Snow Day for Bear

We ended up getting a decent amount yesterday, not so much I was stuck in the driveway, but enough for this, for which Bear has waited since October 9. One of my blogging pals, Tabby T. Cat, has described Bear very accurately as a “Blue-eyed Wonder Dog with a Snow Addiction.” Here it is in action.

 

It’s been a bewildering winter — very warm with virtually no snow. Considering that this is Colorado at 7600 feet you’d expect… Apparently it’s a “la Niña” year which means the snow has shifted to the north and we are high and dry down here. I can’t say it hasn’t been pleasant in its way, but as the Blue-Eyed Wonder Dog and I love snow, and the farmers need it, it’s been a little troubling. OH well. March is usually the snowiest month of winter and August is the wettest month of the year down here, so we still have hope.

 

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/bewildered/

Dusty’s Bewildering Morning Moment

“I’m alone with her. Just me and my human. Oh joy!”

“Hi Dusty Boy, my sweet old boy.”

“Where is everyone? I’m so bewildered. Well, best not to look a gift human in the mouth. I think I’ll put my head on her knee. Oh, she’s scratching my ears and saying nice things to me.”

“Sweet Dusty T.”

“Oh dog, however this happened, I don’t care but IT’S THE BEST. I love my human. I’m so  lucky she found me. I’m going to get closer to her.”

“You’re such a good barky boy, Dusty.”

“Oh she’s scratching the other ear. Uh-oh, I smell Bear.”

“Good morning, Bear!”

“I don’t care. This time Bear isn’t going to push me to one side. Not this morning.”

 

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/bewildered/

Not a Good Day for Mindy

One of my dogs is sick and I don’t know which one. That’s a puzzle. I suspect one of those two, up there. Highest in my suspicion is the black and white one. Though I’m not really feeding them today, I did try to give her one of her favorite foods, a bit of banana, and though she took it in her mouth, she didn’t want to eat it. She did eat the spoonful of chicken and rice dog food I offered her. This matters because Mindy likes food a LOT. I hope she’s just manipulating me into cooking my special “Poor sick dog” chicken, rice and egg recipe. In the meantime, they’re all fasting, but I had to find out if she had an appetite.

She’s a little less frisky than usual, too. I plan to keep a close watch on her this morning and if I see anything scary, I’ll take her to the vet. Her eyes are clear, her gums are pink, she’s drinking water, her tummy is soft. For now I just have a sad little Aussie. ❤

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/puzzled/

Doggone Morning

“Argh. Why isn’t she up yet?”

“I don’t KNOW but I wish she’d HURRY!”

“Bear, Mindy, whine and whimper.”

“Why don’t YOU whine and whimper, Dusty?”

“I’m a guy. I can’t whine and whimper.”

“I’ve heard you whine and whimper plenty of times.”

“Shut up Mindy. Please?”

“You want me to tear up this little rug Mindy uses to get across the wood floor?”

“No, Bear, it doesn’t do any good. Our human can’t hear you, and she’s just pissed off when she sees you did that.”

“Good point. I hate it when she’s pissed off at me. I love her so much. She’s my human. I wish she’d get up and let us out, feed us and give us cookies, then I could look at her adoringly.”

“Good grief, Bear. But I agree. If she’d get up, let us out, make her coffee then I would get some COFFEE and I could look at her adoringly.”

 

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“You guys are silly.”

“You’re the worst, Mindy. You sit beside her on the sofa all the time.”

“Who sits beside WHOM?”

“Oh, Mindy. You just like to think you’re tough. Remember, you get groomed.

“So?”

“Bear and I don’t get groomed. That’s so…”

“Wait. Sssh. I heard her move.”

“Give me five minutes, guys.”

“Thank GOD.”

“No, thank Mindy and me. We whined and whimpered.”

 

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/tardy/

Cody O’Dog

A few times in my life, I have found myself in abusive romantic relationships. Go on, shake your head. I really did write “timeS.” Two were physically abusive (which goes along with psychological abuse) and one was pure sadistic sociopathic psychological manipulation.

It was during the third that I met Cody O’Dog.

I had recently had my first hip surgery. Before that, I had been obliged to have my sweet husky, Jasmine, put to sleep. She had lymphoma. I was in the middle of rehab, at a cross-roads, walking with two arm crutches and hoping soon to graduate to a cane.

The Evil X was still living with me (it would be a year before I’d eject him).

One evening, about a month after the surgery, I was going through Craiglist looking at dogs. One posting caught my attention. It had a simple headline: YOUR HUSKY. The woman who owned it was living in a battered women’s shelter in north San Diego County. The shelter had an agreement with an animal shelter to house residents’ animals for 3 months. For this dog, the three months were up.

My huskies — Jasmine and Lily — had come to me similarly. The woman who gave them to me had been forced to move into an apartment. Her ex-husband, who had been in jail for beating her, was coming out. She had to get out of “their” house and couldn’t take Jasmine and Lily. As I read the story under YOUR HUSKY, I thought, “That’s the right dog for me.”

He happened, also, to have gotten the attention of the amazing woman who ran a local husky rescue through which I had adopted Jasmine and Lily. She met me and the Evil X at the animal shelter.

YOUR HUSKY was a very large, very beautiful, purebred husky who had once belonged to some movie star and then to the couple. They had used him for breeding with a low-content wolf who was about to be adopted, a sweet girly dog of only 3 years. YOUR HUSKY was said to be three, but he was much older. His name was Cody. He was to belong to the Evil X. The Evil X walked him, but the dog ignored him; his eyes were on me. “You try,” said the EX his extremely fragile and flammable ego in ashes. If the Evil X hadn’t been in public, the dog would’ve gotten yelled at and yanked around.

That was the first time after the surgery that I dropped one crutch and walked. The dog was on my left, my crutch on my right. As we walked around the little park that was part of the animal shelter, the dog watched me and matched all my steps. I knew immediately that he was a spectacular dog. If you know huskies, you know that’s NOT what they do. Their attention, even when they are well-trained, is not usually on a human but on the trail, on the bushes, on possible prey, on their job.

“I want him,” I said. “He’s a very wonderful dog.”

“Really?” said the Evil X. He wouldn’t have known, anyway. The only dog he’d ever had was a Shiba Inu who bit him. (Smart dog.)

“OK,” said the rescue person. “I’ll set that up for you. The shelter has to approve your application and his owner has to approve, but I know she will. I know you two have been in contact. He’s scheduled to be put down day after tomorrow, so I hope we can do all this in time.”

Cody was put back in his cage. That night he went into a health crisis. He refused to get up off the floor and he refused to eat or drink. They took him to the emergency vet who found nothing wrong with him. Everything was done to get him to rally, but he didn’t want to. He’d been in a cage in a shelter for 3 months. I also believe he’d found the person he wanted to belong to, and when he didn’t go home with me, he gave up.

I got the OK to adopt him and we went to get him from the emergency vet, knowing it might not work. We brought him home. He still wouldn’t eat or drink. I cooked him scrambled eggs and rice and fed him from my hand for a few days. The EX — with whom I did not share a room — put a bed for Cody in his room. Little by little, Cody began to regain himself. The only problem he had was Dusty T. Dog, another male between him and his person, me. There were some fights for dominance, which Dusty never tried to win, and, ultimately, I just kept them apart. They were amenable to that so it was (mostly) OK.

Siberian huskies are very special dogs because of their long history of being bred by the Chukchi people of Siberia specifically for pulling sleds and living with people. They were not bred to be watchdogs, but to be helpers to any person. They are friendly and naturally affectionate. They are also very independent because they needed to be able to think for themselves in an emergency. They were bred to be babysitters and they really LOVE little kids. All of my huskies have instinctively cared for the kids who have shown up at my house, but Cody, in particular.

The Evil X’s daughter, Heather, came to visit with her 3 month old son. As soon as Cody heard the baby’s sounds, he was alert, ready to work. The cooing and gurgling and crying evoked an instinctive response from Cody O’Dog. Wherever that baby was, Cody was there, too. It was astonishing to watch. When Heather nursed, Cody lay at her feet. When she changed the little guy’s diapers, Cody watched from close up to be sure she did it right (and possibly to clean up 🙂 ). When the baby slept, Cody kept an eye on him. At first Heather was nervous. Here was a big, wolfie looking dog obsessed with her baby, but soon she understood what Cody felt his job to be. When the little boy got to be three years old, he started bringing home dogs. I think Cody is the reason why.

When things finally began to come to a head between the Evil X and me, Cody was there. One afternoon we were having an altercation in which the Evil X stood too close to me, towering over me, yelling at me. Cody stood up on his hind legs and wedged himself between us. I took the message from that and Cody began sleeping in my room. I called him my “knight in furry armor.”

The Evil X left and our lives changed for the better. Cody and Dusty still had an occasional fracas, but no one was ever badly hurt. They happened at entry points — going in or out of the dog run, in or out of the door. Cody stayed with me whenever I was home. He was a strong, very peaceful, fierce, sweet Gary Cooper of a dog. He was the “good guy.”

In 2010 he traveled with me to Colorado Springs for my 40th high school reunion. It was a road trip. I got him a special cover for the back seat and off we went. It was quite a journey.

Our first stop was a dreadful Motel 6 outside of Cedar City Utah. The room had a nasty vibe, AND I had been driving so long that the room was moving. I went to bed, nervous and apprehensive. The next thing I knew, Cody was up on the bed with me — something that had never happened before — and he was panting, gently, making the bed shake as a baby’s cradle might rock.

We arrived at our destination. I was staying with my niece’ 90 year old grandma who was famous for disliking dogs. But, she had liked my dog Molly when we’d passed through in 1999, so I thought she’d be OK with Cody. She fell in love with him. Cody’s calm presence made her happy. When she’d work in the kitchen, Cody just hung out while she talked to him.

“This is a dog,” she said to the daughter who was then living at home, “Not your little yappy things you have to fuss over all the time.”

During our stay, I took Cody up to see my tree.

Me and Cody and my tree

A day or so after the reunion, Cody and I got back in the car and drove to Caspar, Wyoming on our way to visit my Aunt Jo and Aunt Dickie in Billings, Montana. We stayed at a great motel next to the river and had a long walk that evening before turning in. The next day we got to Billings.

My Aunt Jo and Uncle Hank were astonished at Cody’s size. We went out to the back yard to talk and Cody lay on the grass enjoying the cool, but, in his husky way he was also vigilant.

“Is that what he does?” asked my aunt. “Just lie there? He’s so big!”

“Well, he’ll be up in a flash if there’s a reason.”

Just then an immense red squirrel came over the back fence. Cody was up. Noticing the dog who was NOT supposed to be there, the squirrel made a leap for the front fence.  Cody caught it in the air, rang its neck, and gave it to me. Unfortunately, the squirrel wasn’t quite dead so I had to finish it off. My aunt and I took the squirrel’s body out where some scavengers could reap the benefits.

Cody especially loved my Uncle Hank, and if he had a human counterpart, it would have been my uncle. One afternoon my Aunt Jo and I came home from lunch with Aunt Dickie to find Hank and Cody sleeping on the living room floor, back to back.

The morning we left, I loaded Cody O’Dog into the back seat. Uncle Hank came out to say good-bye to Cody. He bent down and put his arms around my dog, said, “You take care of Martha Ann,” and hugged him. We pulled out and as I drove away, I saw my uncle in the rearview mirror, standing in front of the garage, saluting us. He died the following summer.

Things got back to normal at home for the next year and a half. Life was school, grading, driving and then, in April 2012, Cody started losing weight and having seizures. He went downhill very quickly. On the day he died, it snowed, strange not only for Southern California but for April.

The last little walk of Cody’s life was in the falling snow.

I called a mobile vet because there was no way I could get my 85 pound dog into my car. When she came we laid Cody on the floor in my office, and I laid down beside him. She put an IV in his leg that carried a tranquilizer. I wrapped my arm over my Knight in Furry Armor, and told him he was very ill, that I loved him and that it was OK if he left me. Within seconds of the tranquilizer hitting him, he was dead.

“I think he was just waiting for you to tell him it was OK. I haven’t even given him the shot yet.”

If there’s a Heaven, Cody is sharing it with Uncle Hank. I see them in a well-equipped wood shop where Hank is making things and Cody is lying on the floor. After a bit, they take a long walk and then come home for supper. ❤

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/evoke/

Nothing’s Quite as Yummy as Rawhide and Coffee in the Morning

Bear and I have our treats first thing in the morning. Who knows what the day will bring, right?

After years and years of indulging my coffee tastes (for both flavor and nostalgic reasons) with Lavazza (which I love) and the ridiculously expensive Illy, I picked up a bag of this at the local IGA grocery (where, by the way, you can by immense bags of dried red chiles).

image

This incredibly good coffee. It’s roasted in Pueblo, Colorado, by two young guys, brothers, inventors of the world’s first solar coffee roaster. Yeah, really. It’s richly flavored (as intense as any Lavazza dark roast), very smooth, low in acid (it seems) and just generally delicious.

The rawhide has now been chewed, the coffee has been drunk. It’s time to move on to the adventures of the Schneebelis in the semi-friendly land of the Palatine dukes. Right.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/treat/

Quotidian Notice, 4.5.1a — Bidness as Usual, Again…

I just want to wake up some morning, look at the news and NOT see something completely wack and absurd coming out of the Twittering “mouth” of the whatever that is occupying the White House. I say this without even being a liberal. I don’t ‘understand why anyone complains about His Grossness being at Mar-a-Lago playing golf.

In other news, I’ve resolved the question of the protagonist of my novel-in-progress. I think I knew all along, I just had reservations because I just don’t much like the guy. BUT what makes him unlikeable to ME is the same thing that makes him an interesting, compelling, character, so I am slogging along, trying to balance the background information my readers  need while (hopefully) writing an interesting story and creating, replicating a world. Always the problem of someone who writes historical fiction. It is not always fun. (What? Not always fun?)

Fortunately, I have my assistants to keep me on the right track and remind me that the really important stuff is feeding them, cleaning up the yard after them, taking them for a walk and generally arranging my life for their convenience. 😉

Mindy T

Mindy T.,

Polar Bear Yeti T. Dog

Polar Bear Yeti T. AND

Dusty

Dusty T. Dog

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/reservation/

Christmas Has Gone to the Dogs

Dusty, Mindy, Bear and I are in Colorado Springs until tomorrow to spend part of this holiday with our friends and their three dogs.

Dusty and shoe

L’s dog, Shoetoe and Dusty T. Dog

This morning I got to see the sunrise alpenglow on Pikes Peak. Now the sun is tinging the clouds with pink and the sky is a pale blue. It was a rough night (weather-wise) but it’s a lovely morning and will probably be a lovely, mild Christmas Eve day here in the Rocky Mountain west. We wish you all a Merry Christmas!

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/mild/

Molly and I Go Skiing

For Polar Bear Yeti T. Dog and me, bliss is snow. Not a lot more to say beyond that. I know the downfalls (ha ha) of snow, but the wonder of it? When I lived in California — and it snowed in the mountains 35 miles away — I jonesd like a junky to get to it. Sometimes I got there… After a while I lived there.

I love everything about snow. The cold, the magic transformation of the world, the SMELL of snow is the most beautiful thing. I don’t mind the “inconvenience.” It’s a small price to pay for bliss…

ANY-hoo, here’s a story about snow bliss…

Molly and I Go Skiing

“The first fall of snow is not only an event, but it is a magical event. You go to bed in one kind of world and wake up in another quite different, and if this is not enchantment, then where is it to be found?” J.B. Priestley

Many of my dogs have been snow dogs — mostly Siberian huskies, but Molly was an Australian Shepherd/Malamute mix. She was my first ”snow dog,” and she was very special. I think many dog owners have experienced life with an extraordinary dog, and Molly was just such a one.

***

One March afternoon in 2000 I was at work and heard the news that more than 20 inches of snow had fallen in the Laguna Mountains and was expected to continue — at a slower rate — all night.

I wanted to ski. I found, to my great surprise, that there was a place in San Diego where I could rent X-country skis. I called and said, “I need skis, boots and poles, whatever, for a woman 5’2” 160 pounds, 7.5 shoes. Can I come and get them this afternoon?”

“Yeah, sure. You know where we are?”

“Not really.” He gave me directions. I made my plans known to my bosses (who were also colleagues) that I would not be at school/work the next day, and that I would call in sick. I explained that I was going skiing with my dog. There in San Diego County I was going to have a ”snow day.”

“Isn’t that dangerous? To ski alone like that in the back-country?”

A common question in my life. I knew people — friends — who did really dangerous things. I was just going to the nearby mountains to X-country ski with my best friend who happened to be a dog. In the Laguna Mountains there was zero chance of an avalanche. There really was NOTHING dangerous about it unless I fell and broke something. I believed (on some level) that Molly was perfectly capable of rescuing me and driving home.

I walked in the shop and the guy behind the counter — the owner — looked up and said, ”5’2” 160?”

“Yep.”

“Here you go. Try on the boots.”

The boots were fine.

I was on fire with excitement. I was rapturous. I had not X-country skied in YEARS, maybe a DECADE. I couldn’t wait. I was going skiing. Snow!!!! The next morning Molly and I were on the road loud music blasting out of the CD player in my truck.

I planned to park at the Meadows Information Station on the Sunrise Highway. I hoped the road wasn’t closed. I didn’t have chains. I figured if the road were closed I’d park where I could and just ski up the road with my dog on a leash, but on that holy day, we got lucky. Waaa—HOOO!

I had no plan, no route. I was just going to ski. I knew the snow would be great. Some of the best X-country skiing in my life was in Southern California. It was receptive to skis, easy to break trail, easy to turn, and fast on hills.

I buckled on Molly’s pack so she could carry our water and granola bars, and we were off across the meadow and then down, down to Laguna Pond.

About 50 feet above Laguna Pond the season changed to spring. The warmer air, coming from the ocean laden with water, was here soft mist bending to the cool surface of the pond on its way to higher, colder elevations where it would turn to snow. In those mountains, the Lagunas, the seasons are often inches from each other. I have stood on a trail on the northeast side of the Lagunas, over the desert, arms outstretched, one hand in a winter storm and the other in sunshine, the climate created by the rain shadow.

I turned and we skied back up to winter then down again to spring, and up and then, having enjoyed the phenomenon enough, I returned to winter to stay. There we climbed hills and skied down, and the snow fell. On the top of one hill above the meadow, Molly jumped up and landed on her back. She rolled around, making angels in the deep snow. I stepped out of my skis and got down beside her to made an angel of my own. When I finished, I looked over at my blissful, wet, snowy dog and saw her…

Smiling.

 

 

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/bliss/

“Snow amounts predicted to be one inch or less”

It snowed yesterday! We didn’t get much, and it didn’t last long, but we loved it while we could.

I loved it with a snow shovel, my feet, my eyes and my sense of smell. Polar Bear Yeti T. Dog loved it with her paws, her back, her sides, her snout, and her tongue.

“Kind of meager Bear, I’m sorry!”

“Meager? It’s so much better than NOTHING!” said my dog in telepathic jubilation. “Let’s GO!!”

Words to live by. So out we went to the the river. There were no tracks on the trail, but I guess there were lots of “messages” because Bear was stopping to read something at every second bush.

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