I have a farmer friend who breeds Golden Retriever pups, and I felt I could use a bit of cuddly cuteness on this chilly Friday. So here’s a post dedicated to puppies. Happy Friday!
Yesterday, I did my annual “underdressed October mountain ride”, which I arbitrarily decided was an annual tradition…yesterday. Which is to say that, for three years now, I have accidentally gone for a somewhat frigid mountain ride in October. When I finally returned to civilization and a light turned red in my path, I groaned as I peeled my frozen fingers off of the handlebars and put a stiff, involuntarily trembling, lobster-red leg on the ground.
I’m still pretty skittish after my accident in June and yesterday I was scared. I was scared when I came around a bend at 30 mph (50 kph) and surprised a small family of deer on the road. I was scared coming down the mountain at 40 mph (65 kph) and noticing (for the first time in the dozens of times I’ve done this ride) that there is a sheer drop-off on the other side of the road’s guard rail. When I went over a particularly rough patch of road, my stomach flipped and I couldn’t suppress the thought, “I know what that feels like on my skin…”
And as I came around a particular bend, I remembered this underdressed-October-ride from two years ago when I came around the same bend and saw two stray dogs running down the hill opposite me, barking like crazy.
I thought, at the time, “Oh how nice!” because I love dogs and have never been afraid of them. But dogs do not like cyclists and these dogs came straight for me with violent intent, full of blustering rage.
In the fractions of seconds that passed as I came around that bend, I watched as the first dog’s jaws snapped shut just centimeters from my ankle. As it missed and I shot past, it’s momentum carried it forward and it faceplanted on the pavement. It’s body swung 360 degrees in midair and it flipped off the road into the ditch.
The second dog, a little farther behind, missed completely and overshot the road, landing in a pile of brush.
And then I was gone. The whole thing took less than a few seconds, but whew boy…if that first dog had gotten its teeth around my ankle at that speed I would have hit the pavement hard and not gotten up again.
Things to think about.
Who knew dogs could faceplant?
Josephine is my mother’s dog. She is 13 years old: she has been a trouble-maker her entire life. But she is beautiful, and she loves children more than anything.
She is a mutt, a mixture of black lab, German shepherd, and Alaskan Husky. She has a wonderful personality. Friendly and sweet, she has been well-loved her entire life.
One time, many years ago when she was young, we lived in a neighborhood where there had been a series of break-ins. Someone was breaking windows and stealing things, mainly electronics. Several of the houses on my block had been robbed. But we had this great big black wolf-like dog, so we were not afraid.
One day, as I was sitting at the table doing homework, I looked up to see a young man wearing a leather jacket with a bandana tied around his head standing in the back yard. When he saw me, he immediately ran away. But I was puzzled; what had happened to our vicious guard dog?
If you are a dog, when a robber opens the back gate, do you
a) attack viciously
b) bark to alert your owners of the danger
OR c) run out through the open gate to FREEDOM!!!
Oh Josie, we love you anyway.
This song reminds me of her:
I know there’s been some foofaraw about wearing furs. I feel like it fell out of fashion at some point, but never paid much attention to the debate. But I think now I understand.
I am dog-sitting for a friend who lives in a very small town (pop: ~1,000). She has two dogs and two cats and they are all incredibly affectionate animals. I can hardly sit down without being covered in a living, furry blanket.
Yesterday morning I was very ill and, after taking the dogs on a walk, I lay down on the couch. I was instantly covered in animals. Bella, the Jack Russell Terrier, prefers the crook of my knees:
Finny, the perhaps-not-very-bright-pug, likes to claw her way under my jumper and snuggle up against my belly:
Lulu the tabby cat tried sitting on my head…when I protested weakly, she moved to my shoulder, but only after whiskering me in the face for a few minutes.
And Jack was content to sit on my feet. He has excellent rolls of fat for maximal foot coverage.
So, lying beneath my fur blanket, listening to the bass rumbling purr of Lulu and the odd noises Finny makes when she is happy (a sort of wheezing burble), I thought, ‘Aha, so this is the attraction of furs!’
It was somehow comforting to be immediately accepted and unconditionally loved by these animals. I think their presence helped me to recover from my illness.
Indeed, there was just a study showing how beneficial to one’s health it is to have pets…it increases the lifespan of heart attack patients and decreases blood pressure. The newest study was showing how pets can increase oxytocin levels, the benefits of which are many, from improved social interactions to wound healing. And these benefits of having pets also seem to benefit the animals (mutualisms!). Here’s the National Public Radio digest I listened to from under a furry-purry cover: Pet Therapy: How Animals And Humans Heal Each Other.
So I guess borrowing my friends’ pets is the best I can do for my health until I settle down somewhere (unlikely).
I was ruminating on the comforts of wearing furs when Finny released one of the most foul odours I have ever smelt. I groaned, “Why, Finny, why?” as I was trapped under a pile of ‘chuffed’ animals.
So now I know why people don’t wear furs any more, in spite of all their advantages. Too stinky.
Here is a thing that I didn’t know existed: dog sledding in the subtropics. Yes, it is true, you can dog sled where there is no snow!
As you may know, I am very fond of animals. I have a lot of experience caring for both exotic and wild animals (e.g. in zoos, wildlife rehab centres, and nature centres) and domestic animals from chickens, cows, and horses to cats and dogs.
When I was walking about in Brisbane, I spent a month or so dog sitting for two handsome sled dogs while their owners were in the UK. (I was also looking after their blue-tongued skink, but “skink sitting” doesn’t sound very illustrious.) They had a very rigorous schedule of training and a strict diet.
I ran at least 5 k with them every day, sometimes with a waist harness. That is, I had two dogs of more than 30 kg each (70 lbs) tied to my waist while we were running. Everything went fine…unless they spotted a wallaby.
Speed training = two sled dogs, a waist harness, and a wallaby.
We also trained with a bicycle. They were harnessed to the front of the cycle and to each other. They were very well trained dogs, and responded to a variety of commands: haw for left, gee for right, onby for forward, hike for faster, whoa for halt.
And their diet was a varying regime of raw ground meat (sometimes including kangaroo, but also chicken and beef), a mixture of oats and dried vegetables, and a standard dog food mix, with chicken necks for treats.
The dogs, that is, not the skink, who mostly just slept under the heat lamp with his feet dangling.
Allow me to introduce the dogs.
I know, you must be impatient to learn how one can possibly sled with no snow! I sure was.
Well, you just need a special kind of sled, is all:
There are a lot of people who enjoy this! There are whole clubs, in fact. And when Dakota and Kiyuke’s owner returned, she let me come along on the next race. I was pretty proud because she told everyone how I had kept the dogs very fit!
Dog racing is very noisy!
There are a lot of good looking dogs.
After a lot of hubbub and baying, we race!