It is now September 2, the day after both the feastday of Saint Fiacre, patron saint of gardeners, and the first anniversary of this blog. It is also the anniversary of the only day in the last year that I did not post anything. Yes, the second day of the blog was the only day without a post. Early in those first few days, I posted the only article that was irrelevant to horticulture, and an explanation that I would not make a habit of doing so. I wanted to try it just once to see if I could do it like so many others do. It was overrated. Nonetheless, after almost a year since that naughty diversion from my self imposed discriminating standards, I want to try it again. After all, I have not yet posted a horticulturally oriented article on September 2 within the context of this blog, so why start now.

This is Privet. He passed away on December 1, 2004, after about eleven years of devout service since about 1993 or so.
Privet was a feral dog who lived in Thomspson Creek behind a retail nursery in the Evergreen District of San Jose where I worked temporarily in the early 1990s. Late every afternoon, he commuted down Thompson Creek to a neighborhood pet store where food was left out for him. Aster and Yarrow, two angry guard dogs who lived in the nursery, would thrash about on the inside of the enclosing cyclone fence as they tried to get to him, but only damaged the merchandise inside the fence. I would cuss at him and threaten him through the fence. He would just stare at me blankly, and keep a safe distance.
One day, Privet was noticeably absent. He was likewise absent the following day. In fact, I did not see him again until several weeks later when we went to the Humane Society of Santa Clara County to adopt a cat to help with the mice in the office. We happened to go through the wrong door to where the adoptable dogs were. There he was! As usual, I cussed at him and said all sorts of mean things to him . . . .until I noticed that his time was up. I asked someone who worked there what that ominous date on his placard meant, only to be told something too unpleasant to repeat here. They were understaffed, so had not gotten around to it yet. Well, the next thing I knew I had payed the adoption fees, and Privet was sitting defiantly next to me in the Buick as we drove away real fast. We never spoke of it again.

My niece named this cool dude Willow, but we just called him Bill because I was told that Willow is a girly name. He was not planned either. In about 2008, I saw his picture on the website of the Peninsula Humane Society in Burlingame. Without thinking, I drove up and adopted him on the spot. On the way, I telephone a friend who I though would try to talk me out of it. He did not. Those working at the Humane Society asked if I would like to interview other dogs. I told them who I was there for. Bill was a several years old when we met. He became blind and deaf in old age, but was still happy until he passed away on December 4, 2016.

Rhody arrived only a few months later, early in 2017 and in the traditional unplanned manner. I can not imagine why he was available for adoption for several months in Santa Cruz. It was not my idea for him to come live with me. It was his. I could not talk him out of it. He seems to be remarkably happy with his simple lifestyle, although I can not imagine why. I wish I could provide better for him. Like Privet and Bill, he has more friends than he can keep up with. Privet was a Pontiac man. Bill was an Oldsmobile man. So far, Rhody seems to be a simple Chevrolet man.

Blackjack does not live with me. He is not a dog either. He is a big kitty who has enslaved one of my colleagues, although my colleague does not seem to be aware of it. Cats are of course masters of mind control techniques. Blackjack did not get his name from the blackjack oak. It is just a cool name that suits him well. He is not really as demonic as he seems to be in this picture. Nor is he trying to fly upside down. He just happened to yawn while laying on his back and stretching.
Of course, only the names are horticultural. None of these guys cares about gardening. I sort of feel guilty about not writing about a horticultural topic today, but perhaps I will get over it.

34 thoughts on “Dogs

    1. Well, as a garden columnist, I should concentrate on horticultural topics. Yet, I can remember a writing about a few ‘semi-horticultural’ topics that were only remotely related to gardening.


    1. Blackjack has nothing to do with blackjack oaks. It is just a cool name. The colleague with whom Blackjack resides is an arborist, but may have never seen a blackjack oak here in the West. I never saw one until I went to Oklahoma. I happen to like them now. There is nothing here that is comparable.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Although I tend toward the kitty-cats, I have to say each of your dogs is appealing. It’s hard to judge such things from photos, but they seem to have shown different personalities, as well as being proof that small can be quite beautiful, indeed.

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    1. Small dogs have huge attitude. When Privet came to live with me, it took some serious adaptation. The dogs on the farm roamed free, and were sometimes kept outside to keep the house clean. Privet stayed inside, and was too small to be allowed to roam free in a suburban neighborhood.

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  2. We have been adopted by several street cats over the years, though sadly we lost one over the summer. None were planned. There’s one hanging around my husband’s work that might come live with us if he comes around at the right moment. They keep the rats in our neighborhood at bay, don’t seem to be pestered by the occasional fox or raccoon in the yard, and they don’t dig up our garden, so it’s a win-win!

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    1. I did not give them a chance. It just happened that way. They are such dictators! You know, when Bill arrived, I felt badly that we did not have a nice car to drive around in, so I told him that the tired old Blazer was a Bravada, as if riding in an Oldsmobile would make it all right. I figured that since he can not read, he would never know. I think that he DID know, but never said anything about it.

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      1. Sometimes, I wondered if he thought that I could not read the tailgate. He just gave me that stupid look as if he was considering telling me that it was not really an Oldsmobile, but did not want to spoil my fun. It was a mutually beneficial situation.

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      1. My father always said if you want the best dog, get one that was abused or ignored and show it its best life. No need to spend lots of money on a brand-name dog, there are plenty out there who have love to give and want your love. 🙂

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