20 May 2013

Who let the dogs out?

Approximately seven years ago, I was sitting on top of a very tall horse named Floyd, when a man with a long ponytail, shorts, and Birkenstocks walked up to the horse, leaned his hand on him for support, and began to propose something absurd to my husband.

This man’s attire is only notable because we were “backstage” at a ranch rodeo. Dust swirling around us from the dozens of horses milling around, bright lights blinding from the arena, and the dizzying smell of horse plop.

Plop really seems the nicest way to say it in writing. I think I’ll start using that word from now on….

In other words, he was one of those things not like the others. And to be fully candid, I was not astride a horse because I was about to bust through the gates and perform some sort of feat of ranch riding sorcery. I just got tired of standing around, eye-level with horse bottom, while waiting for B’s team to get their turn.

Floyd was my lawn chair.

So back to the details of the proposal that changed our lives…for at least a year. Maybe slightly more, maybe slightly less, who can say for sure. I’m writing this well past the time period, for the sake of family record-keeping, so “close enough” will have to do.

Although I do remember this all started the very first weekend in June of 2007, because the very next weekend was our first wedding anniversary, and we had plans to celebrate. When Doc asked B about coming out the next weekend to look over everything, I saw B start nodding his head yes. I’m pretty sure I shot some friendly reminder daggers at him: “Don’t you dare schedule something for our first wedding anniversary.”

I’m subtle, if nothing else.

He quickly backpedaled and explained our plans, and they decided to meet the following weekend.

Doc owns and runs a veterinary hospital for large and small animals. He’d recently moved locations and built a new facility and needed help with building custom pens both inside and outside. And my husband welds. And they have been acquaintances for quite some time. And there you have it.

The first job B was tasked with was welding custom kennel fronts for the inside of the clinic. He spent untoward hours planning, prepping, welding, configuring, and sweating over this project. He admires this man a great deal and considers him a friend, so he was honored that he would choose him for a project of this magnitude.

Little did he know how magnificent it would become….

And now I’d like everyone to brace themselves properly for pictures that are bound to offend your eyeballs. They were taken with a black, plastic camera wrapped in yellow paper.

Remember those? When you advanced the reel to the point where it just wouldn’t stop, you knew you’d filled the entire length of film. This warranted a trip to Wal-Mart or someplace equally bright, so that the entire camera could be stuck in one of those envelopes where you’d fill in your name, address, HOME phone number, and whether or not you preferred singles or doubles. After sealing the envelope shut, the entire package got dropped in the bin. Down a black hole full of birthday parties, weddings, vacations, and maybe one welding job.

And maybe keep in mind that these pictures were taken before Doc had everything cleaned up and painted. Having the kennel doors welded was one of the very first steps, so these pictures show an area far from finished.

After these small animal kennels were finished, B moved his entire operation outside, where horse pens, chutes, and runs needed building.

I spent a lot of hours laying across the front seat of the Dodge, reading books, doing crossword puzzles, and bickering with the summer heat while B welded and then re-welded.

By the time I was able to take pictures of the pens and traps outside, I had a digital camera, so here's hopin' those pictures won't offend so much...whenever I get around to telling about them.

I don’t know what it looks like to someone who doesn’t weld or hasn’t watched something like this as it’s being made, but it’s no easy task. There’s a lot of measuring. There’s a lot of wearing starched, long-sleeved shirts and helmets in the hot, hot sun, sweating off a lot of weight. There are flying sparks that burn holes in your shirts, catch your cell phone on fire, and scorch your skin. There’s a lot of heavy lifting and holding pipe in place.

The arm-muscles that result from all that heavy lifting and pipe-holding are nothing to scoff at; I’m just sayin’.

I’m very proud, obviously, of the work that Brady did here. When I drive by the clinic and see dogs being walked on the weekends, I know they’re staying in those pens, and I wonder how they like them. I’m sure it’s really thrilling for them to hear the clang and bang as the door shuts on them. There’s no way they’re getting’ out of one of those pens.

These kennels are going to be a stop on the tour I plan to take Katie on one day, titled “All the Things Your Daddy Built.”


  1. How awesome!! What a talented man he is. My husband and our son both know how to weld and you are so right it is no easy job. They look great!

    1. Had to share your compliment with my husband...thank you! :)

    2. Had to share your compliment with my husband...thank you! :)