Deer Gun Season results down all across Ohio Hometown Christmas in Peebles rings in the holiday season Manchester Elementary receives 2016 Momentum Award Drug bust in West Union Stephen C Foster Donna Rivers WUES students perform as part of Honor Choir Ohio Brush Creek Canoe/Kayak access completed Hall of Fame Christmas in Portsmouth Thyme to trim the Christmas Tree Junior High Lady Hounds get season-opening sweep Lady Devils roll past Paint Valley in season opener Senior Profile: Jessica Johnson Michael E Roberts Sr Evelyn L Jones Thomas M Calvert Ryan, Sowards lead Lady Indians to easy win in season opener, 57-36 over Felicity Senior Profile: Wes Hayslip Justice off to hot start at VSU County boys’ squads on display in annual SHAC Preview Night ‘Operation Christmas Child’ collects 1,707 shoe boxes for needy children Two animal cruelty cases investigated in Adams County DP&L considers closing power-generating plants in county Holiday spirit makes an early appearance in Adams County Chester A Mann Jeffrey A Daley Sr Michael G Tincher DAR sponsors Good Citizen Award Ohio’s young hunters harvest nearly 6,000 deer during Youth Gun Season Senior Profile: Kayle Thomas Helen N Hiestand Rev Walter R Egnor Sr Betty Beam Jamie L Corrill Jeffrey L Heppard Edsel L Massey Jr It is time to stop and take time to give thanks on a special day Another year to be very thankful for Senior Profile: Savannah McCoy McCoy signs to continue golf career at SSU North Adams hosts SHAC Girls Preview DAR commemorates 50th anniversary of Vietnam War Historical Society honors veterans Star Wars routine leads Fancy Free Cloggers to ‘America’s Got Talent’ A Day at the Opera Eagle Creek draws community to Thanksgiving celebration Ward ekes out victory over Worley in county commissioner race Mary A Garman Ronald L Palmer Joseph S McClanahan II Emma O Hayslip Devils slip by Georgetown in Foundation Game Hupp, Hunter, Wolke named OSSCA Second Team All-State Senior Profile: Kain Turner Lady Devils romp in Foundation Game Oh, those aromas coming from Mom’s kitchen What Became My Biggest Project Deer gun season set to begin ‘Trees to Textbooks’ shares revenues with local schools and communities BREAKING NEWS Winchester’s Baxter wins Miss Ohio USA 2017 pageant Genny Elkins Pauline S Stevenson Donald E Lewis Sr Charlotte R Seaman Ruth Prater Bennie Skaggs Gertrude Swayne West Union High School hosts impressive Veterans Day ceremonies Peebles Elementary hosts ceremony to honor local veterans Duke Energy exits Killen and Stuart Plants GE Aviation hosts annual Veterans Day celebration Senior Profile: Logan Gordley Jeffrey A Brown Sr Peebles Library welcomes local author and survivor on Nov. 19 Homer C Eldridge Robert W Schomberg One Commissioner race too close to call in unofficial count Voters approve majority of county levies on Tuesday’s election ballot NAES Sixth Graders practice the democratic process Honoring one who gave the ‘last full measure of devotion’ Overcoming adversity, veteran of Iraq War opens local business Senior Profile: Ben Figgins Senior Profile: Macy Mullenix SHAC Basketball Previews are set for Nov. 18 and 25 Trio of local golfers finish careers with trip to the highest level of high school competition Peebles sophomore Jenny Seas finishes sixth in OHSAA state cross-country meet Upset win sends Trump to the White House ACRMC awarded plaque for 50 years of service Peebles Elementary releases Honor Roll for First Nine Week Grading Period BREAKING ELECTION NEWS! Senior Profile: Jordyn Kell Orlie H Kirker Military homecoming at NAES Second half spells doom as Greyhounds fall to Hillcrest 42-12 in finale Senior Profile: Sarah McFarland WU’s Horton will continue golf career at SSU Lady Devils’ season ends in heartbreak with 3-2 loss in District championship battle Christine R. Ritchey
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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