I really love pets. They're like children. They know if you really love them or not. You can't fool them. ~Donna Douglas
Recently, we watched the movie I Am Number Four Last Weekend Before School – 6th Grade. Not a bad movie at all, in fact Kyle really like it! Toward the end, when the action scenes started rolling out, the beagle in the movie changed into a creator of some sort to fight off the bad guys. Anyway, to sum it up, the beagle became injured during their battle. Then as the rest of the movie unfolded, there was no sight or sound of the dog. The entire time, Kyle kept asking what happened to the dog? Even when the action got good, Kyle would interject, "Wonder what happened to the dog? Pappy, what do you think happened to the dog? Do you think he died?", clearly upset over the possibility. We were all watching the movie like he was and none of us had a clue. Not satisfied with his pap pap's lack of knowledge, Kyle turned his set of questions onto me. Getting my opinion and responses weren't as nice as my dad's, "Kyle! I have no idea! I'm watching the same movie as you are, I'm not psychic! Shuhh!" He actually stood up and watched the remainder of the movie that way, I'm guessing trying to remove some of his anxiety. As he stood there clearly engrossed in the movie, I couldn't help but sport a big smile on my face. Just because he physically gets into movies and stresses over things like, 'Where's the dog?'.
Finally, at the very end of the movie, the beagle made his way to his owner, limping but clearly alive and on the verge of recovery. Kyle smiled with a sigh of relief when the dog was framed on the screen. He was sincerely happy to see the pet make it. Kyle even looked around at us to see if we were sharing in his joy. Now I will admit I did say, "There's your beagle, now you can relax." He nodded and sat back down.
After the movie we took the dogs, our real pets Scooby and Seven, for a hike. While stretching our legs Kyle kept talking about the beagle, and how relieved he was to see it alive. How happy he was to see it make it through the battle. I guess this was a nice change of pace, as opposed to the usual Lego talk. But can you believe the dog from the movie was still on his mind? It was!
Kyle's passion for animals shouldn't take me by surprise, because he is a very caring youngster. When Dog Gone, good old thunder and lightening (Scooby and Seven) ran off, he was sick over their mischievous actions. Not only because he knew they would get in trouble but he didn't want anything to happen to them. Being relentless, he kept calling them and walking around looking for any signs of the runaways. Kyle was completely worried and stressed until they came back.
Let's not even discuss Puppy Problem Called Seven, when Seven got in big trouble for eating the oatmeal creme pies off of the counter. I will admit I lost my temper and yelled like a wild banshee and punished Seven by putting him in his cage. That day, Kyle put Seven's food and water in with the prisoner, even though his jail time was only maybe an hour. And ever since that instance, Kyle was very aware of leaving food out on the counter and table for fear the dogs would try the same stunt. Not because he didn't want the dogs to eat the food, but because he fears for their punishment, getting yelled at having a time out in their cage.
During our hikes through the woods, I always have the shock collars on the dogs. I rarely need to shock them, they listen pretty well. But before there is an opportunity for the dogs to get in trouble, Kyle inspects the remote and makes sure the intensity is turned down, really low in case we need to use it. Recently, I misjudged our remaining daylight hours as we set out for our hike. In the middle of our walk, darkness started to fall on us pretty quickly, not to mention nightfall arrives in the woods first, under the cover of trees. As we made our way back on the trail, I decided to cut across onto a logging road where there was more light, ultimately bringing us out of the ticket sooner than our current course of action. Just as this decision was made, Seven encountered a creature of the night. How do we know? While we were blinded by darkness, Seven yelped and we heard a little bit of a tussle between animals. I have no idea what it was, but Seven sustained a scratch from the beast on his leg. At that moment, Kyle said, "Let's get out of here! When we get back to the house we can inspect him." Kyle was scared when he heard Seven cry. I jumped too! My first thought was it must be another porcupine, since Scooby's last encounter. However, it wasn't. Then Kyle started to say, "I'm never going into the woods when it's dark or getting dark again! I'll go first thing in the morning, when I know it's going to get light out. But NEVER when it's getting dark!" I felt really bad he was so upset and at that moment my concern was not for Seven but to alleviate some of Kyle's fear. I said, "Kyle there are all sorts of animals out during the day too. Not all animals come out at night. We just haven't ran into any animals during the day. But they're there." He replied, "Ya but at least I could see the animals during the day and at night I can't!" Point taken. Now I felt really, really bad. Let's face it, I make Kyle hike with me and the dogs, he really doesn't have a choice, and now he's afraid of the woods. Being afraid of the dark is not a new thing for Kyle and fueling that fire was never my intention. I just wanted all of us to stretch our legs, get our bodies moving when it was cooler in the evening.
Anyway, now Kyle was paying very close attention to where the dogs were walking, on our journey back. As we got to the edge of my cousin's sawmill, Kyle kept reiterating that I need to check Seven to make sure he's ok. He was truly worried. I did try to debunk his stress by saying he looked fine, no porcupine quills. Kyle asked me what it was, and I couldn't honestly answer for sure, except to say, "I'm pretty sure it wasn't a porcupine, it could have been a raccoon." Just then Kyle said, "I think there's something wrong with Seven's leg Aunt Heather. I think he's limping!" At that moment Seven ran past us at mock speeds to ram Scooby. I said, "Ya I don't think there's anything wrong with his leg." Kyle sort of smiled and nodded in agreement, but he was still concerned for his puppy. Later on we did find a scratch on his inner leg, but the vet said it was healing fine and Seven never seemed to be bothered by it.
As we headed toward the entrance of the sawmill, I couldn't find Scooby. Granted it was dark, but he wasn't listening to me when I called. Just then, a very stressed out Kyle grabbed the zapper remote and hit it once for Scooby. Nothing. No dog. Then I saw Kyle turn up the strength of the zapper and hit it again. Miraculously Scooby appeared by our side. Kyle mentioned to me, as if confessing, "I didn't want to hurt him but I didn't want him in the woods in case there was another porcupine. I don't want him to get shot in the eye or something." I was actually in shock, this was not the Kyle I know and love, yet it was. He was portraying my traits of tough love! Usually he's the one to make sure the zapper it turned down but now in order to protect Scooby from potential larger harm, Kyle zapped the dog to bring him back to safety. Even thinking about it now, I am still dumbfounded.
This was not the only instance of tough love. Recently, my Kyle, the one who never could hurt any animal, started to spray Storm with the water bottle. Granted, it's not hurting the cat in the slightest bit, but Storm is certainly not happy with Kyle's new actions. Apparently, Storm was biting Kyle, which I don't want to continue, so Kyle's taking it upon himself to bring justice to the guilty. This has actually gotten kind of funny. The other day I caught Kyle walking around the house with the spray bottle like he was packing heat. Take it easy Tex! I think he thinks he's a vigilante. Anyway, as I gave Kyle a look of 'What are you doing?' he instantly justified his actions by saying, "I'm teaching her not to bite, especially me. I know she doesn't like it, but it's for her own good Aunt Heather." Too much! When he said the last part, he leaned his head to the side and gave me a look like he was an adult disciplining a child! I just smiled and said, "Ok buddy, whatever you think is best." He quickly added, "Ya Aunt Heather so she doesn't get in really big trouble."
Kyle, what a stinker! I'm very proud of him! He has such a big heart. I hope no one ever takes advantage of his loving and caring nature and he continues to stay this way. His dad, even though he was a hunter, had a soft spot for animals too, especially his dog, Jake. But that's another story. Pets really do hold a special place in our hearts and I believe they are much needed.
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