Wally's World 3

2014: The worst and best of times

 

Things didn’t go particularly well for Wally for more than half of 2014 – his first full year of existence as a Corgified Terrier.

He prefers not to talk about his experience of being forsaken and neglected on a property near Thayer and many of the details have been blocked from his memory, but Wally does recall becoming all too familiar with a chain and a tree.

“A little help over here,” he said, “this metal contraption is digging into my neck. And is this gooey spot above my caboose supposed to be there? It itches, but I think it gets worse when I scratch it.

“And I guess a little food and water would be nice – if it’s not too much trouble. I’m just sayin’.”

WALLY

WALLY

Wally’s life took a turn for the better in August, as he was one of several dogs rescued from their unfortunate situation near Missouri state line by some caring humans from multiple organizations and agencies – including The Animal Shelter of Texas County, where he was taken in and shown he mattered.

“Unshackled and free – free at last!” Wally said. “You wouldn’t happen to have a pork chop on you, would you?”

It wasn’t long before Wally had been treated by a local veterinarian and was getting proper nutrition and hydration. He was then ready for adoption, and a woman who helps run the shelter invited me to stop by and take a look at him.

“He’s adorable – and really strange in the greatest sort of way,” she said.

When I first saw the oversized Brillo pad looking back at me from inside a shelter kennel, I couldn’t believe my eyes.

“That’s him!” I said.

For the last week or two of August, Wally enjoyed getting to know his surroundings at his new home at a remote Texas County high country outpost. He wasn’t fastened to a tree and frolicked accordingly.

Gertie (the Permapup) had to put him in his place several times.

“OK, OK, you’re the boss!” Wally said. “If I need to walk from one side of the living room to the other, I’ll ask your permission first.”

Wally and his long and low frame had to pass inspection by General Sur, the big Arabian gelding and top-ranking quadruped at the outpost.

“You call that a uniform, soldier?” Sur said. “I expect every member of this outfit to be neat and tidy during all non-combat hours and you look like a raggedy, mohair throw rug that just got run over by a battalion of cows. And are those legs, or are you some kind of canine skateboard?

“Well, soldier, I guess you’ll come in handy as a scout with your ability to advance under the bottom strands of fence rows. But you have a lot of work ahead of you if you think you’re going to make it here. Carry on.”

Wally got along with the hens from the get-go, but he did have to overcome some embarrassment.

“Hey, you girls quit laughing at me,” he said. “I can’t help that I look this way.”

SEPTEMBER

My wife, Wendy, twice had friends stay for a week at our house. The first visitors were a couple from north Georgia. A woman from New Mexico followed about 10 days later.

“Allow me to show you around,” Wally said. “That’s the cupboard where they keep my food and that’s my bowl. Oh, and this is the refrigerator. Any questions?”

After getting used to the visitors, Wally enjoyed their company immensely.

“You’re welcome back any time,” he said. “What’s mine is yours and, well, it’s still mine.”

OCTOBER

Wally thoroughly enjoyed his first big public outing at the “Festival of Yesteryear,” an event at the Raymondville Fairgrounds designed to benefit the community’s volunteer fire department. He spent hours checking out the various displays and demonstrations provided by artisans, businesses and organizations from several area counties.

“You know, Raymondville was named by Joseph Brackette in honor of his former home town of Raymond, Maine,” Wally said. “Its nickname is ‘Timber Town, USA,’ which was coined at the annual picnic in 1976. ”

“I find it amazing that you know that, and that most people who live here probably don’t,” I said. “I’m honored to be in the presence of a shaggy fountain of facts.”

“I’m just sayin’,” Wally said. “Hey, let’s get a bag of that kettle corn over there, or maybe one of those burgers over there. Mmm, that’s the good stuff.”

NOVEMBER

Another pair of visitors paid a week-long visit, this time a man from Texas and a woman from South Carolina.

We took them on a sight-seeing outing to Alley Spring and Blue Spring in Shannon County. Wally didn’t go, but he shared a few historic notes before we left.

“When you’re there, picture a thriving community around the big red Alley Mill building,” he said. “There were a lot of people living there after the mill was built in 1868; a post office opened and the community was named after John Alley, a prominent miller.

“And at Blue Spring, keep in mind its turquoise-colored waters are so deep that if the Statue of Liberty could be submerged in it, Lady Liberty’s torch would be a few feet below the surface.”

“Your knowledge of history and trivia never ceases to amaze me Walleroo,” I said. “Who needs a book when you have a Corgified encyclopedia?”

“Just sayin’,” Wally said.

DECEMBER

“Hey, where did the sun go?” Wally said.

“Weather experts are wondering the same thing,” I said. “This has apparently been the cloudiest December in more than 20 years.”

“Yeah, and there has been enough rain to cause the ground in the yard to become really squishy,” Wally said. “I’m staying in – let me know when it’s April.”

“That’s not a bad idea big man,” I said. “Toweling off your furry paws and belly is a chore I wouldn’t wish on anyone.”

“Yeah, but there’s no arguing with the results,” Wally said. “As I always say, ‘when you look good, you look good.”

“I have to agree, big man,” I said. “That’s hard to argue with. Well, boy, it’s 2015 time.”

“2015, eh?” Wally said. “Bring it on.”

Doug Davison is a writer, photographer and newsroom assistant for the Houston Herald. Wally is a Cardigan Welsh Corgi – Wirehaired Fox Terrier mix. Email Wally at ddavison@houstonherald.com.

Wally is tended to by Dianna Bennett, left, and _____ during a visit to Diane's Pet Styles in November for a little Corgified beautification.

Wally is tended to by Dianna Bennett, left, and Isabella Bonner during a visit to Diane’s Pet Styles in November for a little Corgified beautification.

Wally and his sidekick Doug Davison sit on a Raymondville Fire Department pumper truck Oct. 18 during the "Festival of Yesteryear," an fundrasing event designed to benefit the department.

Wally and his sidekick Doug Davison sit on a Raymondville Fire Department pumper truck Oct. 18 during the “Festival of Yesteryear,” an fundrasing event designed to benefit the department.

Wally sits on his bed wearing his special beady-eye contact lenses.

Wally sits on his bed in December wearing his special beady-eye contact lenses.

Only days after they became buddies in August, Wally shares a secret with his new sidekick Doug Davison.

Only days after they became buddies in August, Wally shares a secret with his new sidekick Doug Davison.

 

Wally's World 3

 

A festival of fun

 

Being a huge fan of “old timey” stuff, having a strong interest in history and genuinely appreciating arts, crafts and the people who produce them, Wally was right at home at the Festival of Yesteryear last Saturday at the fairgrounds in Raymondville, Mo.

From the moment he set furry foot on the grassy acreage, the young Corgified Terrier was in high-alert mode, making sure he didn’t miss a single sight, sound or (especially) smell. As I held the leash bearing my long and low business partner, I was quickly impressed by the magnitude of the deal, which was staged as a fundraiser for the hard-working volunteers with the Raymondville Fire Department.

There were dozens of booths, games and displays, and along with my oldest daughter, Roxanne, and our other dog Gertie (the Permapup), we met many interesting people, many of whom were obviously very talented in their fields or with their hobbies.

After a reconnaissance lap around the grounds, Wally made a beeline to where members of Cabool’s Ozarks Older Iron Club had several vintage tractors on display. The canine Brillo pad honed in on a 1955 Ferguson model 40 tractor and got behind the wheel.

“Reminds me of the one my ancestor Waldo Wallace used to plow the back 300 at his farm near Wally Wally, Wallington,” he said. “I’ve seen photos.”

“Uh, I think that’s Walla Walla, Washington, chief,” I said. “And wow, it must have been difficult to reach the pedals with those short legs and hard to steer with no thumbs.”

WALLY

WALLY

“Yeah, and it snowed 24/7, 365, and was uphill in every direction,” Wally said.

“Sounds rough,” I said.

Next, we stopped by where Tyrone resident Don Rutherford had his team of draft horses hooked up to an authentic stagecoach. Wally and I got up in the driver’s seat alongside Don.

“Hand me that six shooter,” Wally said. “I’ll handle any robbers who are dumb enough to trouble us.”

“I think we’ll be OK, Mr. Earp,” I said. “And again, shooting a pistol with any accuracy is going to be tough with no thumbs.”

“Just let me at ’em,” Wally said.

“I have a better idea,” I said. “Let’s check out what those guys are doing over there.”

They were making and selling kettle corn.

“Mmm, that’s the good stuff,” Wally said. “I’ll take two large bags.”

“Make that one small bag,” I said.

Wally’s ears suddenly stood up and he looked toward the covered dance floor on the west side of the grounds. Lo and behold, Smokey the Bear was dancing with a group of children to kids’ music blaring over the sound system.

“What is that big thing and why is it pretending to look like a ranger?” Wally said.

“That’s Smokey, the Forest Service’s mascot,” I said. “He goes around visiting kids to raise awareness of fire prevention and stuff like that.”

“I hope he doesn’t trip and fall on top of one of those little girls,” Wally said. “That would be pancake city.”

“I’m sure he’ll be careful,” I said. “At least, I hope so.”

As we continued enjoying the festival and the perfect fall weather, we stopped at lots of booths with a wide variety of fascinating things to see. Wally especially liked the old-fashioned works and demonstrations, like the “rug twining” being done by a woman from Birch Tree.

“You know, twining is a term also used to describe a basket weaving technique used for thousands of years,” Wally said. “Nobody really knows how long baskets have been being twined, but the oldest known baskets made that way were discovered in Egypt and have been dated to between 10,000 and 12,000 years old. That’s earlier than any archeological finds of pottery.”

“Wow, boy, your knowledge of history never ceases to amaze me,” I said.

“I’m just sayin’,” Wally said.

Wally also liked the wooden pots and bowls fabricated by a Houston man and the “chair caning” being done by a woman from Koshkonong.

“Koshkonong?” Wally said. “Sounds like some kind of nasal condition or candy bar.”

Before we left, Wally got aboard a Raymondville Fire Department pumper truck that was parked in plain sight for anyone interested to view.

“There’s a house fire in town!” he said. “Let’s roll!”

“I don’t think so, big man,” I said.

“An outbuilding in Oscar ablaze?” Wally said.

“Not that I’m aware of,” I said.

“A stogie smoldering in Summersville?” he said.

“We probably won’t be responding to any fires today, boy,” I said. “I think the real firefighters might just be better equipped, anyway. Besides, how are you gonna – ”

“I know, I know – no thumbs,” Wally said.

As the four of us loaded back into the truck to head out, it was easy to tell that Wally was tired, but satisfied.

“All that old-timey stuff kind of reminded me of my two all-time favorite TV shows – the Wallytons and Little Dog House in the Back Yard,” he said.

“I know what you mean, chief,” I said. “I know what you mean.”

Doug Davison is a writer, photographer and newsroom assistant for the Houston Herald. Wally is a Cardigan Welsh Corgi – Wirehaired Fox Terrier mix. Email Wally at ddavison@houstonherald.com.

Wally and his sidekick Doug Davison sit with Tyrone resident Don Rutherford at the fron of a stage coach at last Saturday's Festival of Yesteryear in Raymondville. Rutherford and his team of draft horses provIded free rides to attendees of the event.

Wally and his sidekick Doug Davison sit with Tyrone resident Don Rutherford at the front of a stagecoach at last Saturday’s Festival of Yesteryear in Raymondville, Missouri. Rutherford and his team of draft horses provided free rides to attendees of the event.

With his sidekick Doug Davison behind him, Wally prepares to drive a 1950 Ferguson 40 tractor during last Saturday's Festival of Yesteryear in Raymondville. Cabool's Ozarks Older Iron Club had numerous vintage farm vehicles on display at the event.

With his sidekick Doug Davison behind him, Wally prepares to drive a 1950 Ferguson 40 tractor during last Saturday’s Festival of Yesteryear in Raymondville. Cabool’s Ozarks Older Iron Club had numerous vintage farm vehicles on display at the event.

Wally and his sidekick Doug Davison take a break during last Saturday's Festival of Yesteryear in Raymondville.

Wally and his sidekick Doug Davison take a break during last Saturday’s Festival of Yesteryear in Raymondville.

Wally and his sidekick Doug Davison hang out on a Raymondville Fire Department pumper truck.

Wally and his sidekick Doug Davison hang out on a Raymondville Fire Department pumper truck.

 

The time has come to announce the existence of my new business partner.

His name is Wally. He’s a former “shelter dog,” because I got him from The Animal Shelter of Texas County – which gives him something in common with his predecessor Jamie, who came from a shelter in Oceanside, Calif.

Together, Wally and me will soon be teaming up for a column series called “Welcome to Wally’s World,” in which he travels, learns and experiences life, and shares his opinions, feelings and knowledge. My role as his sidekick will be to record his wanderings and wonderings in sentences and photographs (and keep him in line as much as possible).

And for what it’s worth, Wally knows he’s in no way a replacement for Jamie; he’ll simply pick up where the Big Lug left off earlier this year.

Doug Davison

Doug Davison

Anyway, Wally’s an unusual mutt, which of course makes him well suited for his role. He’s a cross between a Cardigan Welsh Corgi and Wire Fox Terrier (a.k.a. wire-haired Terrier), so I like to say he’s either a “Corgified Terrier” or a Terrified Corgi” (I guess it depends on your viewpoint).

Only a little over a year old, Wally kind of looks like the work of a mad scientist. He has many classic Corgi characteristics, like a long-and-low body, big ears (that are usually vertically positioned and can move in every direction like periscopes or weathervanes), and a stub at the end of his end that makes his whole rear move when it wags. But he also has unmistakable Terrier attributes, like coarse, wiry fur from head to toe, a bit of a beard and massive eyebrows.

Put all of his physical qualities together, add a perpetual series of silly (almost smiley) facial expressions and a generous helping of energy, and it’s basically like having a cartoon for a pet.

But a good ol’ funny cartoon, like Yogi Bear or The Flintstones.

From the moment Wally set foot on the front lawn of the remote Texas County high country outpost where my wife Wendy and I live, he got along fine with the other canine member of the family, our young female Pembroke Welsh Corgi named Gertie (the Permapup). Thankfully, Wally also got along well with the rest of the veritable zoo-full of various species of mammals and birds that hang out at our place. Perhaps most importantly, he passed the test of not being a chicken chaser with flying colors. In fact, our little English Porcelain banty hen, Slippie, took an immediate liking to the hairy newcomer and literally followed him around as he explored and sniffed every inch of his new surroundings.

I’m pretty sure she couldn’t believe there was such a thing as a living, breathing Brillo pad. To some extent, I agree with her; it’s like we have a giant piece of steel wool or one of those big, rotating car wash brushes for a dog.

We’ve had Wally about three weeks now, and in that relatively short time he has already proven to have tons of personality and numerous talents – both Corgish and Terrish.

For example, he came to us already possessing the knack of catching food tossed his way (which is totally a must for dogs living in our abode). Yep, Wally can – with the best of them – snatch a piece of cheese out of mid-air, snag a chip just before it touches terra firma or clamp down on a piece of bacon as it sails near his head. And the delivery doesn’t matter – you can launch goodies toward him from above, sidearm or backhand and his snout will make the grab.

To go with his good looks, Wally has an extremely diverse vocabulary, highlighted by a big, deep (and loud) bark. But he also speaks fluent Corgish, and makes cool, soft sounds to match different circumstances that resemble mini-howls and even words (like woowoo-ooo, wow-mower-mow and more-now-wow).

Wally is also a master of doing figure-eights on the kitchen floor and lays down perfect sets when he’s about to be fed, or – oddly enough – when me and Wendy are hugging. I’m sure he knows why he does it, and maybe he’ll share that some day.

This myriad of actions and sounds has already earned Wally many nicknames. There’s Walter (his you’re-in-trouble full name), Wallington (his formal name, worthy of his royal Corgi heritage), Uncle Hairy (born of his obvious fur-bearing appearance), Ralph (for his, well, I’m not sure), Henry (because he looks way older than he is – nothing personal to all you Hanks out there) and WWW (for World Wide Wally).

In the time I’ve been fortunate enough to spend with him so far, I’ve noticed that Wally loves history and old-timey stuff, is quick to speak and cares little about what others think of what he says, and has a passion for trivial knowledge (sounds a lot like a Pembroke I used to know). I figure that should help as the two of us go out and about in search of adventure and then sit down to document it.

Truthfully, I’m looking forward to what Wally comes up with and I anticipate witnessing plenty of wondrous and wacky moments while sharing his world. I’ll do my best, and God willing, I’ll be able to keep up.

Doug Davison is a writer, photographer and newsroom assistant for the Houston Herald.  Email: ddavison@houstonherald.com.

During his first hour of living at his new home

During his first hour of living at his new home, Wally, right, sits with his new pal, Gertie (the Permapup).

Wally – Corgified Terrier, or Terrified Corgi.

Wally – Corgified Terrier, or Terrified Corgi.

Wally chills at his new home at a remote Texas County high country outpost.

Wally chills at his new home at a remote Texas County high country outpost near Houston, Mo.

Wally.

Wally.

 

Wally's World