#NationalPetDay February 20

I started the Coach4aday blog in 2014 and have done daily posts on one topic for each year. In 2014 my daily posts were on the “Beer of the Day”, 2015 it was “A Friend of a Friend”, 2016 I wrote about “North Carolina”, and in 2017 it was “Colleges and Universities”.

The one consistent piece of feedback I have received with this blog is the 2015 series on “A Friend of a Friend”. Readers and blog followers said please bring it back. The stats also back that up with the number of views each of those posts received.

So in 2018 two things will happen with the Coach4aday blog; One I plan to collaborate with a friend named John Rancke and revisit some of those 2015 “A Friend of a Friend” posts and do some new ones with a slightly different twist. I write the posts on odd numbered days each month and John handles the even numbered days.

In addition John and I will write about things we both are interested which will include basketball, food, people, music, our granddaughters, and great stories.

If you want to follow the blog via email go to the bottom right of the post and click the follow button.

My twitter handle is @coach4aday2 if you want to follow the blog that way.

John’s twitter handle is @JohnRancke if you want to reach out to him.

February 20, 2018 Love Your Pet Day

Post by John Rancke

“On February 20th, pet lovers everywhere observe National Love Your Pet Day. This holiday is a day set aside to give extra attention to and pamper your pets. This is a good day to focus on the special relationship that you have with your pets.

Did you know that most households in the United States have at least one pet? While there are more cats than dogs in the United States, more households have dogs than cats, but not by much. Pets are not limited to the canine and feline categories. There are quite a few who prefer the companionship of birds, reptiles, fish or rats. Whoever your pet companion is, we are sure you will enjoy spending a little extra time with them on National Love Your Pet Day and reap the benefits, as well such as stress relief and lower blood pressure.

Remember Norma Jean and the party at the Ramada Inn in Lumberton. 600 lbs of Duroc pork in a pink tutu, a white feather boa, and rhinestone earrings climbing out of the limo. Norma Jean was a hygienic, basically happy hog who enjoys eating chocolate (especially Godiva), drinking champagne (Korbel Natural), listening to the music of flutist Jean-Pierre Rampal and watching Ronald Reagan on TV. It seems Norma Jean liked President Regan’s voice. She had her own bedroom and sound system in the room. She ate at the table with her owners although she was constantly moving the table around the room bumping it. Sadly Norma Jean dies in 1988 shortly before her 3rd birthday

One of the biggest disappointments in my life was not being invited to Norma Jean’s debutante party. Guess I wasn’t part of the In crowd!


In a recent blog about Roy Rogers, I mentioned his Wonder dog, Bullet. I also referred to Lassie and Rin Tin Tin. All 3 are a part of Americana. Hero dogs alongside their owners doing good things. All pets and especially dogs are a very important part of the American family unit.

I have always said that every child needs a dog growing up. Confide in him and he won’t give away your secrets, tell him you are upset and he will lay his head in your lap and look up at you and understand. He won’t chastise you, call you stupid, or ask for anything from you. He will just love you unconditionally.

Those of you that have cats I am sure you can tell us about their good points. The only cat I ever had bit me, so I am not familiar with their good qualities. But they do offer companionship and shed. I understand they can be demanding, but that’s OK. I’ve been called demanding at times and I still smile at myself in the mirror each morning.

My first dog when I was a baby was a black cocker named Buddy. Then I had a collie named Tex after Disney character Texas John Slaughter. Then came Choo Choo named for Charlie “Choo Choo” Justice, then Choo Choo’s son Bengie. These 2 cockers both lived to be 15 plus years and were my Father’s companions for years. Bengie would go to the tennis courts at Tanglewood school and collect tennis balls and bring them home so he and my father could play fetch in the den. Bengie would sit for hours on his hind legs staring at the tennis balls on the mantle when my dad was tired of throwing the balls for Bengie to chase.

After Bengie and Choo Choo died, my parents swore they would not get another dog but Pam and I brought home a tiny black cocker we found outside Zebulon one year and they fell in love again. They named him Champ. Many years later Champ passed away and he was cremated. After my Mother passed away in 2014 I was cleaning out the house and stumbled on a small box that I quickly realized were Champ’s ashes. I went straight to Meadowbrook Cemetary and scattered those ashes on my fathers grave and placed a tennis ball there as well. Playtime again!!!

I had given my parents a small concrete figurine of a cocker and it sat in their yard for years. I knew I wasn’t leaving it for the new owners and it also belonged at Meadowbrook with my parents.

I realize the role those cockers played in my parent’s life. Raising 3 kids that all go off to college around the same time, can leave a quietness in the house. Choo Choo, Bengie, and Champ filled that quietness and gave my parents company without asking for anything in return. The house was full of life and gave them company at night as they unwound from the daily grind.

So while the cockers ruled the house on 33rd street, Pam and I had Brandy, a miniature dachshund, Ashley, a light golden cocker (one of Bengie’s many offspring around Eastern NC), and CoCo, a brown lab we found under our house in Zebulon one Sunday afternoon.

We found the owners of the 4 week old puppy and 2 weeks later she was ours. As we aged and Lindsay was born we lost Ashley, Brandy, and Coco to be replaced by a small Shih Tzu named Bandit. After Bandit came the only dog that never fit into our family. Kenan (named for the stadium in Chapel Hill). We nicknamed him “The Barbarian”. I called him the “Dog from Hell”. Another Shih Tzu that one day got out the back door on 26th street in Lumberton and never returned.

Then came Katy, a black lab that loved visiting the hospital Emergency Room. She would wander over behind the house and do her housecalls on all the patients. The ER people knew her and where she lived and would call and I would go retrieve her. I have a feeling she was channeling the spirit of Dr Doug Clark, longtime surgeon in Lumberton and across the street neighbor. When Dr Clark became unable to walk up our driveway and take the shortcut to the hospital, I think Katy was trying to fill his shoes.

We move to Wilmington and due to living conditions we left Katy running free on a farm around Orrum with ponds for afternoon swims and a great older couple that had lost their long time lab to old age. Katy lived the life of luxury with this couple until she passed around the age of 15.

Living conditions in Wilmington meant a small dog named Mac (named for Bob MacAdoo) entered our life in 2002. Half Bichon and half Poodle and so loved by the family and such a great companion that we decided to add his half sister to our family. Carly came in and took over the house. Mac let her rule and was her protector. Carly was supposed to be Lindsay’s dog at the lake but after a week we knew Carly was destined to stay with Mac for the task ahead for them was daunting. So Lindsay got Eddie, a Maltese-Poodle mix. I call him cousin Eddie because the first time Lindsay brings her dog and his dog crate and puts it in the middle of the living room floor, I am reminded of National Lampoons Christmas Vacation and Cousin Eddie and his RV in Clarke’s front yard.

14 dogs in my family over the course of 64 years. Stories to be remembered, tears shed, and unconditional love. Amazing companions through good times and sad.

Dogs understand a whole lot more than we give them credit for. I discovered that in April of 2012 when Pam was diagnosed with Cancer. From the day we came home from the Dr’s office, Mac and Carly refused to leave Pam’s side. On the couch at home, on the porch at White lake, they were never more than 3 feet from her. She would get up and walk into the kitchen, they went too. I truly believe they became a part of our family in order to be with Pam in 2012. As the times got worse and Lindsay spent more time at the house she would always bring Cousin Eddie. Cousin Eddie understood what was going on and so the 3 loving dogs surrounded Pam and protected her until the end. Mac, Carly, and Eddie were canine angels.

I made a decision in 2014 to find Mac and Carly a new home. My life was not stable enough to return the love they were giving me. And I found Bill and Carole Cerase on 31st street in the former home of Brad Markam. Bill and Carole agreed to take Mac and Carly into their home and add them to their already large canine family. Mac and Carly had a new home that I knew would love them more than I could at that point in my life. God placed Bill and Carole in my life to allow them to live out their years in total bliss.

Bill Cerase is the Director of the Robeson County Humane Society. He and his people do unbelievable work for those pets less fortunate than others. They are always needing help both hands on and financially. They are located out West 5th street before the airport in the former Lewis Veterinary Clinic.

I got a text from Bill on Saturday January 27 as I was exiting the Carolina vs State basketball game at the Smith Center. State had beaten the Heels and as I sat down on the shuttle bus and read the text, the importance of the game I had just seen disappeared. Mac had just crossed over the bridge 30 minutes before. Dr Locklear had come to Bill and Carol’s house and as they held him, he was taken home. His ashes are in a wooden urn and will stay with Carly until her day comes and then they will both be spread across the waters at White Lake.

Folks, It’s National Love Your Pet Day!

The love you give them will come around to you when you need it most. They know whats going on. They have a 6th sense inside their bodies.

And if you have children or you want to experience real love, Find “Old Yellar’ or “My Dog Skip” and watch it with your kids or alone.

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