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Note to self: unless you actually have eyes on the dog it is not a wise idea to just yell around a blind corner, "Bentley! Get out of that!"

Further note to self: this rule particularly applies to a dog in a kitchen.

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Addendum to above notes: always try to be sure that you have not dropped one dry dog kibble into an oversized plasticized shopping bag filled with cans of fruit and veggies that you foolishly left parked under a lightweight kitchen table instead of properly putting them away immediately.

All of which explains why the dog ran backward into the hall with a large bag still attached to him by his head (which he had pushed through the handle) and left the kitchen in a shambles last night at 8:30.

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I can plead a hideous three-week bout with a chest cold for the lackadaisical handling of the bag of cans of fruit and veggies. I can further plead that sheer greed made me purchase a huge amount of things that I will be eating for weeks — I don't know about you, but I sure can't resist mandarin oranges for 15 cents a can. I now own 14 of them, as a matter of fact.

After we had righted the table and picked up all of the things that were scattered hither and yon across the floor we decided that there was a better way to do things and we are now on a clutter conquest that includes a complete kitchen re-organization.

I learned that the reason that I can never find spices is that my house mate puts them in alphabetical order. Who would think of basil coming before cinnamon, I ask you? If you had cinnamon on your mind, why would you even be thinking of basil?

I suppose that we ought to thank the blue dog. Neither of us intends to, or will, but I suppose that we should. As for the dog, he at least hesitates and looks around suspiciously now before barging into the kitchen as to the manor born.

And speaking of dogs in general it brings to mind the thing that I really wanted to talk about before the most recent Blue Dog Debacle which is making sure that all of your farm's animals DO have their rabies inoculations.

This is a particular hobby horse of mine because a very long time ago I spent 18 months living about 200 miles below the Mexican border in a town called Guaymas. It was a great place, the people were wonderful but every late summer the animals that had contracted rabies would come down out of the mountains displaying either dumb or furious rabies as we called it back then.

The only thing that could be done was to shoot those animals displaying the symptoms. We didn't send off the heads so that the brains could be checked because, in that place and time, there was nowhere to send them to. We burned the carcasses. It was a brutal and self-serving thing to do. Many of the poorest people who lived around us and who had animals then did not inoculate them simply because they could not afford to.

I learned a hard lesson about rabies in that place and time. The disease is no respecter of anything less than a serious inoculation program. Even then if you have a horse that looks like it has been bitten (bat, fox, raccoon, skunk, woodchuck — they are all around us and they are susceptible to the disease) you need to call your vet for a booster shot of the vaccine for your horse and then observe it carefully for forty-five days afterward.

We are constantly encouraged to love all of the creatures of our surrounding world without reservation. I realize that I am being a meanie reminding people that even cute, fuzzy animals can harbor terrible diseases. Take care if one of those cute fuzzies is acting in a very peculiar way.

Fortunately, only about 50 horses are diagnosed with rabies every year in the United States but, if you have horses you will almost for sure have dogs and barn cats. I know that it is a terrible chore to catch those barn cats but they do need to be inoculated, too. Anyone who has ever tried to put a barn cat in a cat carrier understands that they LOOK like they are rabid, but generally they're just awesomely peeved, not actually mad.

If you have ever had to put yourself, or worse yet, your child through that series of rabies vaccine shots you won't need to be reminded ever again about the wisdom of taking the simple step of inoculating your animals to ensure that you don't have to undergo this again.

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