Thanks everybody--you're all really sweet. Babs--my dogs mean everything to me. I just can't help it. Nothing infuriates me more than people abandoning kids or dogs. I cannot fathom it. I would defend my dogs with my life and they'd do the same for me. Karen--Otis went to the vet this week for the first time since the cancer tumor was taken. So far so good. But you know how these things go. I am so hoping it's the last we hear about the cancer but I am anything but naive about cancer at this point in my life, having lost virtually all my family to cancer. Here's a story about how fiercely I'll protect my dogs: I was fossil hunting a couple of months ago way out in the country in Dripping Springs. I look for fossils on the side of the road because road crews cut through rock and expose fossils in certain areas--and the areas on the side of the road are public domain--they belong to the state so anybody can hunt on them. This particular day I took Otis, Ellie and Noodle Doodle with me and they were their usual perfectly well behaved selves. You just have to know them. Otis sticks so close to me that I was actually having to move him out the way to see the ground! There are no leash laws out in the country, by the way. Anyhow--I get people all the time who come by and want to know what I'm doing and I totally understand that--and I am always super polite (if you off one person in these country areas they all talk and tell each other). All of the people, once they see I'm a good guy just snooping around for fossils, like me and think what I'm doing is cool and at this point I've been practically adopted by several country families. Well on this one particular day, a jackass showed up in a car. He pulled up and said that the property across the fence was his, and he had goats, and didn't want my dogs chasing his goats. I immediately tried to put him at ease by telling him I'm TOTALLY respectful of peoples' property--and that I would never let my dogs cross the fence, and even told him they were afraid of cows and goats, which is true (recall the video of otis and Ellie running from the cow in that quarry video--they aren't exactly rampaging killing machines). I expected that to be that. He just glared at me and said "They better not get on my F'ing property." I said "I won't--I am totally respectful." I looked down and Noodles, Ellie and Otis were all lined up in a row at my side, wagging their little tails, obviously wanting this guy to pet them. The guy started to drive away and even though I didn't like his attitude I was glad I was polite and didn't get in an argument with him. Well he drove maybe 20 yards away, put his car in reverse and came back. This time he told me "I will shoot those little F'ers." I lost it. You guys probably don't know what I look like but I am a big guy and haven't lost a fight since the 4th grade. I got in that fat slob's face and told him that he could threaten ME all day long but you point a gun at my dogs and we will have a SERIOUS problem! He started to say something obnoxious about having a GUN ON HIM and I just saw red--I was telling him to get outta the car and be a MAN and fight me without his gun--and then I realized something. There was a little kid, no more than six, in his back seat. I could not believe this idiot would threaten people in front of a kid and for the sake of the kid, I calmed myself down immediately. I was in disbelief!! I just said something to the effect that he needed to leave now--because I did not want to make a scene in front of a kid. He left. Lesson to be learned: You do NOT threaten my dogs. EVER. Just thinking about that incident makes me see red.