Manchester grad enjoys a “Super” Experience Taking Adams County patriotism to the state capitol John P Sininger Jo Ann Hayslip Harvey U Schrock Eunice G. Burgess Senior Profile: Kaulen St Michael Cox Racing returns to Brushcreek on April 2 Southern Hills Athletic Conference holds Winter Sports Awards ceremony Adams County provides multiple walking venues Adams County parks are tobacco-free Rhoads Memorial 5K Run/Walk is April 9 Peebles Elem. Staff of the Month Floyd E Maddy Raymond A Holt Derrick Poe Spencer E McFarland Mintie F Rogers Roberta Eylar Big Time Wrestling coming to NAHS Carl Tomlin CTC students help with storm clean-up Opening the door for high-tech jobs Jack R Slyger Thomas Stratton Jr Eastern Lady Warriors headed to Final Four Senior Profile: Logan Rogers Southern Hills Athletic Conference names 2016-17 All-Conference Basketball Teams Winchester PD continues assault on drugs Alonso joins Defender staff Sheriff to set up outpost in Manchester Johnson named OEDA Membership Chairperson Sherman E Young Ruth Jackman ‘Kitten Season’ comes to Ohio Manchester Council votes to disband PD Olde Wayside Inn under new management Two overdose on heroin Senior Profile: Ethan Parrett Adams/Brown Youth League holds postseason tourney Three nights of pain Furious rally falls short, Lady Devils again eliminated in Div. III district finals, 45-42 Oscar Moore Barbara J Finnegan Ohio Senate and House honor Miss Ohio USA Michael Eldridge Frances Towner Thelma R Williamson BREAKING NEWS: Manchester council votes to eliminate police department Before all dogs go to heaven Adaptive Bikes delivered in Adams County Adams County Junior Fair Market Hog Identification plans announced for 2017 Local couple takes ownership of two local businesses Jo Hanson to retire after nearly 50 years in banking Sierra Club, hero or villain? Greyhounds, Devils are runners-up in SHAC Tournaments Harold L Purdin Senior Profile: Jacob Wickerham 98-year old author publishes first book Early March storm packs destructive punch Jeeps rally in second half to end the Peebles season How about some post season awards? Thanks for all the great sports coverage PHS Principal hopes to expand students’ world view When spring becomes a promise Greg Lorenz Clay shoots the lights out, shoots down Greyhounds’ season Senior Profile: Savannah McFarland Devils put up a good fight, but fall to Portsmouth in sectional final, 50-43 Second half comeback sends Lady Devils to district finals for third straight year Butts honored by Southeast District Athletic Board North Adams Elementary holds Random Acts of Kindness Week Chester W Eyre BREAKING NEWS: March makes its entrance with force WUES kicks off Right to Read Week with guest readers WUHS students see Aronoff show on the life of Edgar Allan Poe Local high school seniors winners of Wendy’s Heisman Awards The emotions of a senior year Market Hog Clinic scheduled for March 4 Venture Hawks fall to Scioto County Senior Profile : Colton Thornburg Lady Dragons’ season ends with sectional loss to Lynchburg Devils advance in tourney with convincing win over West Union, will face Portsmouth for sectional title Wenstrup selected as Vice Chairman of House Armed Services Military Personnel Subcommittee Adams County 4-H Shooting Sports to hold fund raiser Linda M Howland Nellie B Hayslip Russell E Bailey Gladys M Perdue Commissioners meet in Columbus with DP&L CEO Tom Raga Missing the Dirtrollers The farms that aren’t forgotten Flora Hilderbran Commissioners to meet with DP&L officials New state graduation requirements called a ‘train wreck’ Catching up with Keller Senior Profile: Justin Knechtly Piketon size is too much for Lady Indians, Peebles falls in sectional finals Greyhounds grab Senior Night win Indians finish regular season riding six-game winning streak

A Great Dane to be alive

She was running toward us, as best as she could.

Her large ears flopped with each hurried step, briefly covering her eyes and obscuring her view, and her oversized paws twice failed to keep her from sliding on the hardwood floors.

The cheerful puppy recovered, unfazed by the betrayal of her own form. After all, there were new friends to meet on the other side of the kitchen, and it was important not to get sidelined by distractions.

As she neared, we could see that her eyes were bright, her disposition friendly. She was full of exuberance and excited to greet us.

My husband, Gary, picked up the 8-week-old puppy, using both hands. She was already 15 pounds. He rubbed his fingers behind her black ears. I was petting the top of that giant head, looking into her eyes, being licked by her, and falling in love.

That was the day we met Bela, our Great Dane.

Great Danes have a life expectancy of six to nine years. Bela is four months shy of turning 12. Each day with our old girl has always been a gift, but more so in these later years as she cheats those statistics.

Each day has certainly been an adventure, too. You can never have a bad day with a dog. You either have a good day or an incredulous day.

As one example of the latter, Gary left the kitchen for a minute once when she was about 9 months old. When he walked back in the room, he noticed that the aluminum foil serving as a makeshift lid for the FryDaddy on the counter had been moved, and that the level of the oil was suspiciously low.

Bela had been sitting very properly on the kitchen floor, patiently watching him try to make sense of our family’s new mystery. Gary then glanced over at her just as her giant tongue was loudly going back into her mouth. To his horror, he quickly realized where the oil had gone.

“Give her lots of water and let it run its course,” the doc advised us during a frantic phone call. That was our first hard lesson in the counter-surfing ability of her breed.

Though we Dane-proofed the house as best as we could — storing casseroles, cakes and cookies on top of the fridge — we couldn’t prevent all nonsense.

Over the years, she’s devoured 5 pounds of raw potatoes, eaten a dozen just-baked lemon muffins, chewed up more than one good pair of dress shoes, inhaled a large bowl of M&Ms (cue another frantic call to the vet), torn my favorite ball cap into bits, and recently ate an entire loaf of bread.

Today, she’s still in wonderful spirits, though arthritis is laying claim to her bones.

I can’t wait to come home each day and see her. Now at 115 pounds, more than three-feet tall and four-feet long (excluding the tail), she still enthusiastically greets me at the door and manages to wrap her body around me. Sometimes, when I look into those happy eyes, I see her excitedly bounding toward me on that first day, and I rub those ears and head and tell her she is the most beautiful dog in the world. I’m still in love with her.

I could write a book about our adventures together, but sharing just a bit about our adored Dane will do for now.

More importantly, I want to hear your stories.

For the first issue of Salt magazine in 2016, pets will be taking center stage, and we want to know the funniest, sweetest or most heart-felt moment you’ve experienced with your beloved animal, whether it’s a cat, dog, horse or rabbit. We also want to see photos of your furry friend.

Email your story and photo to me at labernathy@civitasmedia.com by Dec. 2. Keep the word limit to less than 250. Include your name and the town in which you live. All entries will be considered for publication.

Bela has a way of always needing to take a bathroom break just five minutes before one of our TV programs ends, and we jokingly say, “Here comes ‘Annoying,’” as she makes her way in to see us.

Whatever nicknames, titles or descriptions we give our animals, though, they will always be known to us by the most important one: family.

Lora Abernathy is the editor of Salt magazine, a Civitas Media publication. Reach her at labernathy@civitasmedia.com or on Twitter @AbernathyLora.

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By Lora Abernathy

Contributing Columnist

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2016 People's Defender