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|> Pooner & LB|
Pooner was born October 12, 1989. She was adopted from Kelly & Penny Mahlberg, Earling. Her Dog-Mom and Dad were Jake & Brandy. She was the runt of the litter and was the only one of 5 to survive. Pooner was the best baseball dog Southwest Iowa has ever seen. She spent the first 8 years of her life in the Earling and many other Southwest Iowa Dugouts, corn and bean fields looking for baseballs. As Ron Novotny said many times on KNOD radio, "There is no bean field too deep, no corn field too wide for Pooner & LB".
LB (short for Larry Bird; registered name French Lick's El-Bee) was born November 11, 1991. He was adopted from Bryce & Carrie Schaben, Defiance. His Dog-Mom and Dad were Zak Jeremiah Johnson and Sadie. LB learned fast from Pooner how to find baseballs and quickly became Dog-Lord over any ball park he entered. He was a funny dog.
The earned their own way, well at least part of it. I have no idea how much money they saved Iowa Western League Ball teams in "recovered baseballs". The Dynamic Duo were actually paid one year. They made their first (and only) $20 shagging balls for the Westphalia Harvest Tournament in Portsmouth one especially rainy summer ('93 maybe). They found and recovered a record 32 balls for Tournament officials, going places the kids refused to visit. Tim Hastert paid them well for their services. For the love of the game - they spent no finer time than their time in baseball.
After their career in baseball ended, they turned into traveling, water-faring dogs. They spent summer vacations at Lake Okoboji with their Mom, Uncle Mark, Grandma, Uncle Tim and other family and friends. They went to New Mexico twice, Arizona and The Grand Canyon. They visited the Painted Desert and the Petrified Forest. They traveled all over Iowa and Nebraska; where I went, for the most part, they went too. They were entertainment for whomever came to visit us. They flat out stole Uncle Roger's heart when he was here. They recently enjoyed meeting the Koobs, Strehle and Wilcox families at Spirit Lake in August (their last big trip).
In the last year or two, both dogs had lost their ability to run and play. Their Uncle Mark continued to take them to the park every day even after they could no longer make the trek around it. They could still get a ball (if you set it on the ground directly in front of them and they watched you do it), but they could no longer run and find them. Pooner's bad leg (she was hit hit by a car when she was 7 trying to find a foul ball in Panama) started to bother her. LB lost most, if not all, of his hearing and some eyesight several years ago. (Actually he may have lost his hearing when Dan Dotzler beaned him in the head with a line drive to 1st base during an Earling Sodbuster practice). The last 6 months they were really starting to suffer...
And so on November 15th, both dogs left their misery behind and went to meet their Grandpa Grimsley in heaven. By now they are cared for by Grandpa and are united forever with Patches LaRue Carlisle, Pokey Booth, Jocko & Tiki Markham, Ernie Grimsley, Peanuts & Oscar Petersen and many other neighborhood and family pets we've lost along the way. They could not be in better hands. (Jocko - be careful what you teach LB, he is vulnerable right now.)
The dogs were loved more than words can describe and they are dearly missed. A part of my heart went with them and it will always be theirs. I know their Uncle Mark feels the same way. Even Grandma misses them. It took a while, but they finally grew on her too.
Thank you to Uncle Mark and Grandma, who were primary care-givers with me and did a lot for them. Thank you Uncle Tim for all the time you took them on your boat. They loved their time on the water, whether it was at Prairie Rose near Harlan or Lake Okoboji! Thank you Aunt Debbie & Aunt Claudia for allowing them to stay in your homes when we visited New Mexico and Arizona. We couldn't have made the trip without your generous hospitality. Thank you Sarah Marie, for all the walks you took them on, for all the time you spent with them when you were together and all the love you showed them. You were very special to them!
Thank you to Dr. Bruce Havick who saved Pooner's life when she was hit by a car one Sunday afternoon years ago.
A special thanks to Dr. Michelle Eckerman and Suzy Schwery from the Harlan Veterinary Clinic who came to my house so the puppies could die where they were happy and comfortable. I will never forget the love and compassion you showed Mom, Mark, me and most especially, the Puppies. Pooner, LB and I can never thank you enough, Ladies!
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