Sunday, November 29, 2009

That's What I Call a Hero!

Kentucky Greetings, WoodyWatchers! We hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving and are still enjoying leftovers! Our Thanksgiving was terRUFFic! We kept the road hot, saw lots of cousins, had our cheeks pinched and heard how cute we were more times than we could count! And of course, we ate! Our favorite part of the meal is the gravy. (The candied yams are hard to beat!) The great thing about the gravy is that Mom will let us put a little over our dry dog food to add some flavor. Chloe is convinced that gravy is her beauty secret. She claims it keeps her coat healthy and shiny looking. She has looked stunning this week!

We started our Thanksgiving week off with the best treat ever! We drove to Hopkinsville, KY to meet our friend Austin. Austin has been following the Woody stories in The Kentucky New Era. In fact, he knew tons of information about us! He even knew that Mom had a pet squirrel named Sammy when she was growing up! Anyway, Austin had asked if we were ever in the area if we could come see him. Austin, his family, and his teacher welcomed us into their home. It felt like Christmas! They had baked delicious treats for us, had gifts for all of us, and even made us a poster! Austin asked me several questions about our latest story, Dog Gone Wild. He even wanted me to play the harmonica for him. Since I have been practicing my Christmas music, I asked Mom if I could play some holiday tunes for Austin and his family. I hate to brag, but I do play a pretty mean rendition of The Twelve Days of Christmas. Mom said it would take too long. She was right. Besides, I wanted to learn more about Austin. Here's what I learned:

Austin is 13 years old. He lives in Hopkinsville. He loves his family, his church, animals, and sports! He's a Wildcat Fan! (See his shirt!) He also loves the Tennessee Titans and the Nashville Predators. The Predators are a hockey team. We don't know too much about hockey so Austin gave us the low-down. He should know since he has even been in the Predator's locker room!

In addition to all that, Austin could be on Broadway! He loves to dress up in constumes. In fact, he has a list of about 30 different costumes he likes to wear. I asked if he had a wiener dog costume. He didn't but was hoping to run across one. I told him we would keep our eyes open!

Austin is very much like any other 13 year old guy. He is funny, smart, and likes all the things that we all like - yet there is something extra special about Austin. At 13 years old, Austin has already had surgery 29 times! He has had 3 open heart surgeries, 25 heart catheterizations, and even has a pacemaker. We weren't familiar with all those procedures so Austin explained them. He said a heart catheterization, or heart cath as it is called, is a procedure where the doctor inserts a small plastic tube into a vessel of the heart to see how the heart is working. A pacemaker is a device that helps the heart beat regularly. Austin, being the entertaining guy he is, pulled up his UK shirt and said, "Look! I have a zipper in my chest!" He had undergone so many procedures that it looked as if he had been unzipped and zipped back up lots of times. We learned so much about Austin that day, but here is what was totally impressive. He never complained. Not once. He never said, "I wish..." or "I hate..." or "This stinks..." He didn't complain that because of his heart issues he has a teacher who comes to his house. (He said it had some advantages. If he wanted a longer lunch or recess, he could talk Ms. Andrews into it!) He didn't mind that his love of sports is fairly limited to be a spectator. (He has become an expert arm chair quarterback and hey, how many of us have been in the Predator's locker room?) Austin had a huge bright smile on his face and made us giggle the entire afternoon. He was an inspiration to our entire family and when we left, we felt like Austin was our new brother! Speaking of, Austin had some suggestions on what Chloe and I should do for the next story. He also gave me a little lecture on minding my manners and not wandering off in the rainy wilderness to find my harmonica. I listened and promised I would take his advice.

I also promised we would visit Austin the second week of December when we were back in his area. We may even have some surprises worked up for Austin. (By the way Austin, Mom has worn her MSU cap nearly every day this week, the snackes are delicious, and the poster is being framed.)

When we left, we hugged Austin, promised to return in a few weeks, and thanked him for all the treats. Most of all, we thanked Austin for being our hero and being an inspiration to us all! Stay tuned as we blog about our next visit with Austin in several weeks. I also have lots of other news and stories to tell you about so visit us here often!

I better go! I want to practice my harmonica before bed. I practiced last night before bed and Chloe said she dreamed about pipers piping, french hens, and turtle doves all night!

Have a great night! Enjoy the rest of your gravy and Work and Dream like a BIG DOG!