Not too many years ago the county came through the preserve that borders our property on two sides and bulldozed a fire break. A couple of years later I was at home, my husband went to Wal Mart. I heard a loud boom like a transformer blowing. I went outside and before I reached the gate something told me to go back and get the cordless phone.
I walked down to the gate to the preserve and as I was walking I could see smoke, then I saw flames rising, I called 911 and told them that there was a fire on the preserve, she told me fire trucks were on the way. I heard two big trucks leaving the preserve from the road next to ours. There are woods between us so I could not see them. I told the 911 operator they were on the wrong road but it was not the fire trucks. It was Florida Power and Light trucks hauling ass after they started the fire.
I called my husband and told him there is a fire behind our house and he was like, well ok. Then I told him I called 911 and he said when he heard that, he left his shopping cart where it was and ran out of Wal Mart. He made it here before the fire trucks got here.
Florida Power and Light were clearing vines from the power poles and hit one of the lines which arced and started the fire. They were nowhere to be seen when the fire trucks arrived. Within minutes there were fields of fire. The fire trucks arrived and kept it from our house but on the preserve it was spreading fast. They called the firebreak vehicle but it broke down on its way here so they had to call another one which was an hour away. By the time they got it under control it had burned over 400 acres. If they would not have come in and built the fire break a couple of years before, I am sure our house would have gone up in flames before the fire trucks got here.
The fire smell stayed for weeks on end, even in the house we could smell it. There was a lot of fat lighter wood on the preserve and it smoldered for a long time, even starting more small fires but they were on top of it.
I was sitting here thinking about all of the pets that we have had. My husband brought home two baby pigeons that were at the fish house and something had gotten their mother. He built a cage and we hand fed them. When they got big enough to fly he let them go but they would not leave our house. They were making a mess with their droppings. We had a friend who lived on an island 15 miles away. She said she would like to have them. We took them to her and told her to keep them caged for a few days. It a few days they showed up back at our house.
My husband would drive sixty miles to get his daughter from her mother and took the pigeons with him. He let them go at a truck stop. I forget if it was one or two weeks but they showed up back at our house. We decided if they wanted to live with us that bad, they could stay. I guess they finally found mates and moved on.
We came home from fishing one day and a miniature collie was at our house, the kids swore he just showed up. He seemed to want to live with us so we kept him. I had called vets and Humane Society and no one reported missing one. He became our dog, since we lived in Sebastian that seemed like a good name.
Our boys loved to fish in the canal by our house and told us there was a big gator in the canal. I went to look and after seeing how big it was I told them not to go near the canal and keep the dog on a leash if they let him out of the house because the dog loved to swim in it. Kids being kids did not listen, they let the dog out without being on the leash and he went straight for the canal. The kids ran after him but the dog was already in the water and they saw the gator get him. This gator was over 12 feet.
When we came home the kids told us what had happened. That night my husband put his johnboat in the canal, we did not have an oar so I used a 2x4 to row with. My husband had his shotgun and a spotlight. We were looking for it but saw a spotlight coming down the canal from the road on the other side and we could hear a police radio. I rowed us to the side they were on and we got the boat against the shore so they could not see us. When they went by I rowed us back home and we pulled the boat out.
My husband called the county gator hunter and the guy said there was not one that big in any of the canals in Sebastian but he would come out in the morning and look. Before he got to our house we had found where the gator crossed the canal. My husband put his hand over the gator's footprint and the footprint was bigger than his hand. We walked back home and waited on the gator hunter. When he showed up, we took him down to the crossing. He took one look and said "that one is a keeper". He said he would be back that night to get it. That side of the canal was filled with water hyacinths and he never found it. Three days later the dog floated up and my husband went out in the canal and got it and buried it by our house.
We came home one day and on our kitchen table was a birdcage with a 12-inch featherless bird in it. There was a note from my sister and her friend, it said, we do not know what this is but we call it Dinner. It turned out to be a baby turkey. They found it by a gas station on US1. Dinner sounded like a good name for it. Dinner quickly outgrew the birdcage so my husband built her a new one.
Dinner loved to play with the kids, they would run and see how far they could jump and she would wait her time in line and do the same but she could leave the ground and go further than them. She would also play king of the hill with them. There was a dry ditch in our back yard, the kids would be down in it and she would be on top. If one of them tried to climb up she would chase them back down.
Dinner loved a red trans am. Every time my friend would come to visit, Dinner would run around to the front yard and stand next to her car with her wings lax by her sides and she would not leave it. For my friend to leave I had to pick Dinner up and carry her to the back yard and put her in her pen. When my friend left I would let Dinner back out and she would run to the front yard. I thought I had her pen pretty secure but one night a bobcat got in it and carried her off. I could see where the bobcat hit the pen in several places until it broke through. We followed the trail of feathers and found where the bobcat ate its fill and covered her with leaves. I wanted to take her home and bury her but my husband said to let her be, she is gone, let the bobcat have her, it could be pregnant or have babies.
The next pet we got was a dog, he was only six weeks old and I am a huge Dr. Who fan so I named him Tardis. He was Siberian Husky and Wolf. We always took him camping with us and I am not sure what happened but he snapped at one of the kids and my husband snatched him away from the kid and he went after my husband. My husband held him to the ground and was telling him how he will not snap at the kids or him. I thought he was going to kill him but he let him up and put him on his rope. He told all of the kids they were not to go around the dog. I think maybe Tardis was tired of camping and just grumpy. Three years after that I sent one of the boys to feed him in the back yard, we had a fenced-in yard. He fed him and later he came running in and said Tardis was bleeding out of his mouth, he said he threw him a stick and he picked it up and started bleeding. He died within minutes, I do not know what happened to him but I do not think the stick had anything to do with it.
My oldest Son had a white cat he named Alabaster and she had kittens, we kept two of them the runt who we called Littleone and an orange cat that we called Orange cat. Orange cat disappeared and I never knew what happened to him. Littleone we had for 21 years, she was a great cat and huntress, she did not weigh 5 pounds soaking wet and she brought home a full-grown rabbit.
Years later a friend gave us a Beagle, I named him Beetle because he reminded me of Beetle Baily. He turned out to be my husband's dog, he went everywhere with him. He took him fishing every day, Beetle rode on the bow of the boat like he was a hood ornament. There was one problem when my husband set his net next to a shoreline, Beetle would jump off and hunt while my husband picked up his net. Then my husband would have to call him and wait when he was ready to move. One day there was a thunderstorm approaching so my husband pulled in close to shore and put his boat under someone's dock. Beetle jumped out, it was pouring rain with thunder and lightning. He tried to find him but Beetle was nowhere. He went back to the boat and waited for the storm to get over. There were several houses so he started knocking on doors and one lady said yes I have him come in he is in my laundry room. All wrapped up in a soft towel with a bowl of food and water. My husband told me "here I was soaked to the bone and he was in a warm house all wrapped up in a towel."
It was the time of year to fish the ocean and I always fished with my husband out there. I was afraid Beetle would fall off of the boat when we were coming in the inlet and wanted a life jacket for him. I went to a thrift store and could not believe that they had one and it was the right size for him. Luckily he never fell off of the boat but I had peace of mind.
Joe told us there was roe mullet on the north beach and asked if we would go with him. Joe would drive the boat and my husband would throw the cast net. we saw the mullet but they were right on the beach. Joe headed in there and the motor went to hitting bottom, he tried to turn but just as he got sideways a wave hit and almost flipped us and he yells throw like nothing was wrong. I had Beetle in my arms and was ready to jump because I thought the boat was going over. Somehow we made it without sinking.
We were night fishing and that is the only time my husband did not take Beetle with him. He was afraid if Beetle fell off of the boat he might not find him before he drowned. He said with those little legs he could not stay up long. Beetle would climb the chainlink fence so I told the kids if he needed to go out to put him on the lead in the front yard, which they did. It was one of the plastic coated wire leads and we did not know the wire had rusted into. So when the kids went to let him back in he was gone. we came home around 1 in the morning and he was gone, one of the kids got up and told us he broke the lead. We drove around looking for him for three hours and finally gave up and went home. I woke at six and he still was not home. I got in my car a drove all over. something told me that I bet he was trying to follow us. So I took the route my husband takes to the dock and 2 miles from the house I found him lying beside the road. I could not pick him up to put him in the truck. All I could do was sit beside him and cry. My husbands sister was out looking for him when she saw me and she offered to put him in the truck but I told her no I would do it. My husband told me he never wanted another dog.
Many years went by then within 5 months we got robbed three times. The last time I told the cops that I guess I will need to put in a security system. He told me not to bother. He said by the time they get the call and get here the thieves will be gone. He told us to get a big dog.
My nephew knew someone who had rottweiler puppies and said he could get one for us. He was so small and looked like a little teddy bear. So I named him Bear. He grew up fast and we never got robbed again. Bear was around 5 years old and he was on the lead in the front yard but he was laying under my big diesel truck that had a camper on it. My husband went to move the truck and felt it raise up and go back down. He came carrying Bear in the house and dropped to his knees and said "I just killed my best buddy". He sat there petting Bear, telling him how sorry he was and Bear stood up and walked to his water bowl and started drinking, he was not hurt. I guess being on sand did something to cushion him. We had Bear 12 years and one day he stopped eating and drinking, he would not get up. He had a bad experience with a vet and even though we took him to a new one he never forgot and hated them all. So I called and told them what was going on and it was time he went on. I asked if they would do it in our truck so we did not make him go in a place he hated and they said they would do it there. we brought him home and dug the hole, my husband looked at me and said he could not do it. I told him to go inside and I would put him in the hole and cover it up.