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Dog days of summer

July 19, 2010 at 2:19 a.m.
Updated July 20, 2010 at 2:20 a.m.

Garbanzo, Green Bean and Tomato Salad

By Myra Starkey

I recently arrived home from a vacation in Seattle and realized just how hot it is in Texas. My favorite time of year is spring and summer, mainly because of the long, sunny days. Seattle this time of the year has mostly sunny skies with daytime temperatures in the mid-70s. Needless to say, it took a little time of readjustment for me.

I was glad to be home but did enjoy the fantastic weather, the tours of quaint towns and beautiful gardens and lots of Pacific/northwestern food. I intend to write about all these adventures in the coming weeks, but for now I have to tell of my current predicament in life.

My days are typically filled with my administrative work at the clinic, or if I have extra time, working in the garden. Rarely do I encounter detective work. Thankfully, I have not witnessed any recent crimes that I have to solve, but I am involved in the current investigation of "The case of the missing dog."

Last Friday morning, after I had returned from my travels, I was awakened at about 5 a.m. by my two watch-poodles, Hazel and Lola. They were barking ferociously at some outside intruder. I cautiously exited the bed and peered out the windows, but I could see no danger. The barking quieted momentarily and then resumed, waking Taylor. He muttered some unkind words about our faithful pooches and rolled out of bed to investigate.

I had to fix breakfast at about 7. I have a window over my kitchen sink, and I looked out onto the driveway and noticed a strange shadow behind the F-150.

I went out the back door into the back yard and then opened the gate to the driveway. It was a lost dog. It had a long, red line tied to its purple nylon collar, and the line had gotten stuck under the truck tire, so he was trapped. It looked to be a young, yellow Labrador/retriever mix.

When I approached him, he felt threatened and cowered and squatted in submission. The four-legged Houdini had obviously escaped from his home. He seemed friendly enough, but I thought Taylor could deal with him. He went out and walked the dog around the neighborhood but could find no one to claim him, so he put him in the backyard.

I placed an ad in the newspaper and called a couple of veterinarians. The canine had no tags; therefore, no information was available to us to help him find his home. I tried letting him go and following him, but he was happy to just run ahead and then return to my side.

I tied the dog near the end of the driveway out of harm's way, hoping the owner would drive by and call his name, but so far, no one has come for him. My hopes jumped when I received a Saturday call from a family who had lost a yellow dog called "Buddy," but my hope dissolved after they arrived and told me this was not their dog. My hopeless search for "Buddy's" family is soon coming to an end as I will have to turn him over to the pound. I called the pound, and they told me that they would take him, but that after 72 hours, he becomes the "property of Animal Control," and I think I know what that means.

If you are missing a dog, please call me soon. And if I don't hear from the owner and you are looking for a good companion, then contact me. This dog needs a home.

Summer is almost over, and soon children will return to school. But there are at least a few more weeks to enjoy the informalities and slow activities of these hot days. Impromptu dinner with family, neighbors and friends can be accomplished easily with simple recipes. The important ingredient is the desire to connect.

An evening dinner in the backyard complete with Lemon-Limeade Punch, Garbanzo, Green Bean and Tomato Salad, and barbecue chicken will satisfy your desire to spend less time in a hot kitchen and more time outside in the shade of trees and patio umbrellas. And throw a little scrap to your dog just to show them how much you love 'em.

Myra Starkey lives in Victoria. Write her in care of the Advocate, P.O. Box 1518, Victoria, TX 77901, or e-mail myra@vicad.com.

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