I am a person of faith, I always have been! Every since I was a small child on the seventh day my parents would drop me off at Sunday school and they would head in too for the Church service. I will admit since I have gotten older and with all the moves we have made, I don’t always make it to worship in a conventional way on Sunday. There are times I experience a different kind of communion with a Higher power that doesn’t take place within four walls. Due to my chosen path of pet sitting, the timing of traditional services often coincide with when I am doing my morning walks. That doesn’t mean however, that I am not moved by the Spirit in a different capacity, there are other ways to commune with the Lord! This morning we took four of my canine friends and walked some trails in a beautiful wooded area. The ground was blanketed in green, the cloud cover over head burned off half way through our excursion and the sun streamed in through the branches, it is a different kind of Holy experience. It is a blessing to know that my old guy Lucas is reinvigorated with these trips and I feel a sense of gratitude that my legs are capable of propelling me forward and my eyes are able to take in the sight of these wonderful four legged walking companions! It is easy to appreciate one’s existence and the gifts that are bestowed upon us. There are so many ways to give thanks and experience a sanctity with God. I have come to appreciate and embrace the opportunity to pray in a verdant and sunlit forest on a Sunday morning, the divine is all around us!
Often when there is a disaster, there are after shocks! I seem to be experiencing “after thoughts”….in case you are wondering what I am referring to, there is a required reading for this verbal diarrhea I am about to let loose! Check out my “Let’s Give them Something to Blog about” post from earlier today, it will help shed light on my ramblings! First off….where on earth was that dang squirrel that ended up in my abode, hiding? I mean seriously, I had been standing in that area for a good five minutes with Charlee before opening the door. It is a small space, I think it would have been pretty evident to him and to me if there was a little black rodent hanging out with us? Try as I may, I can’t make sense of it, I am wondering if the squirrel lost his footing and fell off the roof and landed at our feet? Was he sleeping in my bag of clothes pin that were situated on the retaining wall and decided to leave his hiding place at completely the wrong moment…and if this was the case, man, I am glad the ensuing adventure that unfolded went down like it did as opposed to me opening the bag to have a squirrel spring out me! Second thing I am wondering, “What was the squirrel thinking when I was trying to trap him in the Coke box?” Sounds crazy, but was I giving off a vibe that was saying “don’t worry little buddy, I am just trying to save you?” Or did he perceive his life was in jeopardy and I was looking to make my Grandson a new winter hat? And another thing, when I got him to the door, did he think he was the smart one that had gotten away from me or did it cross his mind that I was the hero in this particular scenario! I mean really, Wonder Woman move over….my fast thinking and nimble moves saved the day! Truly, Hooray to me for being so quick witted and on the ball! Thirdly, I would like to know how the cat extricated himself from the office upstairs? I have been scratching my head all day at this puzzle and the only thing I can come up with is that somehow one of the dogs had jumped on the door, because I have those handle that’s are a lever as opposed to a knob, and they successfully managed to gain access! Which then leads me to ponder, has Charlee already met the cat and it’s no big deal or I got lucky and I called the pooches downstairs in the nick of time to go into the back yard to hang my laundry before any of the parties concerned were aware of the situation? These will be the thoughts that I will ponder for the remainder of my afternoon as I am out walking (without my red boots and lasso, as I don’t want the whole neighbourhood to know there is a Super Hero right under their noses!)
I am singing a new tune today, I reworked the lyrics and titled it “Let’s give ’em something to Blog about!” I really need to be careful what I put out into the universe, as the other day I was thinking that I didn’t really have much excitement in my life to share with others! Which brings me to today, boy did I have an interesting start to my morning! I took Lucas and Newton for a lovely forty minute stroll, dropped them off at the house, put my cat Romeo into the office upstairs and went to get Charlee for his morning constitutional. He and I had a fast paced jaunt that lasted about thirty-five minutes and then we made our way back to my abode. Often when I have three dogs staying at the house I will let them out into the back yard to run amuck instead of tearing up my domicle with their hijinxs. I had Charlee’s leash in hand and his food bowl and I unlocked the back door where it is fenced to let everyone run around and have a good sniff. Charlee was at the door, bum wagging, eagerly waiting for play time. The three were greeting each other at the top of the stairs when I realized there was an odd scritching sound beside me. I was standing at the entry way by the OPEN back door when my eyes locked on the culprit, a young black squirrel, he was trying to scale the concrete retaining wall without success…this is about when the dogs caught sight of him too! My brain was registering that there really wasn’t anywhere for him to go and so did my dear rodent friend, he decided the path of least resistance was to run in to my basement rather than into the jaws of three drooling canines. Too late for me to worry about the fact that the fluffy little black creature was now loose in my place of residence. I closed the door right quick to keep the dogs outside to prevent pandemonium from breaking out inside, as I was having visions of pictures flying off walls and all manners of disasters ensuing. With the dogs contained, I headed in to figure out where the squirrel had gone. I can’t express adequately how grateful I was that he had run down the hall and was hiding behind a desk (as I had worried he might have headed through the cat door into the bathroom or our furnace room and the places for him to hide would have been plentiful). Think, think, think…how do I catch the squirrel and get it back outside? I called my spouse, told him about my predicament and warned him he might be cycling home to my aid if I was unsuccessful and then ran through scenarios…I could try opening the window in the back bedroom and take off the screen, herd the squirrel into that room and hope it leaves…but that just didn’t seem proactive enough, there were too many variables where that plan could fail! After scratching my head for a wee bit I came up with the concept to take a vintage wooden Cocoa Cola box and trap the squirrel in that, which I managed to do successfully. The next step was to block off that area, and now bring the three dogs into the house and gate them upstairs so I could leave the basement door open to get the frightened little creature back outside where he belonged. With the dogs safely corralled upstairs I made my first attempt and failed, the squirrel was out of the box and on the loose again, I think my blood pressure was starting to climb at this point, but I took a deep breath and managed to get him back into captivity. I grabbed a pair of heavy winter mitts and a Rubbermaid lid and slid it between the desk and the box where the poor little guy sat quivering with fear, then carefully tipped it, keeping pressure on the top so he didn’t escape yet again. I dragged the box while holding the lid in place and we made it to the open door! I was contemplating how I should release the squirrel so it wouldn’t run back inside but before I figured it out, he somehow escaped, but thankfully he went up the stairs and out into the yard! Hallelujah! I did a “You rock woman” dance, slammed the door and went about restoring order to the chaos my visitor had created. Later on, in an effort to regain my inner calm, I grabbed a load of laundry and the pooches and I headed back outside so I could hang my sheets to dry. I finished that task and was feeling much calmer, I had a full list of things to accomplish for the day. I grabbed Charlee’s leash and dish again and had the laundry basket under one arm, I did a quick survey of the area to ensure there were no interlopers at risk of gaining entry to my home and I opened the door….if you remember back I mentioned I had locked the cat upstairs in the office, as Charlee hasn’t met him before and well, three dogs and one cat seem like potential disaster in the making, so keeping two species separate until there are more bodies at home seemed like a smart idea. Back to me humming and feeling calmer, I turned the knob, Newton whisked in the door with Charlee coming down the stairs when it registered that my dear Romeo was standing a couple feet in front of us….the two unacquainted strangers stared at each other long enough for me to clue in to close the damn door! How my pesky feline friend extricated himself from his safe haven remains a mystery to me? With Charlee and Lucas outside, I squeezed back inside, took the brazen Romeo back up to his prison where he will serve the remainder of his sentence until my spouse comes home and we can have a few more bodies for a proper introduction. Other than the continuous romping adventures of Newton and Charlee in the living room, my day has become hopefully less eventful! It is amazing to think how one half hour in a person’s life can be so action packed! The up side to all of this I thought, “HOLY HECK, do I have something to blog about!”
Another one of my dear little friends has moved across town so his walks have become infrequent and are usually solo acts. He was accustomed to walking as part of a duo or a group. Since his departure from the neighbourhood Diesel hasn’t seen any of his friends, but on Friday I had the opportunity to bring two of his old buds along for the stride! It was fun watching as Rupert and Lucas jumped out of the back of the Jeep and greeted Diesel, the tails were wagging with excitement. The band was back together! The boys strutted down the street like they owned the sidewalk. The three were pumped and ready as there was fresh territory to discover! We headed into a wonderful wooded area with a tonne of trails to explore and began an adventure. For a half hour the boys were sniffing and frolicking and enjoying a new experience, in fact, I would say the senior in the group was rather invigorated by all the possibilities of directions we could investigate. As we neared the end of our trek we encountered a lady and her small dog, there was a lot of posturing and growling by the more compact sized pooches. We steered our way through the encounter without any incidence, only to end up behind them a little while later. Rupert is a dog that likes to come off tough, he may be small but he acts pretty mighty, he kept barking as if to say. “We are coming to get you!” Essentially he pretends to be a Jack Russell Terrier disguised as a Shetlie, he likes to instigate trouble, but he weighs all of 25 pounds wet! As we headed back towards Diesel’s home I was suddenly struck by the reason why this small sized dog can act so mighty, he has the muscle to back him up! As Lucas and Diesel strode along, the wee ankle biter kept trying to insert himself between the big boys, pushing until he reached the protected middle. Lucas and Diesel are an impressive pair in stature, who would want to mess with the likes of them was Rupert’s rationale. The three amigos strode along the wood chip trail, while I hummed Thin Lizzy’s rendition of “the boys are back in town, the boys are back in town…” with just my eyes to record the scene. Friendships are a beautiful thing to witness!
I don’t know about you, but I have put a lot of pressure on myself since I was very small to not make mistakes! Of course I make them, I do it all the time, I am human! Anyone who knows me, will attest to the fact that I am flawed just like everyone else. And yet I get entirely frustrated and disappointed when I faux pas and berate myself. Sometimes these blunders are small, while others are so weighty that the burden is hard to carry! Today I screwed up, it was completely unintentional and no one was hurt, at least I don’t think so. I came home from walking the boys, they joined me out in the yard as I hung some laundry on the line. I have a good sized space out back, but for some reason, my dear gentleman leave land mines right below my clothesline. Just as I was finishing hanging the last item I realized I had stepped in poop not once, but twice in two different locations. I went and got a shovel and cleaned them up, while I muttered and grumbled under my breath why the dogs have to leave their messes in the one place they know I frequent. I was fixated on my dirty shoes and headed to the house to tidy up. Rupert, my Grand puppy followed me inside, I changed my shoes and got organized and off I went. I had two lovely walks, then headed to the grocery store to pick up a few items to make dinner, and then sat on the lawn with my neighbour and checked in on one of my furry friends who has been under the weather. Three hours approximately, had elapsed since I had left. I was puzzled why only Rupert barked when I came in, but Lucas is deaf now and sleeps heavily so I went and put the food in the refrigerator. My dear little Grand pup seemed agitated and was nipping at me and then ran to the basement door, I figured he had to pee. As I followed him down the stairs I was struck with what I had done….I had left poor Old Lucas in the back yard when I went in to clean my shoes. What’s the big deal you ask? He’s a dog…dogs are meant to be outside. I would concur, but Lucas is a nervous dog, plagued with anxiety from things he experienced in another life with his other people, he really struggles with abandonment issues and what did I do…I forgot the poor dog outside on an overcast day, and let me tell you that poor guy knows when rain is coming hours before it falls. I opened the door and there was no Lucas, but a few minutes later Rupert came bounding down the stairs with his buddy in tow. My dear old guy sheepishly stepped into the house, like he had done something wrong and was now finished serving out his punishment. It was a mistake…an over site, and yet I feel bereft that I let him down. No one is perfect, everyone makes mistakes…but dang, I wish I wasn’t like everyone, at least for my fur babies! I want to be the quintessential, flawless, ideal pet parent!
I think my dear old Lou needs a new T-shirt! When you get old expressing your opinion becomes easier, in fact…I think political correctness becomes a thing of the past! The days where my dear friend needed a pinch collar to prevent him from dragging me down a hill on my belly clutching the leash for dear life as he chased after a grouse, are a distant memory. That high spirited zeal for adventure has become more of “let’s linger here at this particular blade of grass and take it all in, have a good whiff, lick the dew and hanker down like we just found the world’s greatest salad bar! What’s the rush!” I am trying to be diligent and adjust my speed to the old guys pace, I really am making an effort to be empathetic to the fact that his energy level has changed and that his purpose for morning walks has no discernible point, other than to make it to his favourite place to go number two. In our house we call this particular spot “Poopy lane”, as this is where Lucas needs to go for his body to get the cue to do his business. Today, Mother nature made a premature call, Lucas relieved himself before making it to the park, which is unusual but when you gotta go, you gotta go! We did our park loop, but when we were heading down his magical place and I saw a dog coming our way that I new my Grand Puppy would get all bent out of shape about, I decided we would turn tail on “Poopy Lane” and find a new route home. Frankly, I didn’t think it would be a big deal, the big guy had already had a dump. Rupert and I were turned around when I realized there was resistance, my usually easy going friend had firmly planted his feet, he had a scowl on his face and was visibly disgruntled that I was changing course. His expression was clear and concise “HELL NO….where do you think you are going woman.” As amusing as this was that he was waging a protest, I wasn’t interested in gaining consensus, and gave him a yank to let him know that he was not “the leader…” (an Aristocrats reference, as that has been Lucas’ mantra since we met him). I am noticing more and more with my senior citizen that the ‘look’ he gave me this morning is becoming his new attitude. He isn’t worried about going with the flow, if he doesn’t want to do something he gives me some attitude and becomes a dead weight at the end of the leash. On our way home the other day he let me know we were following his agenda, not mine, and plopped down in the grass and laid there as if to say, ‘Good Luck getting me up.” He was very cute, I will admit that. I find his new attitude comical and yet a little infuriating…perhaps we can get matching T-shirts?
Vacationing with a Friend
It is funny how you think you know everything there is to know about your best friend! You are well versed in what they like to eat, whether they have any allergies, what they are most afraid of and if they are upset you know just what to do to comfort them! You are kindred spirits, nothing could surprise you about your bosom buddy, so why not take a vacation together!? You decide to set off on a road trip and suddenly you see a side of your BFF that you were totally unaware of, how could this be? You are not strangers, you have known each other for years and yet you find yourself staring at the person sitting next to you wondering ‘who is this stranger?’ It has happened to the best of us, you are in the car heading down the highway, with your favourite song blasting away when suddenly the person you thought you knew interrupts your rapping along with Iggy Azalea . You are confounded by the sound that is emanating from your speakers, much to your dismay your mate has a yen to listen to War and Peace an audiobook. Your jaw is dangling as you quietly continue down the road too shocked to say a thing, longing to hear to the rest of “I’m so Fancy” and wondering what other little idiosyncrasies you are unaware of? One would think that travelling with man’s best friend would be far simpler and fabulously uncomplicated! I have learned that our four-legged companions can be equally as astonishing when embarking on a journey! I recently had the pleasure of taking one of my long standing buds on a excursion with my family for a Long Weekend…I have had this particular pooch live with me for over a month, at a time and we’ve known each other for at least four years, I thought we knew all there was to know about each other! Foolish me, turns out that Mr. Chill isn’t as laid back as I once thought. It can be fun discovering something new and intriguing about someone you hold dear, not to mention it makes for some fantastic reminiscing at a later date! “Remember that time we were driving down the highway and Mom was hanging over the middle seat like she was Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible, her rear end in the air, as people driving past us stared at her flailing about trying to prevent 110 pounds of Golden Retriever from launching itself into the front seat?” Things might get a little haired and unpredictable and leave you questioning what you really know about your friend, but somehow you always manage to laugh and have some great stories to tell! I have learned that road trips with man’s best friend can reveal aspects of their personality you never thought existed and can make things challenging at times, but in the end, bring you closer together than you were before and strengthen your bond!
Walking the family dog is a task that is often delegated to ones children. Tommy gets home from school and both he and Sparky need to wear off some pent up energy. It’s awesome when parents allow their children the responsibility of walking the dog, the important take away…it is a responsibility! Here is just a few things the seasoned dog walker sees while out strolling…retractable leashes can be dangerous and a disaster in the wrong hands! Children have a habit of allowing their pets to drag them into situations and with too much lead, they can get pulled towards situations that are often ones they can not handle. Kids have a tendency to be trusting of all dogs, they paint every canine with the same brush and don’t consider that the Jack Russel that is standing at the edge of someone’s yard should be approached with caution or better yet, look both ways and cross over to the other side of the street. Kids need to be allowed the opportunity to take a leadership role with their pet, but going out with them and helping them navigate potential problems is something all parents should do. Assisting your child to read situations and to be wary is important. A few months back a family in the area got a new dog and the thirteen year old son would take their good sized pooch around the block after school. I had my two boys with me, which is about 130 pounds of dog and when I saw him, as he struggled to reign in his enthusiastic pup, I decided that hugging the opposite side of the street was prudent. Next thing I knew he and his lovely charge were sprinting in my direction, he had no control and things became rather frenetic. The three dogs got all tangled and by the end of it my heart was racing. The dogs were fine, my back wasn’t as fortunate, but we all managed to stay upright and get on with our day. It is interesting, our children can’t drive a car without lessons and a permit and yet we allow them out with a 100 pound four legged friend at the end of a leash with a massive set of chompers. As the woman who walks all sizes and breeds of dog, I can attest to the fact that the small wired haired terrier can pull like an ox and has a personality of a bull in a china shop, just because your pooch is small doesn’t mean it isn’t mighty….or incredibly apt at getting your child into a dicey situation. I find that when I am out with my clients I have time to contemplate things I see, and one that often has me concerned is noticing a young person walking a dog and realizing that they don’t have a complete handle on their charge. It’s a learning curve for us all, and unfortunately our pets, like everything else in life, don’t come with an instruction manual. Wouldn’t it be nice if we knew that Sparky doesn’t like Poodles, is afraid of men in hoodies and panics at the sound of fire trucks. Helping our children to be present in a situation is key when walking the dog!
Exciting evening in my back yard! I have a few squirrels that find my yard a wonderful place to pass the time! Some have gotten quite bold, as the resident pooch is slowing down and not as agile as he once was, so they will meander around the base of the feeder and troll the garden looking for a meal. Which is fine by me, but this week I have a lovely Husky living with me, whom is also getting up in years, but is always up for a challenge. Whenever I open the door to the back yard he is off like a shot, with my boy Lucas in hot pursuit. My primary concern has been for my resident bunny that lives under the deck, so I make sure I chaperone the gents when Nature calls! This evening the boys tore up the back stairs to the yard, as they had caught a whiff of something good. I heard a raucous and felt the colour drain from my face, I thought they had cornered my rabbit. I bounded up the steps and headed across the deck and came to an abrupt halt as a wide-eyed squirrel came racing towards me, with the two dogs rapidly closing the gap. I felt awful, it had two drooling beasts waiting to get their chompers on it and now it saw me as another impediment to surviving the night. I was yammering away at it not to worry, but apparently my less than calm, rather shrill attempt to assure safe passage, because it scurried back in the direction of the boys. I have to say I felt a little confused how I could appear more menacing than two huge canines? The crazy little rodent zigged back and forth on the grass, in a fabulous effort to confuse the old dogs and somehow made it up the ladder to the fort built around our Silver Maple and out of harms way! Man oh man, was I relieved, I had to sit down I felt so overwhelmed. The squirrel sat in the Y of the branches and regained it’s composure as well, before climbing higher. I am ever so thankful there was a happy end to that heart palpitating back yard romp!