Hello all! This first post will be in honor of the hound of "The Honeybee and the Hound."
It is May of 2010 and I am driving from Waco, Texas to Carmichaels, Pennsylvania. Smokey the hound was lying in a ditch in the median of the interstate in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee: He was just a puppy, only four or five months old. My best guess was that Smokey was bred to be a hunting dog and after the first few training sessions, it was discovered that he was not cut out for it. Apparently he either did not have a sniffer good enough to get him back home, or his breeder cut him loose. When I first saw him he darted across three lanes of traffic, right under the wheels of a tractor trailer truck, and got thrown into the median. I immediately pulled over when I realized that nobody else was going to stop. His face looked like ground beef and his front leg was surely broken. I needed to get him to a vet ASAP! Did I mention that it was 8:30pm on a Friday night?
We were lucky to find a vet who had an office at his home who was willing to see us. The doctor was kind enough to give us a free exam and fix up if I was willing to give this dog a home. I had just finished my freshman year at Baylor University and was unsure if I would be living in the dorms next year or not - I guess this fate of meeting Smokey decided that for me. I said yes without any hesitation -Smokey got all patched up and we were back on the road together to drive home to the family farm in Southwestern Pennsylvania.
The next six months was dedicated to Smokey getting mended and the bond between us became so strong that he was declared my best friend. Suddenly, I did not know how I would ever live without him by my side! Every Wednesday afternoon was dedicated to hiking (off leash - what fun!!) in Cameron Park followed by us sharing an ice cream cone. It was our thing. And it made us so happy! On one particular hike, Smokey went rogue and decided to take himself for a swim in the Brazos! Oh, that moment brought me so much joy. Seeing him happy made me happy and that was all there was to it. After we got home, Smokey went straight to the bath tub knowing full well he needed a scrub down. During this bath I discovered a red, raised lump on his stomach. I told myself it was a million things from a bug bite to just a scratch from his playing at the park. Two weeks later it had grown even bigger. I took Smokey to the vet and the news was not good - it was a mast cell tumor that needed to be removed immediately. Smokey's surgery went without any issue - he lost twenty-two square inches of skin! This hound with joules and rolls suddenly had an instant tummy tuck! Back to mending him I went... This time, with the vet's warning of needing a very healthy diet as apparently hounds are predisposed to getting mast cell tumors. I went straight to the book store and bought a book on healthy dog foods. Smokey is now fed a home-made healthy meatloaf for breakfast every single day.
Fast forward to Smokey and I graduating from Baylor in May of 2013 - what an accomplishment! I can honestly say that college would have been a real struggle without having a four legged best friend to keep me company through the good times and through finals! I was also a Division 1 athlete on the varsity equestrian team at Baylor which kept me just as busy as my classes did. Smokey was the best roommate to have because his extremely laid back personality allowed for my schedule to change often. He did not mind if dinner was late or if he did not get as long of a walk that afternoon - he was so content to sleep all day - I mean ALL DAY! Smokey was quite famous around the Baylor campus as well. My parents joked that when they would come to visit, more people knew his name than mine - as funny as it is -- it was true! How could you not love a semi-narcoleptic hound dog?
After graduating from Baylor, Smokey and I moved to Naples, Florida to do an internship at the Naples Botanical Garden. We were there for the summer enjoying the wildlife, the beautiful weather and the beaches. It was a different schedule for us to adjust from me coming home in between classes to hang out with him to me being gone all day (having a "real" job,) but we managed to adjust quickly. When I was not at the garden, Smokey and I were discovering our new town together.Hiking behind our house
Then the hard part came along - I moved to London, England to do an internship at Kew, Royal Botanical Gardens. I debated for so long if I should bring Smokey with me or not. Technically, I could make the trip without him being quarantined (if everything went without a hitch), but quarantine would mean weeks or even months of him being detained - so all in all the risk was not worth it. Also because finding a flat to rent for a few months that would not mind a dog turned out to also be a challenge. So for the next four months the hound lived at Blomster Field Farm, the family farm in Pennsylvania,. My Mom made it possible for me to Skype with Smokey almost weekly - I could see that he was very happy to be running freely on almost two hundred acres of land. But I sure did miss my hound.
Upon my return to the states, back to Florida we moved! We were living the dream! I met the man of my dreams and we got engaged at the end of the year. Then, a few months later, his job as a Coast Guard aviator had us relocating to Corpus Christi, Texas. We bought our first house with a big, beautiful backyard (for gardening!!!) and we got married at the end of the next summer on Labor Day weekend at my family farm in PA. Smokey walked down the aisle with the ring-bearers and stood (Who am I kidding? He slept...) next to the best man for the ceremony and my childhood horse walked down the aisle with my bridesmaids and equestrian teammates. Life could not get much better!
So our lives are starting in South Texas. With Smokey by my side (as always) we are going to start our cut flower farm! Please join us as we start this adventure!
I wrote this blog January 1, 2016 on a different platform which is why I am re-sharing it now. SO MUCH has happened since this first blog and I am so looking forward to catching you up with all of the news since then through each blog post hereafter.