How Bob almost lost one dog, two cats and a chicken

Susan Manzke

I left at 8 a.m. on a Thursday and would return Friday at 3 p.m. Bob would be home in charge of the farm, the house, and our critters.

Arianna, Grandma Susan, and Eli work at UWGB Grandparents’ University Jewelry Making

My 31 hours away was spent with our grandchildren, Eli and Arianna. We were spending our time at Grandparents’ University at University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. The three of us were staying overnight in resident housing. It was quite the adventure.

Our class was Jewelry Making. Students in our group were male and female of all ages—working with little beads, little rings, and wires might sound easy. It took concentration and nimble fingers—all of which failed our trio at times.

Eli made many creations as gifts. He was able to transfer most patterns into keychains. Arianna’s designs often looked better than mine, though she did shed a tear or two when tiny jump rings wouldn’t connect—I helped her but my arthritic fingers often struggled with those buggers, too.

Arianna working hard with jump rings.

We had a delightful time, meeting up with old friends, and making new ones. In the end, we brought home earrings, bracelets, and keychains to share and showoff.

It wasn’t until our return home that I found out Bob’s days had been filled with activity, too. Not with grandchildren, but with pets. Here’s what I gleaned from his retelling.

At 10 a.m. Bob decided to chop ragweed in the soybean field.

“I came into the house to get my hat,” said Bob. “As I was heading back outside, the dog slipped by me. I hadn’t closed the gate and he was gone. (Our much loved pooch runs after anything that moves outside and when Sunny is excited he doesn’t come when called.)

“I had the cart right next to the back door so I jumped in to see where Sunny went. I followed the dog around the yard. He went around the buildings three times and then I called him and he ran and jumped on the seat next to me. Great, I thought.

“I drove up to the house with him and then noticed I had left the house door open and both housecats were escaping. I hurried to close the door, but I didn’t have the leash with for the dog and Sunny ran away again.

“This time I took the leash and went after him.

Sunny and Bob go for a ride, looking for deer.

“He continued to run around the buildings and then he ran into the barn. I thought I had him. I tried to lock the door to catch him but I couldn’t move the door because it had been knocked off the guide after I plowed snow this winter so I couldn’t close it. Sunny ran past me.

“I continued to follow him around the buildings. He went by the pine trees. A robin flew under the trees and Sunny went beneath the low branches as far as he could get. He then backed out and collapsed on the ground. I got the leash on him but he wouldn’t move so I just let him lay there and recover. Eventually, he got up and got into the cart with me.

“I drove close to the house, in the shade. Sunny stumbled from the cart and lay on the ground. I got him some water. He didn’t drink at first. He just lay there but after a few minutes he drank.

“I tried to get him into the house where it was cool but Sunny still wouldn’t move. So I let him rest. I went in to get myself a drink of water. When I came back the chick with the bad leg was crossing close behind Sunny. Luckily Sunny didn’t see him.

“Eventually, Sunny slowly walked to the house. Two hours had passed. It was time for lunch and I didn’t get any weeds cut, but at least the dog, the cats, and the chick had survived. So I guess I did okay.”

I listened to Bob’s account with open mouth and thought that I’d best not go on any extended trips without him.

FYI: Send a summer Christmas/holiday greeting to us (enclosing a loose postage stamp for a return greeting). You’ll then be entered in my new book give-away. The winner will receive a copy of The Growing Years 1988-1989—drawing is the end of August.

Susan Manzke, Sunnybook Farm, N8646 Miller Rd, Seymour, WI 54165;