It’s a beautiful fall Saturday and we are all enjoying being outside in it as much as we can.
This morning HairyFace loaded the trash and recycling bins into the truck and Blondie and I got excited because we know this means TRUCK RIDE!
Hairy helped me put my harness on, walked me out and belted me into the shot-gun seat. I always get shot-gun on trash days: that’s a rule. Blondie doesn’t mind: she prefers the space behind the seats because she can move around and stick her nose out either window.
As he was walking Blondie out to the truck, Tinker was standing off to the side, looking sad.
On most days NiceLady leaves us a little after breakfast and goes on a long car ride that lasts the whole day … until just before dinner time. We miss her terribly while she’s out having fun.
HairyFace stays with us to keep us company and open the door for us when we need to go in and out. And to give us lunch cookies. And to scratch us and pet us when we need it. He does some other strange things during the day, but mostly he’s here for us to look after him and keep him safe while he does those little trifles for us.
On Sundays they BOTH leave us at home by ourselves and that’s really awful. But that’s not all day, just long enough to get a good nap in.
When NiceLady has been gone all day we get excited about her coming home.
Sometimes it takes her a while to come in and we get impatient, but we’re always happy to see her.
Last night we had a party with special treats and we all talked about what a good boy Volt is. Blondie and I knew what was going on, we’ve seen this several dozen times now. Often it’s no big deal, at least not to me. I’m stoic. But once in a while saying “good-bye” is hard … even for me.
Volt, of course had no clue. He was just happy to get special treats and have so much attention paid to him. I explained it to him after everyone went to bed.
When we got up this morning, Volt went into the den for some morning lovies from HairyFace. Nothing unusual about that. But when Volt reached way up and licked Hairy’s face and neck, that was unusual: Volt’s not a real kissy-guy. Hairy thought he was saying good-bye, but I knew he was saying, “Don’t send me away; this is my home. I like it here.” So I had another chat with him.
We received word last night that Volt has his ticket to ride the Rolling Rescue bus on Friday June 24th. Now we begin that bittersweet process of saying goodbye and congratulating him on moving to the next step toward finding a forever home of his own.
Volt has been with us since January, six months is a longer time than normal. He has come to think of this as his home and us as his family. But we know that Meryl will welcome him into hers and ease his transition. Hopefully he will find a permanent home quickly. He’s a really good boy and deserves that.
When I told him he was going to Pennsylvania on The Bus, he said, “WHAT!? I don’t want to go there … I saw a movie and that’s where vampires live! I don’t want to live with vampires, they’re even worse than mosquitoes.”
“Vampires? No, no, no: that’s TRANSylvania. That’s a whole different place. You’re headed for Pennsylvania — that’s where they make pencils, not vampires.”
“Oh! That’s different then. Will I like it there?”
“You’ll love it. It’s just like here except different. You will be living in a house and will have other dogs to hang with and Meryl will treat you well and help you find a forever family of your very own.”
“Thinking about leaving you and Blondie and Doug and Marie makes me sad.”
“Yeah … it makes us sad too. But you deserve to have a forever home of your very own. We can’t adopt every dog we fall in love with. We just can’t.”
Then we lay down and took a nap together so we wouldn’t cry. It isn’t becoming for Guardians of the Realm to cry.
One of the great things about dogs is the way the dogs welcome us home. It’s always a celebration. It makes us feel great to know someone is so happy to see us again — even though we may have been gone only an hour.
I cannot speak about goats, horses, cows, sheep, pigs, lemurs, guinea pigs, rabbits, or ducks – I’ve never had those as pets. I had cats once, and for the most part their reaction to our return was, “Oh, were you gone? When are you going to feed me?”
This evening we engaged in some casual dining and watched an old Science Fiction Theater episode. Mostly, this was a Peoples thing, but we dogs get to eat in the living room with them then sleep through the silly program they watch. We like doing this because we usually get a special treat after dinner
At bed time HairyFace and NiceLady sat in bed and read for a while. Sometimes they use book lights and turn off the lamps. But not tonight. Blondie Bear is saying, “Would you PLEASE turn off the lights and go to sleep … I’m TIRED.”
I didn’t have a bed to hide under, so I made do with what was available.
Eventually HairyFace and NiceLady got sleepy too, turned off the lights, and went to sleep. Then we could take up normal sleeping positions and get some proper rest.
It’s Tuesday. That’s yard work day. Not that it’s some sort of law or anything, we could do yard work any day. Saturday, for instance tends to be another day that is often consumed by yard work. But Tuesdays, somehow, generally do end up being yard work days.
It’s a nice day. It hasn’t rained for a couple of days, but there is a little overcast to break up the sun, it’s not too hot, and a breeze is blowing. A good day to be outside.
Volt and I took up station inside one of the garden bed blocks. We were safe here from string trimmers, mowers and the cuttings these things toss around. We could see what’s going on, and enjoy being outdoors for a while.
Blondie Bear was pretending to be the Equipment Manager. She prefers the cool of the barn (she has a much heavier coat than Volt or I do). But she can still see and is safe from flying plant bits. She also likes to be more directly involved, so being where HairyFace goes to trade out (or refuel) pieces of equipment keeps her central to the operation.
Jasper was out on his tether early in the process, while Hairy was string trimming around things, but when the mowers started to roll, HairyFace insisted he go back inside his pen – for safety’s sake.
When HairyFace first went to get Jasper out, and had the tether in his hand, Jasper ducked his head and looked up through his eyebrows at Hairy saying, “I don’t need that: I’m a GOOD boy now.” When Hairy goes out to give Jasper a play session and will be giving all his attention to Jasper, he gets to run free (no tether). But while HairyFace has to focus on cleaning up the pen and changing out his water, Jasper gets tethered to a tree, giving him a 20 foot radius to play in while Hairy works. Previously, Hairy would then unhook the tether from the tree and let Jasper drag it around the yard. That was like tying him to the ground and he never made any attempt to climb the play yard fence.
HairyFace spent most of the day mowing and trimming. He took a break now and then to go in, rest up and get a drink. We have water bowls outside and can drink any time we want. Hairy could use them if he wanted, we wouldn’t mind, but he refuses. Well, that’s his choice.
We don’t mind going inside though: it’s usually cooler in the house – unless Hairy has done a bad job of window management and allowed hot air to be sucked inside. In our house, if you allow it to get hot, it just stays hot until evening when everything cools off.
So the yards are mowed – except for the High Yard (aka Copperhead County): he didn’t do that one this time – everything looks nice, and we’re ready to settle in for an evening of rest. It sure is tiring watching our friend work all day! But the results are nice.
There is a buffer zone between our “yard” and the tree line that HairyFace calls Copperhead Country because he is more likely to encounter Copperheads (and other snakes) here than anywhere else; other than up in the virgin forest. This area is sloping, has a few scattered trees, the ground is covered with dead leaves (Copperheads like dead leaves because their coloring provides the perfect camouflage), and fallen branches. The ground is littered with big rocks, boulders and outcroppings. All make a great playground for snakes.
One afternoon HairyFace announced that he was headed up into Copperhead Country to do some bush-whacking. That’s like weed whacking, but includes saplings and honeysuckle vines along with large weeds. I told him he needed to stay as far away from snakes as possible. I was once bitten, repeatedly, by a Copperhead and spend a day in the doggy hospital and many weeks of recovery. It’s not fun, it is best to just stay away from them! Continue reading The Copperhead Country Expedition→
NiceLady bought us an outdoor dog bed called a Coolaroo. It’s kind of like a miniature trampoline except without the springs. We all like it.
This morning HairyFace went out to exercise Jasper. Jasper is a foster dog who is here for Behavior Modification: he was pretty wild. He’s doing better. He has been a total jerk toward Blondie Bear, though. She invites him to play, but he just wants to mount her. He has been neutered, but I guess old habits die hard for some. Blondie tells him off and gives him the cold shoulder for the rest of that session. As usual, Blondie went with HairyFace to work with Jasper … she keeps hoping …
Jasper REALLY wanted to come out and play.
HairyFace puts Jasper on a tether. Sometimes the other end of the tether is fastened to a tree, at least while Hairy has to focus on cleaning out the pen and getting him fresh water. When its play time, Hairy holds the loose end and they can walk around the yard together: it’s now a 20 foot leash and Jasper has some freedom to bound and run. If Blondie is in the house (or if Jasper does not know Blondie is in the yard because she’s hiding) Hairy lets Jasper drag the tether around behind him. Jasper can easily scale our 5 foot perimeter fence, but while he’s dragging the tether he “thinks” he’s dragging something around that would keep him grounded.
Today, when HairyFace finished cleaning the pen, he found Jasper on the Coolaroo with Blondie.
Blondie seemed to be okay with that too. That’s a first!
Since they were getting along so well, Hairy decided to proceed with a yard clean-up. When that was done he went to see if Jasper was interested in playing ball or going for a walk. But jasper had sniffed out Hairy’s treat hiding place atop the lumber pile and was doing his best to climb up and snatch the cookie. He could not be dissuaded and got rowdy when Hairy tried to redirect him into playing ball, so Hairy put him back in his pen and gave him the cookie.
Then he let Volt and me out.
Jasper and I don’t have any issues. I don’t play with him because I don’t like rough-n-tumble play. I like to run. So HairyFace keeps me inside while Jasper comes out to play. But I can walk past his pen or stop by to say hello and there is no friction between us.
Not so with Jasper and Volt. Volt is fine. Volt will stand up to Jasper if Jas gets mouthy, but he never initiates a disagreement. He does, however, come around in hopes of stealing some of Jasper’s food if he’s outside when Hairy feeds Jasper. So Jasper has flagged Volt as a threat and gets nasty any time Volt comes near. So we make sure they remain separated.
I took up position on the Coolaroo. I am The Big Dog, that is my right.
Blondie and Volt lined up to wait their turn.
It was a nice morning and I had every intention of being here for a good long time. It’s going to rain later, and Hairy was working hard to get all his gardening, mowing, and trimming done before the rain moved in. So if we were going to be cooped up inside later, I wanted to lounge in the fresh air for a bit.
Volt was getting pretty insistent about getting a turn too. He wasn’t rude, just asking, “Cochise, when do I get a turn? I’d really like to have a turn too.” But he kept after me: kinda pesky-like, you know?
It was about time for my morning bowel movement So I decided to give the Coolaroo over to Volt and went off to search out the perfect place to do my business.
HairyFace was working in the garden. Blondie decided to go watch him. When she got there she spotted a pair of butterflies doing some sort of areal dance (or perhaps battling one another, with butterflies it’s hard to tell). For a good while they were just inches the other side of the fence and Blondie stood and watched, mesmerized.
By the time Hairy noticed all this and got out his camera, the performance was about over … and it started to sprinkle.
Blondie decided to take shelter in the barn. A few sprinkles don’t bother her much, but it felt like it could become more, so she was playing it safe. I went up on the back porch and started calling Hairy to come let me in. I do NOT like sprinkles. Volt came with me. HairyFace did not: he kept working even though it was sprinkling.
I kept calling – getting more insistent. Volt left.
Turns out he joined Blondie in the barn. At least it was dry in there. They watched as Hairy performed his mystical ministrations with snippers and zip ties.
When Hairy finished up in the garden he came up to the house.
Blondie stayed out in the barn. The sprinkles stopped after a few minutes and Blondie went out on patrol.
Things had barely gotten wet so HairyFace went back out to do his mowing. Volt and I elected to stay indoors and guard the house against thieves and fiends. Someone has to do it!
Blondie took up position on the Coolaroo and supervised Hairy’s yard work. Jasper got excited by the mower and began running vertical laps in his pen (it’s amazing how he can do that!), and Hairy spent a few hours tending to the lawn.
He got all the mowing and trimming done (at least what he planned to do today, there is always more) and got Jasper out again for his afternoon play session … but he was all revved up and that was not going well, so he went back in quickly.
Then it started raining for real, so HairyFace and Blondie joined Volt and me in the house. I’m guessing no one will be lounging on the Coolaroo this evening. Oh, well … there’s always tomorrow.
Our Peoples are into NASCAR racing. They used to go away and watch a race live once in a while, but we convinced them that they need to stay here with us and watch it on the picture box instead.
We like racing nights too – because on racing nights we get special chew treats after dinner. But once the chewies are gone, we tend to settle in and nap through the race. But this time was kind of special. Let me explain.
This race was at the track at Bristol, which is the NASCAR track closest to our home. Our Peoples have actually been to the track at least twice, but not when a race was running. So that makes the race interesting, but what was more is that Carl Edwards, one of our favorite drivers, did well in practice and qualifying. This could be a great day for him.
HairyFace recorded the race elsewhere and we watched it that evening on DVD. As the race got under way we had our dinner and treats. Volt and Blondie were pretty excited about the race, so they did their yard watching from inside the house so they would not miss any action on either front. Only once did anything require direct intervention (meaning we went outside to bark at it) and that trip was kept short.
Volt is new to NASCAR racing and doesn’t pull for any driver in particular, so he’s what we call a casual fan, just enjoying the racing action. This is easier to do if HairyFace keeps the sound down a bit. Roaring engines can be annoying to those of us with super-sensitive ears.
Blondie was happy about Carl leading the race, so she stayed alert and smiling. She’d like to see him win a race again because he does something unique to celebrate when he does.
Volt stayed pretty mellow except when Kyle Bush crashed out. Kyle didn’t get hurt or anything – that would be bad, we don’t want anyone to get hurt – but Wylie Kylie is not a NASCAR favorite in this house. So the report of that crash got Volt’s attention up and tail wagging. once they moved beyond that incident he settled back into casual monitoring mode.
As the evening wore on, Volt drifted off to sleep. Blondie was fighting hard to stay awake and see her hero win a race. It has been a while.
She did come back out when the race was over to watch Carl do his thing.
Then she went right back to bed and waited for HairyFace, Marie, and Volt to button up and get ready for bed.
Volt is still taking Prednisone so to get through the night he has to go outside and make like a firetruck before he settles in to sleep. The Peoples close up the house while he’s outside. Sometimes Blondie goes out with him, because she likes being outside in the dark. But not tonight:
When Volt came in and went to bed we got our bedtime cookies (for settling into our proper beds and getting ready to sleep). Hairy and Lady sat in bed and read for a while, then it was lights out.
It was a good Sunday. We had beautiful weather. We got to spend more time with NiceLady than on weekdays. We got racing treats, and Carl won a race. We could all drift off to sleep, content.