Packer was a beautiful mixed Spaniel breed. He was creamy white with subtle brown splotches and feathered legs. He had a distinctive brown mask, with white between his big brown eyes. His brown ears had wispy hair that blew in the breeze. He was a solid, sturdy and strong dog, just the kind of dog you would expect overseeing a farm.  Packer was my brother’s dog, named after his favorite NFL football team, the Green Bay Packers. My brother lives close by in a small town and Packer stayed on the farm with mother.

Packer was always an outdoor dog. He had the run of the 200-acre farm and neighboring areas, slept and ate in the garage, and hid in the barn. The barn was his safe sanctuary. It was where he ran to with the least threat of a storm, and he would not return to the garage until the storm passed. It was where he hid when the lawn mower crew arrived with the loud noisy equipment.  Although no longer used for livestock or grain, the barn offered lots of nooks and crannies, both in and under the barn. So for almost twelve years, Packer called this his home when he wasn’t hanging out in the garage or chasing rabbits.

I counted on Packer Boy (as I called him) for many things. First of all, when I opened the west patio curtains in the morning, I saw Packer lying in the cool backyard. I tapped on the window, and he turned around and looked at me. I waved to him. In later years, when his hearing diminished, he often did not hear me. By mid morning Packer took his walk around the perimeter of the yard. He inspected trees, paused to gaze around, and continued until he made his way back to the garage. Sometimes during the day, I saw him peeking in the patio window. He liked to stretch out under a pussy willow tree that was in line with the kitchen window. One afternoon this past July, when my mother and I were in the kitchen, we saw Packer sleeping by the tree. I sent thoughts to him, and he all at once rose up and looked toward us. My mother commented that it seemed like he knew we were watching him. I told her he did!

Sometimes, when he returned from his gallivanting, he was covered from head to toe in dirt or mud. A couple days later, he was a nice clean dog. He cleaned himself by rolling around in damp grass. He lay on his back with his feet up in the air and rubbed against the ground. Other times he lay on his stomach and scooted across the grass. I was always amazed how clean he could get. He would not let us wash him down and always ran when he saw a hose—even if we were just filling his water bowl or watering plants. Yet I believe he spent lots of time running through the creek and wallowing around in muddy water. He had several deep holes around the house foundation where he liked to sleep. During the summer of 2007, temperatures reached 100 degrees for days on end. I tried to coax him into the air-conditioned house, to no avail. We tried a wading pool another summer, but he would not get in it.  As the saying goes, you can’t teach an old dog new tricks!

Next Week:  More about Packer

Bountiful Blessings!

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