Staying Young At Heart: Get A Dog

I know the key to staying young at heart. Get a dog. Having and caring for a dog requires a person of any age to get up and get out. You cannot simply sit down in front of the TV and tune out of life when there is a furry personality waiting for your companionship and your care.

Allow me to tell you Clifford's story. Clifford was what many might call "a dog man". Much of his life centered around feeding, training, and hunting with his hounds. He worked the jobs he worked in order to fund his life with the dogs.

I remember when I first met Clifford. He was a rough and gruff individual. He had a proclivity to engage in certain activities of questionable legality. He did not suffer fools and had little time for you if he deemed you one. Though I was just 28 years old (still the age of a fool in his mind) when I met him, he tolerated me because I could talk hunting and trapping until the sun went down.

But then, when you saw this rough and hard man with his kennel of dogs, it was something else. Whoever thinks hunters consider their dogs as just tools has never met a true dog man or woman. Whoever thinks such things had never met Clifford.

Clifford had found the secret to staying young at heart and young in body. Stay close to the dogs. Clifford fed, trained, and hunted his dogs until the day he died. He lived to 89 and milked life out of every one of his days.

Some might be inclined to get out from under the dogs when the crown of gray hair takes hold. Don't do it. Such is not the time to get away from the dogs. It is the time to draw closer.

Below is Clifford's obituary. He passed last October. I reprint this for all of you, the true dog women and dog men. The dogs keep you young. Be like Clifford...don't stop...find a way.

Clifford Garver, age 89 of Falmouth, passed away October 6, 2013 at Mercy Hospital in Cadillac. He was born December 17, 1923 in Sage Township to Roy and Lila (Hayward) Garver.

In 1941 Clifford married the former Marge Steinkraus and they had two children. Marge preceded him in death in 2001. On May 25, 2002 he married the former Beatrice Kranich.

In his long work career, he had many interests and therefore many jobs which included farming in Gladwin, working for Clare County Road Commission and working as foreman on road construction when the Interstate 75 was being built in the Houghton Lake and Roscommon area.

He also worked in the oil fields for Jay Woods from which he retired at the age of 62.

He built many homes in the Gladwin and Falmouth area. In 2009 he and his wife bought the coyote pen in Summerfield Township; a source of great enjoyment to Cliff. This was sold in 2011.

From the time he was a youngster and traded his bicycle for his first gun, he devoted his life to hunting and trapping. He raised and trained hounds that he used in his hunts for bear, bobcats, coyotes, coons, rabbits and squirrels.

He was looking forward to this winter’s coyote hunt with his younger friends, who would be able to unload and later catch the dogs, while he would sit in the truck and listen to the dogs barking in the fields as they hunted for coyote. Their barking was music to his ears.

He will be missed by a host of friends.

Clifford is survived by his wife Beatrice, his daughter Brenda Adkins of Lake City and his son Clifford Rex Garver of Mount Pleasant. He is also survived by a granddaughter Jennifer (Mike) Snyder of Lake City and two great granddaughters Myrah and Addisyn Snyder of Lake City. Also a brother Ronald Garver of Gladwin and a sister Carole Horn of Mayville and sisters in law: Lucille (Lloyd) Isham of Gladwin, Dorothy Tourangeau of Falmouth, Vivian Kranich of McBain and Valerie DeWitt of Mount Pleasant, brother in law Bill (Faith) Steinkraus of Colorado Springs, CO and many nieces and nephews. He is also survived by four running dogs; two of which are three month old puppies.

He was preceded in death by his parents, his wife Marge, a sister Leatha (Leslie) Knowlton and a brother Fred Garver, sisters in law Lillian (Dan) Kranich, Edna (Harvey) Gertz, Esther (Fred) Wagner, Marie Steinkraus and Violet (Dutch) Seebold, brothers in law Walter (Vonnie) Steinkraus, and children Kerry Lynn and Kathryn, Sam (Marian) Steinkraus.

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