Friday, March 26, 2010

My Friend Flicka

Many people think of the 1941 novel written by Mary O'Hara when they hear the name "Flicka". When I hear it, I think about a rescued German Shepherd that is the owner of a good friend of mine. The first time I ever met Flicka was back in 2001 in the early winter. She was in a kennel at a north Spokane Vet Clinic looking a bit thin and pretty sheepish. Not what I think of when I picture a German Shepherd. In my mind I can see a very statuesque strong breed that is very protective of family and friends. I went into the clinic every now and then and saw that this lonely Shepherd was there and did not seem to have an owner. When I did ask about her status I was told that it was the dog of a man who had passed away and the widow was elderly with no way to take care of her. Feeling heartbroke at the thought of such a beautiful animal living in a cage forever I contacted my friend. He had a German Shepherd before and I knew he was a huge dog lover. Especially partial to Shepherds. His previous dog was named Amadeus, and he was very full of himself. He was the very picture of a strong German Shepherd and he knew it. He played the alpha role very well. Amadeus lived for about 8 years and my friend was absolutely devestated when he passed away. I knew it had been a few years since the passing and thought maybe.....just maybe he would be open for a new to him Shepherd. When I approached him about it one day he actually told me that he recently decided it was time for him to find a new companion. My heart jumped at the thought of him meeting Flicka and hoping he would maybe change the name since I thought it was a name for horses. (More on the name later) I went and picked up Flicka the next day and arranged a meeting at my house between my friend and Flicka. I had the anticipation of feeling like I was setting up two good friends on a blind date and hoping like hell they had some chemistry. Funny thing though as I was on the way home I began to really fall in love with Flicka and went head over heels when I went through a local drive-through to get a shake and Flicka tried to take the window person's hand off for reaching inside my pickup to hand me my shake. Finally! There was the German Shepherd in her! I could not wait to get home and be there before my friend so I could have her all ready. There was a bit of snow out and I raced home and parked the truck and took her inside for a minute so I could get my camera for a picture. Soon after I took the picture above my buddy showed up and I swear it was not five minutes and they were like two long lost friends. Some people just have a way with dogs and my friend is one of those. Dogs can sense way more than we ever know and she could tell he was the right boy for her. We went to the clinic again to take care of paperwork and was given a large kennel and a jolly ball. The jolly ball is a large heavy plastic ball and we just could not see how a dog could play with it.
You can see in the picture on the right that she just loves to play jolly ball! When my friend got her home he called me a few days later and said that she was having accidents in the house. Now we figured that with her being about two years old she was housebroken and figured something might be wrong. We went and talked to the Vet and he said the elderly woman used to make her kennel up all night and sleep in it without going out at all. No wonder she looked so sheepish in the kennel at the clinic on my visits. So just to be careful the Dr. did a full make-up on her blood and it turns out that she is on the verge of kidney failure. My heart sank thinking of my buddy finding a new dog only to have to deal with this. He told me it was no big deal and he would do whatever needed to be done to make her comfortable and happy. I don't think many people would have done this. I bet most would have tried to return the dog to the clinic. Anyhow he was given a prescription dog food and some other meds and some instructions.
A few months later Flicka was brought back to the clinic and new blood work was done. Turns out she had a major turn around and had almost perfect blood this time around. Lots of excercise and good treatment totally helped Flicka. Amazingly she went from about 68 pounds to almost 90 pounds of solid muscle. Flicka looked like an athlete. She quit having accidents and is just adored in her new life and attention she recieves. When my buddy gets home he goes right to Flicka for his "Doggie Hugs" and some good pets as well as a rousing round of "jollie ball".  
So this great friendship continues to this day only with a little sad news. Flicka is now about 11 years old and anyone who knows dog realizes that is pretty old for a large dog breed. Flicka is getting around much slower and you can almost hear her knees creek when she runs, but she still puts her heart in it. Jollie ball is still her favorite game as well as fetch when inside. She is now in the twilight of her life and is as much loved today as ever by her boy.
While doing some research for this posting it turns out Flicka is from an old German name of Farica. This name means "peaceful ruler". Another site says Flicka is a Swedish expression for "little girl" Both very fitting of her demeaner and grace. Now I have not mentioned my friends name in this posting for the reason that he is very private and this post is a bit on the personal side. He just needs to know that he has given a rescued dog all that could be asked for and to remember she will always be with him even after she passes. Take care my friend and be strong.


Update: Due to Flicka and her arthritis issues my buddy actually re-built the stairs she uses to get into the yard. They went from a 3 step drop to about 8 steps that stretch out about 8 feet or so. No she can get up and down much easier. I hope someone does that for me when I get old.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Lisa got a road bike!

     So finally after months of looking a trying out different styles and seating positions and the like Lisa found the machine she had been looking for. She located a 2006 Honda Rebel 250 in Pullman (about 60 miles from us) on good ole Craigslist. I knew she was looking for a while and when she finally made it clear she was serious I started looking up blue book prices and gettin an idea what she would be paying. I noticed that these models ranged from $800 to about 3k depending on the year. Apparently not too much has changed with the bike and it seems they hold their value very well.
     I was not too sure at first if the 250 would be ideal for her as she does not mind healthy acceleration in her car or on her 4-wheeler but when she knows what she wants........well she knows. I am leary occasionally on Craigslist due to the scams and mostly people thinking they had something that was worth much more than it was. After much looking and talking to the owner I was encouraged enough to hook up the trailer and head south. When we got there the owner had it parked out front. I watched Lisa's face as we pulled in and could see the excitement. I couldn't help it either as the Rebel looked fantastic. Like I said earlier it is a 2006 CMX250 Rebel. Black with lots of chrome and an aftermarket windscreen and it also has leather saddlebags. The bike only has 5900 miles and just looked great. It is the perfect size for her to get going on as she has never ridden a motorcycle before. I know in a few years she will want something bigger but for now she could not be happier.                                   
Last Saturday she woke up at about 7:30 in the morning no thanks to Earl texting her notifying us of the beautiful day outside. We got up and Lisa went on her first ride on the road. We went all through the neighborhood, stopped and had a coffee and then visited my mom who could not believe how nice this bike is. I am so happy to see her excitement when she rides it and now she can understand why I will just "go for a ride" some days and be gone for hours.