The Frog Whisperer

It’s been raining – quite a lot –  but that doesn’t really explain it.

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There was that brief time, back in May, when we were parked right next to a swamp. There, it would have been less surprising. But here, south of Kenedy and a very long way from any water, well, it’s just odd.

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Since the rains started a few days ago, stepping outside at night is like stepping into the 2nd of the 9 plagues. As far as I know, they didn’t have  Tumblebugs Egypt and ours have washed away, but the activity on the green carpet and surrounding area continues.

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We’ve switched from insects to amphibians.

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I like frogs. I try not to step on them on my way to the gate. As soon as I start down the steps, they freeze. I guess they think if they don’t move, I won’t see them.

You can keep your willpower, Frog. I am going home to bake a cake. (The Toad)      ~ Arnold Lobel

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Blah, said Toad. ~ Arnold Lobel

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The cynics among you may think that they’ve come to eat the bugs the lights beckon at night.

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Time’s fun when you’re havin’ flies! ! Kermit

But I have another theory and I’m pretty sure it’s valid. To test it, I cornered a frog. He told me the first part of the story.

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When I sit at the table and turn on the computer, Henry likes to take the window seat. I thought he just liked watching the men and the cows and the trucks and the rig.

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It took some persuasion, but I finally got one of them to come clean.

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This last little guy led me straight to the source.

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I came inside where I found The Frog Whisperer feigning sleep. He’d tried to cover his tracks, but as you can see, he was in a hurry and didn’t do a very thorough job of it.

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Come back and wake me up…..half past May! (the Toad)            ~ Arnold Lobel

Really, I think he’s just being modest about his gift. He’s Henry VIII. He’s too shy be a Cesar, but he does know how to whisper. I’m convinced.

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You Don’t Argue with Henry VIII

If you’re a full-time RVer and especially if you’re a gate guard where you have to be on site 24/7, I recommend a conflict resolution dog. Even big RVs are still close quarters if you can never leave them. Many of you who have stumbled upon Fork, have read the back ground bits on Heidi and me.

The unknown that crops up in the equation from time to time is Henry VIII.

All that I’ve told you about him so far is that he’s afraid of cows.

Henry was named after the rather horrible King Henry VIII by virtue of being my 8th dog, and having a beard. I got him as a reject pup when he was 5 months old. Who knew he would be such a charmer? Upon introduction, complete strangers regularly sing I’m Henry the 8th I am, I am to him!

Henry is a 3 1/2 year old Schoodle (Schnauzer/Poodle mix). I know full-time RV’ers who travel with 2 gigantic Newfoundlands. I’ve also met a couple with 2 St Bernards. I’m not that generous with my personal space.

There are challenges to owning a dog on the road, even a compact one like Henry.

If you’re a full-timer on the move, or if you work with a team that moves every 5-6 weeks, you know that it’s just as hard to find a good groomer as it is to find a good hairstylist.

Today I spent 5 hours driving to a land far, far away to finally get Henry a good Texas-do. He weighed 18lbs this morning. Tonight, he’s down to 17!

After having 7 dogs, each of whom knew I was the Omega, I was determined to be the Alpha with Henry.

Every day we practiced sits and stays and downs. He sailed through Dog Obedience and moved on to the Pet Therapy classes. By 13 months he was a Certified Pet Therapy dog, which means he visits care centers, hospice, hospitals etc…

But what really makes Henry unique is that he’s also a conflict resolution dog. If you have an argument in front of him, he throws up. I know this from first hand experience.

He’s a gentle soul, totally loving without being demanding. Funny and attentive, he’s a skilled interventionist.

If I cry, he adheres himself. I generally quit crying just to get him out my face, literally. Sometimes empathy takes it’s toll.

If I’m worried, he’s concerned, too.

If someone else is upset, his stomach get upset right along with them. If anyone starts to get angry or raise their voice, well… It’s nothing as drastic as Anne Boleyn, but there’s a good chance there will be consequences.

His therapeutic approach isn’t limited to friends and family. There was the day that we were having awning issues and a neighboring camper came over to try to help. The neighbor become agitated and threw a number of strong words at the awning. Henry looked at me, a silent observer, and threw-up his dinner.

That was outside. You can bet there are zero arguments or flung words in this RV. Henry holds fast to the belief that arguing leaves a mess to clean up. It’s never worth the aftermath.

He doesn’t know many tricks other than sit, stay and down, but he knows how to keep the peace. And that’s quite a feat for an 17-pounder.

Living with Henry is like having canine version of Cesar Millan. I live with The People Whisperer. Henry has taught me to be calm/submissive. And although, initially I trained the dog, Henry rehabilitates people.

So if you’re going to be spending a lot of time in an RV and you don’t already have a dog, you might try tossing a few cross words at someone (not the dog, of course) when you if you’re looking for a canine companion. If he throws up, he may be just the ticket!