Farewell, My Friends
By Kim L. Fritzemeier
KFRM Central Kansas Reporter
Farm Wife along the Stafford/Reno County Line
Ralph and Millie were gone when we got back from South Carolina. For the first few days, I kept thinking they would just show back up some morning, bounding with energy and ready to go on our daily walk. But as days passed, we faced the facts. Ralph and Millie weren’t coming back. The next hard part was telling Brent. We waited until after he was done with finals.
Ralph was Brent’s dog. Before he left for college, he made me promise that I would pet Ralph and talk to him every day. It became part of my daily walking routine. In the beginning, Ralph always went with me. As the years passed, sometimes Ralph would wait at the back steps while I did the walking. But he was always ready for our little talk, whether he did the workout or not.
Brent & Ralph - 2006 - before Brent left for K-State
We got Ralph at the Stafford County Fair one year. Our neighbor brought a pen of puppies to the fairgrounds. The “Free Puppies” sign was more popular among the 4-Hers than the concession stand. Brent begged to bring one home. And we did. We told Sharilyn that she wouldn’t have had to drag all the puppies 11 miles to town. She could have dropped one off 1 mile north since that's where he ended up.
Our other dog, Mindy, taught Ralph all about life on the County Line. As Ralph’s muzzle turned more gray than black, we thought it was time for Ralph to be the dog equivalent to Yoda. He could teach a new puppy about barking to alert us to visitors. He could demonstrate the importance of staying around home. He could let a new dog know that cattle weren't to be chased. So we brought Millie home in June.
Jake cared for the dogs and cats while we were gone to South Carolina. He last saw them on Sunday, November 27, the day before we came home on the 28th.
(That's me at age 5 1/2)
As the kids were growing up, we've had six dogs. They met the same fate as dogs from my youth. It's part of the cycle of life on the farm, I suppose.
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