Cletus Comes Home


The Day Cletus Came Home
By
Barbie Perkins-Cooper

The crisp coolness of November felt good on my skin as I raked leaves in the backyard. For weeks, I sat around the house feeling guilty over the loss of Cletus. As a foster mom for animals, I took pride in how I cared for them. Never had I lost one until Cletus ran away.

After his escape, my husband and I placed flyers all over the neighborhood hoping someone would read them and recognize Cletus. Several people phoned to say they saw him, chased after him, only to have him run away. A teenager new to the area said he was a fast little guy.

“He’s skittish. Horrified someone might hurt him. That’s why he runs. He’s afraid everyone will brutalize him like the puppy mill owners did before he was rescued. Please, if you see him again, call me. Don’t scare him.”

The boy’s voice cracked. “I’m sorry I scared him.”

“He scares so easily. Maybe we will find him soon.” I thanked the boy, hung up, realizing I did not get his name. How selfish of me.

Later that afternoon, I leashed Shakespeare and Sandy Bear, hoping a brisk walk might refresh my depression and exercise these boys. I carried a brown paper bag of dog food and treats, placing them by St. Andrews Episcopal Church parking lot. When I spoke with an animal communicator a few weeks ago, she suggested leaving food in areas he might be hiding in, so every time I walked, I carried the foods Cletus knew so well. Here, Cleet…Cleet…Little Buddy…Your food is right over here… Here Cleet…Cleet…

I was hopeful he might be nearby and hear me.

Arriving home, I rushed to the front door, placed more dog food in the bowl and refreshed the water bowl. No doubt something was coming by late at night to eat the food. Last night, after another night of insomnia, I checked the front porch at 11:00. The bowl was untouched. At 1:00 the bowl contained a little bit of food. At 3:00 a.m., the bowl was empty. “Please God; let it be Cletus eating the food. Please help me find him.”

I sat in the den, surfing channels on the television watching the sun rise. Shakespeare patted his paw at my foot. So like him to follow me. Never has he cared to be alone in the dark of night. I scooped him up, fluffing the afghan around both of us. “It’s OK, little buddy. Mommy’s all right.”

Moments later, I listened to the roar of Shakespeare snoring in my left ear. In the early dawn of morning, I brewed coffee, turning the light on the front porch on; I prayed Cletus would be asleep there.

Opening the refrigerator, I noticed the calendar. Three weeks ago Cletus ran away. “I probably should post more flyers today, and I’ll phone all of the animal shelters again. Maybe I’ll update them. I doubt we’ll ever find him. He’s probably starved to death by now, unless…” The phone interrupted my thoughts.

Phil wanted to know how I felt. “I’m OK,” I said, tears spilling down my face.

“Let’s do an early movie today. I think you need to get out for a bit.”

After Cletus ran away, I got sick again with acute bronchial asthma. Every day was difficult, without energy, so all I did was rest with the exception of raking the leaves and walking the dogs. My breathing was so short; it took me an hour just to walk the dogs. How I found the energy to do all that I was doing with my body so ill was a question everyone wanted to know.

“I’m a stubborn woman,” I said. “Regardless how I feel, I care for others before caring for myself. All of my life, I’ve cared for others, especially animals and my precious dad. When he died in July 1999, I fell apart. Therapy helped me to realize I must take care of myself first. Easier said than done.

That afternoon, Phil came home early. The wrinkles on his face showed me how worried he was about me. “I’m not taking my phone,” I said, my voice raspier than normally.

“Good,” he said. “You need to stop worrying and relax.”

“Relax? I will relax when I find Cletus. I know he’s out there somewhere, and I cannot find him no matter what I do. It just isn’t fair. I promised to be a responsible foster. Instead, I let him down, so he ran away.”

“He didn’t run away from you. He wanted his freedom, just like the animal communicator said. He wanted to see the world.”

“I know…It’s just easier for me to take the blame.”

Phil gathered his keys, locked the door and off we went to enjoy an early movie. I cannot remember what movie we saw, or what we had for dinner. My thoughts were with Cletus – wherever he was. Arriving home, my neighbor rushed to the car.

“Did you get my message?” She squealed. “Cletus was found. We have him on our porch.”

I burst into tears. “Are you kidding me?”

“No,” she said. “Come with me.”

Neighbors stood around the front porch. “He’s growling. He won’t let anyone touch him.”

I opened the gate of the crate, placing my hands slowly inside while whispering, “Cleet…Cleet…Hey, Little Buddy.”

Cletus moved his paw to touch my hand. I smiled, moving my hand closer to him.

“Look at that,” my neighbor said. “He let you touch him. Every time I tried, he acted like he wanted to bite me.”

“He doesn’t bite…He’s frightened.” I curled my arms around his body, moving him from the crate. He snuggled closer to me, staring at me – as if to say, I’m home.

Carrying him tightly in my arms, we walked inside the house. Sandy Bear rushed to greet us. “Look who’s back.” I said. “Cleet…Cleet…Our Little Buddy is home.”

I placed Cletus on the floor. “Welcome Home, little Buddy,” I whispered. Cletus walked away, dropping his exhausted body on the pillow he slept in before he ran away. At feeding time, he sniffed his bowl, turned away, only to rush back, eating every bite.

“Welcome Home, Little Buddy,” I said, rubbing his ears. “You’re home and safe now. “ Welcome Home.”

The Adventures of Cletus Cleet, Cleet Runs Away


The Adventures of Cletus
Cleet, Cleet Runs Away
By
Barbie Perkins-Cooper
Copyright ©2012 Barbie Perkins-Cooper, All Rights Reserved

Thursday, November 8, 2012, was a bitter day, with an early and cold winter’s chill, the first for the fall in Charleston, South Carolina. The morning sunshine could not warm the grounds of the coastal area where Cletus rested. He sniffed the coldness under his belly. Shivering, he was so tired, weak and getting thinner every day.

How long has it been since he ran away? Although he struggled to remember, his brain was tired from so many nights of little sleep. He dug deeper under the house. He heard the noise of a motor. Someone’s coming. I need to hide. She might see me again and this time, she might catch me.

With his docked tail tucked between his legs, he rushed away. The dark skinned lady with white hair knew where he hid at night. She tried without luck to catch him, but he always managed to move quicker than her crimpled body would permit. Her arthritic legs would not bend so she could stoop down to get him. Cletus knew how to outsmart humans. Yes, they were taller than he was. Bigger, and humans had long arms that stretched out with fingers that felt more like shovels than something warm to touch him. His sandy blonde and cream colored fur usually kept him warm, but this morning it was cold in Mt. Pleasant.

Cletus looked back as he moved. Why can’t I run like I did when I ran away? Why is every step feeling like I will fall and never get up?

Cletus crept down under the bushes. She could not see him here. “Here little puppy. Come here to me. I got some food for you. You look so skinny. I just want to feed you little puppy.” The lady walked with a cane, dragging it behind her as she shook the food bowl. For three early mornings, Cletus ate the food, warm with runny looking yellow grains of corn, oats, bread, egg, and other ingredients. Cletus didn’t care what it was. He ate every bite, wanting more.

Cletus heard the softness of a human voice before, at the house where he escaped. The woman living there was blonde, with big green eyes, colorful red fingernails and a sweet sounding voice, and a great smile. Every time Cletus looked at her, she smiled at him. Yes, her voice was a nicer tone than before…in the puppy mill. When Cletus lived there all he ever heard was a harsh shouting of Move…get on over there…do your work boy…now get! Cletus knew what to do, and he rushed away before the bald headed man with a belly that jiggled every time he moved, turned the water hose on again. He didn’t want to get wet again. The waters stung him every time they hit his tiny body. The waters made him feel like he was drowning. He didn’t want to drown. He hated when the man picked up the shovel, grabbed him, throwing him into the next kennel where a frightened girl dog shook next to him. He wanted to hear the soft voice again…the gentle voice and the sweet words, “Cleet…Cleet…Come on Little Buddy. It’s OK. No one will hurt you here.”

Cleetus curled into a ball to get warm. His tired eyes closed. Cleet. Cleet. He dreamed. The soft, musical voice of a woman soothed his tired, emaciated body. Cleet….Cleet…Hi, Little Buddy. It’s ok. No one will ever hurt you here. Your sadness ends, starting today.

Isn’t that what the blonde headed human said when she met him? The day he left Maddy, his little black schnauzer friend, and the vet’s office? Yes, she called me Cleet…Cleet. I didn’t know what it meant, so I jumped out of her arms. Humans hurt. I was afraid she might hurt me while smiling at me. If only I could find my way back to the place. The red brick house with a gold car in the front and a white ornament next to it. There were trees in the yard. Sweet Jasmine. A magnolia tree. Dogs…Dogs barked at me. Dogs played with me. Dogs told me I would be happy here. One dog, a salt and pepper color talked to me, telling me I would be happy here, but he said I had to learn the rules. Try not to poop on the floor. If you have to poop, do it on the doggie papers, or wait until you’re outside. Cletus didn’t like the outside. He didn’t like rules. He wanted to make his decisions. He was scared.

The world outside is a cold, cruel world. Cars are on the road. Kids rush around and on bikes. Bells rang during the day from a big brick building with lots of children. When they’re on bikes, they play games, trying to run over me. Just like today. A boy in a gray hoodie and jeans rode on a bike. When he saw me on the sidewalk, he darted over to me. “Get out of the way you stupid dog.” The bike tires caught up to Cletus, but he ran, not as fast as before; he managed to scatter away from the bike, bumping into a fence. The gate was open. Cletus rushed to the corner of the fence, waiting for the boy to come after him. The boy stopped the bike. “Stupid dog. You’re nothing but a scaredy cat! You know I can’t go back there. Stupid…stupid dog!”

Cletus took a deep breath. He fell fast asleep. If only he could find his way back to the red brick house.

Dreaming again, he thought of the place he left. If only he hadn’t been so curious. Walking around the fence, he found a loose piece of wood. His feet scratched at it. The soil was soft. Before he knew it, the hole was big enough for him to slide through. He looked back, at the door. The blonde headed lady with a sweet voice wasn’t there. Cletus wasn’t certain he should leave, but something inside of him said Run. Go on. Set yourself free…where humans can’t hurt you. Go…Run!

The dogs told him he was in a safe house. Shakespeare, the alpha dog, teased him, but he could tell that Shakespeare, Sandy Bear, and Shadow were happy in the red house. Shakespeare didn’t know what a cruel world it was. Sandy Bear knew. Sandy Bear was the same color of Cletus. He told Cletus he might want to give these humans a chance. Sandy Bear barked, “If you give her a chance, you’ll love her. She pets you. She rubs your belly, and at night, she lets you snuggle up close to her. Sometimes she sings to us. We watch TV together. Sometimes we watch doggie shows, and she laughs, telling us Doggies on TV. And if you’re scared when storms happen, she’ll hold you close and sing to you. Such a soft and sweet voice, you’ll feel safe and warm. She doesn’t raise her hands to hit you, and she’ll give you treats and make sure you eat well. There’s no violence here. Ever.”

Shakespeare jumped. “Violence?” He barked. “What’s violence?”

“Oh get real,” Shadow interrupted. “Don’t you know what violence is? I forgot – you came to this house when you were a puppy. No one’s ever been mean to you.” Shadow was midnight black, a giant schnauzer that loved to jump high in the air. Tall with wiry fur that shined in the sun, Shadow pranced around with grace. “Violence is when humans throw their hands up and hit you. Sometimes they’ll kick you with their big feet with hard shoes. And sometimes they’ll get a shovel, and poke it at you. Sometimes the shovel cuts. It hurts. Humans don’t give you food. And if you tear up things, they’ll take you for a ride and drop you off somewhere. You’ll end up sleeping outside in the dark of night. Alone. You’ll have to find your own food. Maybe that’s why I love to catch squirrels. Humans are mean. But Mommy and Daddy, well, they’re from a different world. The sweet lady I call Mommy has a pretty smile. They drove all the way to Georgia to rescue me. They let me sleep on a soft and warm blanket in the back seat and drove a long ways to bring me here. I met Shakespeare and Sandy Bear when we arrived. They told me to let these humans love me, but Shakespeare said, he was first…the most important and alpha dog. He gets the most attention. At least he thinks he does. Never have I seen these humans hit any of us. They sit with us on the floor when feeding us. I’ve never seen a human do that. And the lady? She walks us, but she won’t allow us to chase squirrels. I guess that’s the only bad thing I can say. She wants us to behave and prance around with grace. She combs us. Heck, she even sings to us. This house is a good and happy place to live. You’ll learn to find out what love is.”

“Love?” Cletus barked. “What’s love?”

“Oh silly. Hush,” Sandy Bear spoke. “Love is something that makes you feel warm and toasty inside. Just like you feel after eating a good meal. I fell in love with Mommy when she looked into my eyes after rescuing me. She rubbed my floppy ears, smiled and kissed my forehead. She told me I was going to a new home with her and some more doggies who would play with me. She said I’d have a warm, fluffy bed and a soft blanket to sleep on. Mommy gives us all attention. If she feeds one, she feeds us all. She even sits in the floor with us, to make certain we all eat and no one steals the food. This family will give you a good life, Cletus. You might be sorry if you escape.”

Cletus turned to look at all of them. “Don’t you want to go with me, guys? I can dig a deeper hole, Shadow.”

Barking in unison, they sang, “No. Don’t go, Cletus. Don’t go!”

Cletus rushed away. Shakespeare poked his head out, watching him as he ran away. “You’ll be sorry!”

Sandy Bear rushed to the back door, barking a high pitch. “Mommy. Help!” Mommy!”
Sandy Bear jumped by the window. Mommy wasn’t there. “But she’s always here,” he barked. “She sits there and has her hands working across some silly board with a big picture screen on a shelf.”

“Computer, stupid,” Shakespeare grumbled. “Mommy’s always at the computer.”

“Not now,” Sandy Bear barked.

“I hear her,” Shadow shouted. “See. She had to get some coffee.”

“Mommy!” Sandy Bear screamed. “Help Cletus!”

The door opened. The dogs rushed inside. “What’s all that barking for? Where’s Cletus?” Mommy said. “Cleet…Cleet…Here Cleet Cleet. Here Little Buddy…”

Cletus was gone. Escaping into the sidewalks, woods, bushes, roads, and shrubs of the Old Village of Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina.

Mommy rushed around the back yard, looking, sighing, singing, “Cletus…Here Cleet…Cleet. Come here, Cleet…Cleet…Mommy won’t hurt you.”

Cletus heard her sobs but he kept running. No one will ever mistreat me again, He cried.

Later, as Cletus frolicked along the sidewalks, he chased squirrels. He drank from a stream. He heard sounds from a school. Children on bicycles. His eyes widened. Quickly he dove into the shrubs. The ground was warm. For the first time in his sad life, Cletus felt safe. He curled his body into a tightly woven frame and slept, the first real sleep he felt in much too long. When he awoke, it was dark. He listened. Only the sounds of night were around. An owl on a tree. A cat meowed a frightening sound. A fog horn hummed along the coast. Cletus heard a growl recognizing it was his stomach.

I should’ve caught that squirrel. I could’ve had a nice meal with him. I’m hungry. Maybe I should go back. He stood, rushing away from the shrubs. Which way do I go? Oh no. I’m lost. Help me. Shadow. Shakespeare, Sandy Bear — where are you?

The next morning, Cletus awoke lost and frightened. He heard a familiar voice.

“Cleet…Cleet…Here Cleet…Cleet.”

He ignored it. He sniffed the familiar scents of Shakespeare and Shadow, choosing not to respond.

I’ll be all right. The world is a big place. I don’t need humans to take care of me. No one will mistreat me again. Ever! I am free. Tears rushed down his face.

“Here Cleet Cleet…Little buddy…”

Cletus lifted his head. She’s here. He lifted his tired body, praying she would not hear his growling stomach. He sniffed. That smells like her.

Moving closer, he heard the school bells ringing. Cletus dropped to the ground.

“Come here, little Buddy. I’ve got you some food. Aren’t you hungry?” She shook a brown bag dropping it. Cletus sniffed. Food!

Shivering, Cletus did not move. If he moved or made a sound, she could grab him. He was tired of people thrashing their long, extended arms to him, only to hit him or push him around. The lady seemed nice, but he was still afraid what she might do. He let out a gentle sigh falling into an exhausted sleep as the lady turned and walked away.

The next morning, Cletus sniffed the bag, finding kernels of dog food. He tore the bag open, eating every bite, hoping she would return soon.

-30-

Gobble…Gobble…Gobble…Happy Thanksgiving!


Thursday, November 28, 2013

Dearest Readers:

On this date, November 28, 2013, we celebrate Thanksgiving. As we grow, there are many traditions made, and some traditions are broken. Growing up in the State of Georgia, my family taught me many traditions during the holidays, especially at Thanksgiving and Christmas. The holidays were for family. I recall celebrating Thanksgiving with my maternal grandparents. Although when I was little, I often was curious why my maternal grandparents and paternal grandparents did not come together for the holidays. Later, I discovered how strange our families were and I did my best to welcome all of my relatives.

I remember my maternal grandmother always prepping, baking and cooking for the holidays. Our table was filled with most of the foods we celebrate and gobble down a bit too quickly. We always had a country ham, turkey, homemade biscuits that felt and tasted like a cloud and I recall eating too many of them. OK…so homemade biscuits are my weakness, and that is why I do not make them! Additional foods included cornbread dressing, green bean casserole, Southern potato salad, mashed potatoes, candied yams, and of course, we had a variety of desserts. My grandmother was a great Southern cook, so you can just imagine all of the food we ate. Another tradition we shared was always saying the blessing at the dinner table. Joining hands, we would ask my dad or grandfather to lead us into prayer.

Some traditions must be preserved, and that is why when Phil and I eat at the dining room table, or at the breakfast table, I always remind him we must ‘say grace.’ Phil did not grow up with that family tradition, and the more I discover about his family, the more I recognize that his family was more estranged than mine could ever be. His mother did not cook a Thanksgiving turkey or dinner. His mother said she hated turkey because it was dry. She changed her mind when tasting mine! After moving to Charleston, I went to the trouble of inviting Phil’s family for Thanksgiving Dinner; however, after the way his mother behaved, I was a bit annoyed with her. Just picture it. As the cook for the Thanksgiving Dinner you are tired. For many days you have prepped the foods, thawed the turkey and prepared it. Baked. Cooked. Cleaned the dishes. Dressed the dining room table with your finest linens, china, candles and all the fun things I enjoy doing for the holidays, only to be told — perhaps in a dictatorial tone — that you are hungry and want to eat…NOW!

I asked Phil if I could speak to him privately, letting him know I was furious that his mother was so demanding. He shook his head, refusing to speak with his mother. I returned to the kitchen, letting his mother know I had some peanut butter and bread and if she wanted to EAT NOW…she could fix a peanut butter sandwich. She growled at me… “Just give me a paper plate and I’ll dig in…”

“You’ll do no such a thing. Dinner isn’t ready!”

That was the last Thanksgiving I shared with Phil’s mother. New traditions were made, in hopes we as a family could teach our child that holidays were family days and were not to be dictatorial.

Now, our son is married, building new traditions with his wife and child. As for us, I still prepare a Thanksgiving meal, and I dress the dining room table with china, a lace tablecloth, and candles and we take the time to enjoy our meal. Occasionally, I invite our friends over but as life has a way, most people have plans for the holidays.

A new tradition we started two years ago is to decorate our Christmas tree on the weekend of Thanksgiving. Last year, I was so sick with acute bronchitis I did not feel like cooking Thanksgiving, although I did. Weak and exhausted by dinner time, I did something I rarely do.  I asked Phil to help with the clean up. That weekend he put the tree up. When I asked him to help with the decorating he grumbled, so like his mother —
“I HATE decorating the tree…”

I gathered the decorations and with tears in my eyes, I decorated the tree. Exhausted, I went to bed, furious with Phil and his hatred for the holidays.

This year, I’ve let him know how his cold, and demeaning words hurt me last year. There I was as sick and as weak I could be, and all he cared about was watching his stupid football games! How dare him! Never did he consider how sick I was and how hard I worked to keep the traditions going.

Traditions are important to me, and they should be for everyone, especially at the holidays. Much to my surprise, Phil has mentioned twice that we are decorating the Christmas tree this weekend. Sometimes I cannot help wondering just who is this strange man I married. His moods change quicker than the winds!

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. We are sharing it with friends, and on Friday, I am cooking a Thanksgiving meal at home. After all, some traditions need to continue. Since early marriage I have cooked the Thanksgiving meal. That tradition must continue. Additional traditions will continue, and a few will change. We have a family of four-legged children to celebrate the holidays with. This year, all of them — Shasta Daisy Shampagne, our 12-year-old, frail Maltese will probably share her last Thanksgiving with us. She has seizures now. Until last evening, the last was three weeks ago. Our pet sitter describes her as a frail, little old lady most comfortable in her rocking chair. Only for Shasta, she is most comfortable curled on a pillow with her blanket at my desk. Last night’s seizure scared us and I prayed, “Please God, let her live just one more Thanksgiving!” She made it through the night, and she is curled at my feet now.  Thank you, God!

Our other children are Shakespeare Hemingway, a salt and pepper mini-schnauzer, Sandy Bear Sebastian, a blonde mini-schnauzer,  Sir Hankster the Prankster, a smaller mini-schnauzer who grumbles and grumbles and grumbles… Our youngest is our biggest, a giant wiry schnauzer named Prince Midnight Shadow. We adopted him from a shelter last year after my precious Prince Marmaduke Shamus crossed Rainbow Bridge. All of these precious children will enjoy a taste of Thanksgiving this Friday with us. Yesterday, the rescue I volunteer for requested for us to consider fostering a pup from a kill shelter. Schnauzer Rescue of the Carolinas needs fosters willing to help these little guys adjust to a life away from kill shelters and crates. At first, I thought “No, I cannot do this again.” If you recall, my last foster was Sweet Little Cleet…Cleet…the Pup Who Ran Away, But Came Back! I confess, I fell in love with Sweet Cletus and hated to let him go when he was adopted. I am happy to report he is progressing ever so slowly with his new parents. It has been a long process for him to forget the abuse he tolerated as a puppy mill stud, but now, he has a caring family who do everything they can to give him a life filled with love and tender care. Together, Cletus, now named “Little Buddy” and his family are taking baby steps. Baby steps leads to independence and trust, and I look forward to the day when I hear that Little Buddy is now a changed guy!

I am happy to announce, Phil has agreed to take in another foster – a Maltese. So now, this Thanksgiving, even though we do not have the newest foster in our household, we have much to be thankful for on Thanksgiving 2013. This year I have good health again! We are still together in this marriage. We have love and peace in our world at home. We are thankful for our soldiers who are away this year, and we are hopeful they return home safely, soon. We are thankful for our grandchild, William; and we are thankful and so appreciative of our good friends. May we all have a toast for Thanksgiving, and may we all give thanks to God for another Thanksgiving.

Happy Thanksgiving! Enjoy your special day!

 

Sweet Little Cleet…Cleet Finds a New Home


Dearest Readers:

If you read my posts on a regular basis, you will know our sweet little foster Schnauzer/Maltese mix now has a happy home, filled with much love. His adoption day was Friday, March 15. After I took him to his new home, I sat down on the couch, talking with his adoptive parents, Cindy and Jeff, sharing the bits and pieces I learned while caring for him. While I was there, I watched sweet little Cleet, Cleet, moving around a bit. He kept coming to me, wanting me to pick him up, which I did, holding him close, stroking his fur for perhaps the last time. No, I did not cry. I was happy for him, knowing that this family was the most special family I had prayed so hard for Schnauzer Rescue of the Carolinas to find for Cleet…Cleet.

A few moments later, I left, confident and happy for him. Arriving home, I gathered my group of pups, telling them that their foster brother, sweet little Cleet…Cleet had a new home. Sandy Bear kept going to the bed that Cleet, Cleet slept in during the day. He curled his little blonde body into a tight ball, perhaps talking with Cleet Cleet.

Since his adoption, I have communicated with Cindy, the adoptive mom. After I left him, Cletus kept going to the corner of the sofa where I sat and to the front door. When I read this, I was heartbroken. In his little mind, he felt abandoned. I decided it was time to speak to Cletus…to attempt to reach out to him and communicate, just like Karen, the animal communicator, communicated to him when he was lost. I had a bit of knowledge about clairvoyancy since my grandmother had this gift, so I sat by my window, tears rushing down my face, making the attempt to contact sweet little Cleet, Cleet, to let him know it was OK to accept and love his new parents. I was thankful that my husband was asleep during this time. He has never understood how I receive visions, sometimes in dreams, other times, throughout the day. I curled my body into a restful position. My children were outside, so quiet meditation could occur. Softly, I spoke to Cleet…Cleet like I did on Thursday while bathing him.

Two days later, I heard a happy bark in the house. All of my children were outside, playing. I recognized the happy bark — Cleet…Cleet. Again I spoke with him. This time, he was telling me how nice the people were. I let him know he was in a new home now, a safe and caring home. Silence for a few moments, then he barked again…a distinctive bark that only comes from Cletus, now known as “Little Buddy.” He shared with me that he was feeling a bit better now. I asked him if he felt abandoned by me. He paused, processing his thoughts carefully. “No,” he said. “When you left I did feel abandoned, and I stayed by the couch where you sat. Then, I remembered your conversation with me when you bathed me, and I must say, I loved that bath time together. I remembered you said you loved me, and your job was to teach me that I could trust some humans. I didn’t trust humans for a long time, because they were so mean to me…and when I ran away, I was afraid that you might hurt me too…but when I came back, you smiled at me, you held me close, you kissed my head, and I knew you really were happy that I was back. I told you I’d never run away again…Remember.”

I nodded. We were communicating like I hoped we would. He understood why I had to find him a really good home, and with Cindy and Jeff, he would have a happy, caring and loving family. My job as the foster mom was successfully completed. A few nights later, I dreamed that Cletus needed a new name. The name I dreamed of was “Romeo.” That morning when I checked e-mail, I read an e-mail from Cindy. They decided to change his name to “Buddy.” They called him several different names, which he did not respond to. When they said, “Little Buddy,” he turned his head and responded. Simple…his new name is Buddy.

During his time in our home, I called him Little Buddy when I picked him up in the mornings. His new name was perfect for him! He is a sweet, timid little Buddy.

Last week, Cindy and Jeff took Little Buddy for his wellness check-up. The veterinarian gave him a complete exam, with blood work. Buddy is in great health, and the vet thinks he could be a cairn terrier. Cindy shared that she thought he was a Norfolk terrier. When I pulled the website for Norfolk terrier, I looked at a pup that was identical to “Buddy,” including the docked tail and blonde coat.

As a foster mom, it is easy to fall in love with the animal that you foster. I fell head over hills with “Cleet…Cleet…Little Buddy…” and I miss him terribly; nevertheless, my job was to care for him. To teach him that humans will not thrust a water hose in his face, to make him move…to feed him, keep him clean, and brushed…and to show him that there are humans who will treat him with respect and love. Our job at this house was completed when we found him a new, adoptive home. Yes, it was hard to give him up, but that is what fostering is about… Little Buddy is taking baby steps now to adjust to a new life. I am certain he is watching how their Schnauzer responds to them, and he will learn much from their actions. I am so happy for him.

Perhaps now, I will take a bit of time away from fostering… I grew to love Cleet…Cleet probably more than I should, but who wouldn’t love him. He was so gentle…so quiet, at first…and when I heard his happy bark one afternoon when I returned from errands, I smiled at him…so happy that he was expressing happiness. My wish for Cindy and Jeff is that Little Buddy will soon bark that happy bark. Baby steps. Patience. Love. Affection…Tenderness… only a few of the ingredients to be a foster mom.

My job is done. Sweet little Cleet…Cleet now has a new home. Wishing you much happiness, good health and much love, Little Buddy!

Cletus Has a New Home


Dearest Readers:

I am pleased to announce my little foster child, Sweet little, Cleet, Cleet, has a new home. Tomorrow morning I will take him to his new home. He has been such an interesting little character, and he has taught me much about acceptance, trust, gentleness and kindness. After he came into our lives in October, 2012, I felt like such a failure when he refused to come to me…how his eyes quickly glanced away when I touched him, how he jumped away to get away from me when I simply reached to touch him. One week after arriving here, as you will remember, he ran away and was gone for three weeks.

Since his return, I’ve seen a new Cletus. Still skittish, at first, he stopped playing the game of here we go around the table and chairs again. Instead, he would slide down, allowing me or my husband to pick him up.

Today is our final day together. Yes, I’ve cried. I’ve grown to love this beautiful, gentle and sweet, little guy, and I do believe, he’s grown to love me, as he showed on one occasion when he jumped up to touch my leg, wanting me closer to him.

Like all things in life, we have to grow, to accept the things we cannot change. Cletus was my foster child. When he needed someone to accept and love him the most, he came into our lives and our home. Here, he has learned to play with other dogs, and to cuddle up next to Shadow, Shakespeare and Sandy. No doubt all of them have communicated. Perhaps that is why he has responded to me recently.

Tomorrow, he will have a new home. I am certain he will see that there are humans who will accept and love him, not because he was a stud, or because he was so mistreated….they will love him because he is easy to love. When he came to us, he was frightened. Now, he’s learned to trust.

I wish his new parents the best. Fortunately, they have a puppy family member at their house. It will be easier for Cletus to adjust with another animal to sniff, play with and communicate with. Animals do communicate. How I’d love to know what my little crew has told Cleet…Cleet. I do believe it’s been positive doggy talks as they shared how we love and spoil each and every member of our Schnauzer and Maltese family.

Cletus, go with love, knowing only good things are coming your way. Never will you have food thrown at you, ugly words shouted at you, and water splashed in your face to make you move to the next ‘stud puppy’ environment. Your life is changing to a happy life. Go with my love and best wishes for your happiness, Cletus. I wish you more “Happy Tails!”

Happy Tails — Little Cleet…Cleet


Dearest Readers:

Today I want to share more updates about the progression of our little foster child, our Schnauzer-Maltese mix, Cletus, aka “Little Cleet…Cleet.”

I am happy to report that slowly, and I do mean ever so slowly, little Cleet, Cleet is learning that some humans are good and worthy of loving. Now that he is in our home, and comfortable, I have watched him growing, and loving us. A few weeks ago, we had a prospective adoptive family for him. Since I am a volunteer for Schnauzer Rescue of the Carolinas, they requested me to do a home inspection/interview. Cletus absolutely detests having a leash placed on his collar and he fights me every time I attempt one. This date was no different, so I placed him in a step-in halter, leashed. He relaxed and walked a bit. Perhaps Cleet, Cleet is aware of my hesitance and fear of leashing him since we kept him on a leash for a week whenever he went outside after running away from us. Now, he simply refuses to walk with a leash, although the step-in halter worked.

Arriving at the couple’s home, I encouraged them to walk him on the leash. He was skittish at first, and then, he suddenly darted towards me, and jumped up on my leg, as if to say, “Help me, Mommy.” I was touched.

Interviewing the couple while Cletus relaxed in the chair, I felt comfortable that all would be well with this couple. They had the tenderness and atmosphere I thought Cleet, Cleet would respond to; however, the next morning, I received a phone call. They decided to withdraw the application and not adopt Cletus.

For about two days, Cletus responded to me, moving closer to me each time I touched him. Could he know that he was about to be adopted? I suspect he knew something was up, so I reassured him that all was AOK and he would still be with us, for a while. Friends have told me that we should adopt him, but we have so many animals now, I am hesitant; nevertheless, I believe if Cletus could express what he wanted, he would say ‘I have a home…right here…with the boys and this family.’

With each day I am seeing new changes with Cletus. On one occasion, I was sitting in the den, with the other dogs around my shoulders (resting on the back of the sofa) and at my feet. Hank simply loves to curl around my feet. Perhaps to keep my feet warm? Who knows. Out of the corner of my recovering right eye, I saw Cletus, moving ever so slowly towards me. His head moved to the left, then the right…quickly, he dashed towards a toy and ran back into the breakfast room, with the toy in his mouth. This was a first! Now, Cletus wanted toys. He dropped the toy in his bed, deciding to find another. Carefully, he trotted to the den and the basket of toys. He snooped around, found a colorful rope and trotted back to his bed. I watched him for a few minutes, as he carried three toys to his bed!

Another bit of encouragement — a few nights ago I placed Cleet, Cleet on my bed. He turned his body in several circles, noticing several pillows on the right side of the bed. Quickly, he jumped on the pillows and flopped down. Shakespeare wasn’t too happy about this, but a few minutes later, the two of them had their heads resting on the other, bonding as doggies do when they are comfortable.

Resting my eye, I heard a growl, realizing it was Cletus. I patted him and he moved closer. I moved my hand, and when I did, little Cleet, Cleet licked my fingers! Another first! A few minutes later, he was playing with my fingers, gently gnawing at them!

There are still occasions where little Cleet, Cleet will withdraw and refuse to respond. Last night while resting my eye again, I slipped my hand on him, patting him gently while singing a song to him. “I think you need a new name,” I said. He lifted his head.

“How about Barney?”

Cletus ignored me.

“Well, sweet little Cleet, Cleet…what is a name you will respond to?”

No response. Sometimes this sweet little bundle of charm can be quite stubborn!

“How about Barnaby, Cleet…Cleet?”

Cletus lifted his head, stood up and moved closer to me.

“Hello little Barnaby.” His body was resting right next to me, as if he was glued to me!

Perhaps now he has a new name. Many of my friends have said I needed to change his name. My response – not until he tells me the name he wants. At first, we called him Cletus. He gave us funny looks, so we called him Benjamin. He liked it for about a day. Today, I’ve addressed him as Barnaby and each time, he’s looked at me — deep into my eyes — something he’s never done before.

Could it be that sweet little Cleet, Cleet and I are finally communicating, or could it be that he has observed how independent and somewhat sassy I can be — when something fails to please me? Maybe he’s taking notes from my behavior? Yes, that is just what this household needs, another opinionated, stubborn, feisty and independent family member!

I suppose that will be another discussion — for another Happy Tail with Sweet Little Cleet…Cleet…the little boy who wants to find his own home, happiness and name.

Hello, Barnaby!

 

Cletus Is Home


One week ago today, we were blessed with the exciting news that little Cletus “Little Cleet…Cleet” has been found!  With each day, we have watched him grow. His belly is not as emaciated as he was last week and he eats willingly, without hovering down from fear. On many occasions, I have seen his docked tail wagging with excitement. No, he doesn’t come to us yet. No, he doesn’t want to go outside in the night – in the dark. He prefers to stay inside. We are working to housebreak him. Today seems to be the best day with that. No early morning clean ups were required and he rushed outside with the other pups. He and Sandy Bear are close friends. I am hopeful Sandy Bear is teaching him, telling him that there are still good, caring people in the world of humans. People who will not mistreat a precious dog, but will love him. Yes, he still runs around in circles outside, but eventually (for me, after about 15 minutes — for my husband, less than 5 minutes) he will squat down and allow us to pick him up to bring him inside.

 

His appetite is great. He will occasionally take a treat from our hands. In all honesty, he appears to respond more to my husband, Phil, than me. Phil reports that when he is outside and sees me in the windows, he follows where I am. If I move to the front window where the fence is located, he moves closer to the window. If I move away, he watches, as if he is looking for me! He is getting more comfortable with us with every day. This morning, when I moved closer to pick him up, he barked with a happy bark and charged towards me, as if to say he wanted to play! When I moved closer, his fear gave in and he moved away! He is still very afraid of humans, but I really believe he is getting to see there is a different, kinder world within our home.

 

He doesn’t play with toys yet. He does like to have a fresh towel, with our scent, next to him at night night time. He doesn’t appear comfortable enough to rush to our bedroom to sleep with us, but he is enjoying sleeping on a pillow, with a towel and the breakfast room light on. Cletus doesn’t appear to like the dark of night, but when you consider he was lost for close to three weeks, I am certain the dark of night was probably a bit frightening.

 

Today, it is raining within the suburbs of Mt. Pleasant, SC. Cletus is happy to be in a warm home. When we pick him up now, he doesn’t struggle to jump out of our arms. All in time, he will understand that there are human arms and hands that will not strike, kick or hurt him. As his foster mom, I look forward to the day that he comes to us willingly. My first challenge was to get him to go outside willingly. That has been achieved. Second challenge – to get him comfortable enough to eat his food. Achieved. Third challenge – to get Cletus to bark and wag his tail. He accomplished that this week!

 

I am hopeful I will have more “Happy Tails” to report, via Cletus next week. He does appear to like hearing his name as “Little Cleet…Cleet…” One day, he is going to be a happy little boy. I look forward to seeing that day soon!

 

For now, I am so thankful that Little Cleet Cleet will be home at Thanksgiving!