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Hello Hillsboro: Our dogs worst friend is thunder!
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What bothers you the most about a rain storm? Or, are you the kind of person that will gaze out a window for hours, appreciating and almost counting every drop.

In recent months, that latter group has included a lot of area farmers.

A sudden April shower can indeed be a thing of beauty and a reminder that many of  God’s gifts not only can come as a sudden surprise but also are key ingredients of what makes our world both special and mysterious.

But, in our house, even needed rain is a bad word because of what it brings with it too often...thunder, loud scary cracks of thunder that our little Cairn Terrier, Socks, considers nothing less than a first-class nightmare, whether she’s asleep or not.

She’s not very happy with the rolling, rumbling ones either.

In fact, she’s anti-noise of any kind, including car backfires, motorcycles, fireworks, and distant gun shots, which fortunately are a problem only during hunting season. In fact, she is so frightened of gunshots, it makes us wonder if her genetic makeup could include a few deer genes from way back!

We’ve even purchased one of those “thunder vests” that you see advertised on TV. Socks wears it during storms, but seems to consider it only a nice addition to her wardrobe!

Years ago back in Chicago, a reporter friend of mine raised and trained pure-bred beagles to assist rabbit hunters. He lived on a farm south of the city and made a good piece of change with his hobby.

Upon hearing that we were in the market for a dog, he offered us a lovable beagle who, unfortunately, failed the hunting course because he was gun shy. His name was Amos, and yes, he even had a brother named Andy!

Joe explained to me that Amos was a wonderful, loving young dog, but actually  only good for one thing in life....laying next to a fireplace in a Norman Rockwell painting!

He was exactly what we were looking for and we got him for 25 bucks. Joe was accurate in his assessment, although Amos spent more time under the bed, especially on the Fourth of July, than he did in front of the fireplace.

However, he loved to go on hikes in Northern Wisconsin and could always find his way back to our cabin simply by putting his marvelous nose to work.

What he lacked in hunting skills, he made up for in a bundle of amusing tricks, and never lost his unconditional love for just about everyone during his remarkable 16 years with us.

Looking back, his lack of interest in rabbits was always a non- factor to us. I never told Joe, but if his former dog carried a live rabbit back to me in his mouth, I would have just let it run away again!

Now, when Socks “hides” from the thunder, I think of Amos, and remember that we all have our strengths and weaknesses.

You sure can learn a lot from dogs.


Our sincere condolences go out to the family and many friends of Charlene Darcy, who passed away after a brief battle with cancer.

She will be remembered by several generations of local folks as a friend who truly cared about others and spent much of her time doing something about it.

One of her most cherished interests was her ongoing involvement with H.O.P.E. as a leading supporter and tireless volunteer.

I also think of her as a bright light of cheer whenever I visited Farmers State Bank. Many times, I have sort of stayed back from the teller windows looking “busy” while waiting for her to be ready for a new customer.

No matter what your banking business was, you were sure to get a cheery smile and a warm welcome.

Charlene was always appreciated and will be missed by many.