Future looking grim for county’s coal-fired power plants Lady Hounds grab win number two, downing Augusta 51-35 Greyhounds down North Adams in SHAC action, 61-50 PHS inducts pair of girls’ squads into Athletic Hall of Fame Michael G Rogers Local business donates shotguns to WUPD Senior Profile: Shannon Runyan Reds employees recognize Dr. King’s ‘Spirit of Service’ Saving Adams County’s power plants North Adams High School announces annual Science Fair Winners Board of Developmentally Disabled holds Jan. 11 swearing-in ceremony Peebles Elementary honors December Students of the Month Adams County villages receive Bike Racks and Fix-it Stations College Credit Plus Program available to high school students Wenstrup selected as Chairman of Veterans Affairs Subcommittee on Health 2017 Manchester Homecoming is ‘Super’ Lions put damper on Manchester Homecoming West Union athletes honored by OSSCA Senior Profile: Story Kremin Bickett, Runyan lead Lady Dragons to victory in Manchester Indians improve to 8-3 with Saturday night rout of Portsmouth West Farm Bureau scholarships available to HS seniors Wilbur named to the Wilmington College Dean’s List Opal Van Hoose Ruby Yazell Chris Volk North Adams High School holds annual Homecoming ceremonies Six workers injured in power plant explosion Commissioners hold proclamation ceremony for 4-H Week Senior Profile: Shyanne Tucker Coach Young Classic is Saturday at NAHS Helen Kerr Anna L DeMint The garden that got us through the winter months Virginia L Fricker JV Devils top Northwest 51-34 Senior Profile: Caitlin Young North Adams moves to 7-5 with 16-point Homecoming win over Northwest Held to a higher standard Claudia J Purtee Shaylee E Prewitt Questions still linger in Stuart explosion Richard Holsinger J Ruth Madden Frank E Swayne Robert Bechdolt Sara D Hatfield Barbara Goodwin Jeffrey Frederick Grace E Myers Johnny A Sullender Sr. Senator Joe Uecker sworn-in for second term Wenstrup sworn in for third term in House Ronald L Chochard Patrick P Clift Samuel W Freeland Senior Profile: Casey Mullenix Lady Dragons win ugly, taking Classic consolation game over Manchester, 48-45 Greyhounds roll by West Union to take Classic consolation game, 82-58 History made as Ward takes oath of office Peter A Bennington Tangela R King McDonald’s Classic crowns 2016 champions MVP Arey leads Peebles to McDonald’s Classic title, Indians outlast North Adams 82-76 in double overtime thriller Lady Devils get Classic three-peat, make it 10 of 11, 14 titles for Coach Davis Senior Profile: Raegan Dick Teaching students the power of giving Kids at Children’s Home gifted with shopping spree Marion Liming Dorothy Huff John R Murphy Michael L McAninch Rita Rogers Edward L Combs Ronald W Staggs Mary H Grooms Gladys Wilson Donald Barnhill Monda Van Vorren Deborah Spires Senior Profile: Andre Wolke Indians pull away in second half, get past Manchester 71-58 in Classic semis On home floor, Lady Indians move to Classic title game North Adams handles West Union, Devils move to Classic finals with 68-53 victory Lady Devils roll into Classic championship Beth E Rowley Leatrice Lewis Senior Profile: Justin Aldridge Mary Helterbridle Wanda Huffman PES Performing Arts entertains at Hometown Christmas Adams County Manor sends holiday wishes Peebles Lions Club hosts Christmas breakfast Elusive Elf on a Shelf makes a return visit to PES Santas in blue spread Christmas cheer in a very special way Senior Profile: Aubrey McFarland WUHS holds Hall of Fame induction ceremonies WUHS Academic Team has undefeated season Serving those who served their country From Pearl Harbor to ‘America’s Got Talent’, 93-year-old WWII vet is still going strong

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