The author and speaker Patsy Claremont once said that in her attempt to become a "normal" person and be like everyone else, she discovered that "normal" is just a setting on the dryer. What is normal to you may not be normal to me. What goes on around the Williams house is normal to me, but when we entertain guests and I see the looks of amazement (or other facial expressions) as they observe the "goings-on" in our home, I realize that this is probably not what you would call normal.
Recently, a dear friend, Noreen, from Kansas and her husband came to visit. My friend loves dogs but her husband has never had a dog. Miss Lily, our Great Pyrenees greeted them in the driveway. Before Rich and I could get out the door, Lily had rammed her large white head into Ed's thighs; knocking him back against the car (he was receiving the "Lily hug"). Lily greets many people that she likes this way and she will remain pressed against you with all her one hundred and five pounds until you have given her a sufficient ear-scratching. To poor Ed, our unsuspecting guest, this was a bit of a shock. We sprinted to their car and rescued Ed from Lily's hug. Thankfully, he was a good sport about it, as we apologized. He had been told we had several dogs but you could see the reality setting in quickly. Barn and Caboose remembered Noreen and were very tickled to see her. Barn's prized possession is a giant stuffed Orangutan toy that is bigger than he is. It lives in our bedroom most of the time but when someone comes that he deems very special, he trots off to the bedroom and returns dragging giant monkey, presenting it to the honored guest. This poor monkey has endured several plastic surgeries and has been with Barn for nine years. Caboose barks his happy greeting (indescribably loud and obnoxious) as his seventy five pound body flies onto the couch to affectionately body slam Noreen. Angel Cookie runs over to see them and begins to draw nice scratch marks on their legs, demanding equal attention. She doesn't care who they are. She just wants her share of the petting. Rock slowly wakes up and eventually makes his way over to Ed's pant leg to rub his eyes and ears all over his slacks and pass a little gas while he's at it. Ebby is really sure that anyone who enters our home would like to have her as their very own lap dog and for a crippled lab, she is as strong as the Incredible Hulk, so prying her off of ourselves (or anyone else) is a challenge. Rich and I looked spring-loaded as we sprang from our chairs, intercepting each of the canines when they made another move toward our guests. Finally, we got the pack to settle. Rock and Angel went back to their naps, doing a high-decibel snoring duet that was hard to talk above (that we don't even hear anymore). Caboose spread out on the tile, Ebby laid on the floor on her back, just in case someone might want to give her a belly-rub as they went by; Barn went back to his room and found his tennis ball which he expertly tossed into an unsuspecting Ed's lap. We don't think Ed understood the special honor. Barn doesn't invite just anyone to play ball. As Ed handed us the slobbery tennis ball, our front French door slammed open. Lily made her grand entrance. She had decided to join the party. Ed and Noreen looked at each other broke out laughing. They realized by our conditioned response, that we thought all this was "normal".Add a few orphans to this scenario and I am sure this makes you all want to come visit the Williams Zoo, but do not fear. We do actually put the canines in their rooms when entertaining "unconditioned" guests now, with the exception of Miss Lily since she opens doors. Faithful Friends rescue work has totally consumed my life and certainly dramatically affected Rich's, we've surrendered to the fact that our lives will never be normal again (if they ever really were).