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 Harper, Hupp, Defense lead Lady Devils to fourth consecutive sectional championship West Union Elementary recognizes Students of the Month for January Second Healthy Hero awarded by Adams County Health and Wellness Coalition Coal company files to intervene in power plant closings Senior Profile: Jessica Sowards Senior Profile: Dennis Welch Dorothy E Walls Mabel Chamblin Michael R Jones Marie I Simmons Ray Johnson One thing to remember this President’s Day Adams County Deer Harvest down over 21% MLSD amends five-year budget, prepares for future with power plant closings Lady Dragons triumph in sectional opener Lady Hounds eighth graders capture SHAC Tournament title Gary L Fetters Sr Boys Sectional brackets released ‘We’re only as good as the way we treat others’ Another round of smiles Adams County Board of DD members recognized Terry L Unger 8th Grade Lady Devils ousted in tourney semis WU’s McCarty signs with Ohio Christian Joyce A Huddleson Carolyn Spires BREAKING NEWS: Peebles police search for man accused of selling marijuana-laced sweets Decision Time BBN Senior Profile: Summer Grundy Lady Devils fall to Southeastern, 56-48 Devils outlast Manchester 47-44 in double overtime Peebles holds second Hall of Fame Ceremony Senior Profile: Patrick England Sowards hits 1,000, ties PHS three-point mark County agencies prepare for sweeping budget cuts Manchester Council votes to cut police chief’s hours Wrestling debuts in Adams County Peebles Library hosts book signing As plants power down, community must step up Raymond P Dryden Alva Palmer Billie L Shoemaker Judith Long Brent A Arn Girls basketball sectional pairings announced WU’s Weeks will continue gridiron career at next level West Union JH Boys drop pair at Ripley Eighth Grade Lady Hounds roll into SHAC semi-finals Janet A Kennedy DP&L moving ahead with plans to close power plants Outreach Center in Peebles is a hub of giving River Sweep contest winners announced Gordley hits 1,000 mark, but Indians drop crucial SHAC contest to Lynchburg Manchester lifters compete at Piketon Senior Profile: Madelyn Sanders Charles L Hurd Randy Casto Bobby Strunk Dorothy J Scott Chester A Lanter Coach David Smalley picks up 500th career win at Rio Grande Dustin Holbrook Senior Profile: Camron Gordley As usual, optimism abounds on 2017 Reds Caravan Breeze, Beasley newest members of NAHS Athletic HOF Two humble men Adams County Manor Home Health Care makes road to recovery easier Don and Venita Bowles named as Outstanding Fair Supporters ‘Tip off For Tammy’ is a huge success, joint effort by two schools Husted campaign makes stop in Peebles Benefit held for double-lung transplant recipient I loved that muddy water, building in the creek Margaret E Broughton Larry A Hanson DP&L press release confirms closing of power plants Eighth grade girls showdown lives up to hype, North Adams wins in overtime, 45-43 Senior Profile: Raeanna Stamm North Adams Football sign-ups coming soon North Adams JV girls go 11-4 with win over Peebles Harper wins MaxPreps/JJHuddle Athlete of the Week West Union duo headed to the college gridiron Lady Devils make it 11 straight with win at Peebles Adams County residents attend Trump Inauguration A Look back at our Archives Peebles native comes home to film documentary Ohio Valley Wrestling Cub hosting home match on Jan. 31 Ruth A Branscome Velma Hughes Carol L Lewis Betty L Greiner Devils top New Boston 63-53 in finale of Coach Young Classic Lady Devils rout Eastern Pike in Young Classic

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