rosa, spent the night, I fielded questions regarding the steps they could take to canvass the neighborhood to find lost Gene. Hayley is a little more pragmatic than tenderhearted Rosa. Hayley was sorry Gene was missing and willing to engage in looking for him. Rosa told Hayley and me about her sister’s cat’s disappearance. Her cat was eventually found in an apartment in their complex. Rosa thought we ought to begin looking for Gene by her apartment across town.

Mike put a notice on the animal shelter’s website and placed a missing dog notice on craigslist. Five days went by, Mike was suffering, Alice was ready to post fliers around the neighborhood, and out of town family members were being notified. There was a lot of sadness in the house. The cat came home and was surprised to only have Princess to bedevil him. Princess even looked a little quizzically at us, probably wondering where the friend she most loves to growl at was keeping himself.

The afternoon of the fifth day Mike received a phone call. A man was asking if his dog was still missing. He thought our dog might be in the back of his shed. He could not get an animal to come out. The lost was found almost two miles away, five days after disappearing. The interesting thing is the Kansas Turnpike is between us and the man’s house. There is one underpass a block south of the street Gene was found on. Between our house and the finder’s house is a huge field, where coyotes, raccoons and opossum’s reign supreme. There may be a deer or a fox in the area and a bobcat has been seen within a five mile radius.

We do not know how the small, 12 year old, hard of hearing, partially blind, terrified dog made it to the shed. We are grateful to the craigslist reading Good Samaritan. We have renamed the street just north of the underpass, where Gene’s incredible journey ended.

We salute Gene Street, as we go by, and shake our heads as we drive under the overpass; listening to cars whizzing along at 75 miles an hour, tires singing, we wonder how it all happened. If only Gene could talk, what a story he would tell……..

©2013 Susan Kendall.  All rights reserved


Winter Wonderland

  We had 21” of snow last week.  There have been over 50” inches of official snowfall in our area this winter season. Snow has been on the ground for a very long time. Mike is still singing the sunny south tune and I admit to fantasies in that direction.  We have been limping along with our snow shovel, broom and local teenagers when snow falls around a weekend. This last snowfall took a hired snow removal truck with a blade and a snow blower.  After they had done their job I wondered how the dogs were faring.

   We have one pet door from the center hall door to the enclosed porch and another out the enclosed porch. I found the snow flattened at the pet door and a path around the parameter of the backyard. Pushing a path through the snow, they took care of their own snow removal.   Princess and Gene are still going in and out at whim and command.

   Jem is not interested in going anywhere except the pillow in my office.  His whim is for me to find the litter box and put it back in use and I understand his distaste for commandlike behavior.  We are both content to hang out in the office together on a snowy Sunday afternoon.

Be careful and keep warm. Jem is…….

©2011 Susan Kendall.  All rights reserved


Animal House…

There are several pets living in our house. The cat and I are most in tune with each other. We respect each other’s privacy, allow for each other’s occasional need for attention and do not get upset if the other is moody. The dogs are more in my face and very much in need of attention. Hmmmm….kind of like the other human living here.

Eugene is a Jack Russell Terrier. He is intelligent, athletic, fearless, and vocal……..he is stubborn at times and can be aggressive towards other animals and humans. He protects us by barking even before the postal carrier drops mail through the front door mail slot; continuing to harass the letters, magazines and advertising circulars as they lie on the floor waiting to be picked up. I appreciate his sentiment, if not his method. Eugene terrorizes the backyard squirrels and birds and anyone who walks by on the sidewalk.


Princess is a Schipperke, a small Belgium dog known for herding sheep or working on boats. Princess is, also, very stubborn and extremely intelligent. We have to spell words…..o-u-t…d-o-g…c-a-r … when talking in front of her. I used to call her “P” instead of Princess and I cannot even do that anymore. She is mischievous and has a headstrong temperament. Schipperke’s are sometimes referred to as the “little black fox”, the “Tasmanian black devil”, or the “little black devil. Schipperkes* are “very smart and independent; and sometimes debate listening to owners, instead choosing to do whatever benefits them the most.” Princess is the alpha animal in our house. She would really like to be the pack alpha. Eugene recognizes her superior abilities and the cat does not care what she thinks, he is simply not interested in being in charge. The humans are on to her little games.

Jem’s name is taken from To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. Jem came to us as a kitten with his female litter mate, who I named Scout. Scout disappeared several years ago. Jem missed her for awhile and then he moved on. Jem is an indoor and outdoor cat. He uses the pet door as easily as the dogs. He is inside most of the time in winter and deigns to show up for food in the summer. He terrorizes the goldfish in the pond, the ground squirrels and the neighbor’s cat. The neighbor told me her cat and Jem have made an uneasy peace this past year. Jem still follows her cat into her house whenever he is in the mood.

Sometimes it is hard to keep the “children” home……


©2011 Susan Kendall.  All rights reserved