This is just a quick post to say that Goodbear has returned to the Blogosphere from a hiatus of four months (that’s, like, 16 bloglives).
Goodbear was the second blogger (after Checkers, and besides E.g., who was only humouring me 😉 ) to leave a comment on my brand-new-baby blog, on March 6, 2008. What drew her here? Three guesses…tic-tic-tic…time’s up:
Yep, her dog Cody Bear has gastroparesis, and my Cai started his life with megaesophagus. These are both digestive-tract poblems — Cody’s food wouldn’t leave his stomach, and Cai’s wouldn’t get down his throat. Goodbear and I exchanged notes on our furchildren’s conditions, and have been fast friends ever since.
So if you have a moment, please pop over and welcome her back. Like me, she’s a generalist blogger: her dogs, interesting birds and bugs, hikes in the desert foothills, decent beer, and memorable meals all go into the mix.
But mostly, her dogs. Cody is a Chow mix, and Pickles a Border Collie. Oh, and there’s Spree, the kitty, too. See them here at Cody Bear’s Friends.
Or maybe photography’s more your thing. For photos that really capture the personality — er, dogonality? — of every canine she meets, please visit her photoblog, Dog Daily Photo. We mustn’t let her get away again!
My little camera didn’t do yesterday’s storm justice.
No, this wasn’t a natural disaster (there’s enough of those elsewhere recently), it was simply a typical good dump of snow, about 6 inches, like Binky got out his way.
It was, though, enough to be exciting. Scary, even, for me. So while you look at the fun side of snow in this morning’s pictures, let me regale you with a tale of yesterday afternoon.
A flake or two meandered down about 14 00. By three, it was so thick that the accompanying sound effects in a movie would have been, “Ka-FLUMP! Ka-FLUMP!” E.g. went out to the main road with her camera, and watched a fourteen-wheeler crawling its way up the hill, a van with its four-way flashers on, and at the bottom of the hill, a police cruiser at the intersection. (You can find pix here.) Good thing we weren’t going anywhere.
Then we remembered her dad.
Eddy had a routine doctor’s appointment at the hospital. While he can drive all right during the day, he prefers to be a passenger at night or during inclement weather, when visibility is reduced. E.g. called her parents’ place, and yes, Eddy had left before the storm started and was now in the thick of it. Would Rose like us to help her husband get home? Well… all right.
The plan was that E.g. would find her dad and drive him home in his car. Since there was no sense leaving a vehicle at the hospital, or E.g. stranded at her parents’ house, E.g. and I took the automatic so I could retrieve her from Rose and Eddy’s. And I got behind the wheel, for my first taste of slippery streets.
Windshield wipers on. Long strings of crawling traffic. The dictum to Always keep going, Never stop unless absolutely necessary. The terror of losing control as we went downhill (Saint John is very hilly — not tall ones, but numerous). The car jerking sideways no matter how delicately I applied the brakes or titched the steering wheel. Falling onto the shoulder and easing the vehicle back onto the asphalt. And E.g. beside me, talking me through it.
We made it to the hospital, and E.g. went in to find the doctor’s office. It was closed and dark. No dad. All we could do was return home, this time E.g. driving.
Another call to Rose and Eddy’s revealed that Daddy wasn’t home yet — a bit unsettling, since they live closer to the hospital than we do — but with another look out the picture window, Rose rejoiced to find her husband powering up their long, steep drive.
Eddy is an excellent driver, and has always loved to drive. He told us later that afternoon that most of the trip home from the hospital, though slow, had been manageable. The hardest part had been the final right turn onto their street, in the thickest whiteout, when he really couldn’t see much of anything. After fifty-one years of turning right onto this road, however, he decided to use his body-memory to make the turn, and succeeded.
He called it “gut instinct”, but he may have been thinking of another source of Help that begins with “G”.
Here in the North, the longest night has just passed.
Here in the North, the gardens are empty, the leaves fallen.
Here in the North, the blackness of night and the whiteness
of snow are the chief colours.
We welcome the fir tree, ever green.
We encircle it with lights, to call forth the growing light.
We trim it with talismans, memories of past places,
memorials to the dead.
It is sacred.
May your holidays be blessed. We’ll see you next week.
Sunday was Thanksgiving Day for us Canadians, eh?
And this year, having a freezer and a large stockpot and a big enough roaster and E.g.’s parents to help eat, we bought a turkey.
I was about to cook the giblets when I remembered James Viscosi’s blog entry last year about giving raw turkey necks to their dogs. And, hey, their dogs are all alive and kicking, so why not try it with my own pupsters?
I broke the turkey neck in half, and called the furchildren outside to the patio. “Sit.”
Wow, a sit in one go.
Standing on the patio, Cai began to chew his piece of turkey neck. Fergus took his to the grass.
“Don’t do that, Fergus, it’ll get dirty. C’mere.” I set Fergus’s turkey neck on the patio.
Fergus moved it to the grass.
Cai stood on the patio, chewing.
Fergus moved his turkey neck to another spot on the grass.
Fergus rolled on his turkey neck.
Fergus made bizarre little puppy yips.
I was flabbergasted. Fergus is the big eater, and finishes his meals before you can pronounce the second b in “kibble”. But here he was, unsure of what to do with the first piece of raw meat ever given him.
Suddenly, a light went on in Fergus’s brain. This wasn’t a toy, it was food! Even better, it was his food! He rocketed all over the yard with his precious Thanksgiving treat, yipping, rolling, thoroughly coating the neck in his secret blend of seven soils and crispy leaf bits. Cai, having finished his meat, followed Fergus around, delicately sniffing each spot where the turkey neck had lain.
Here are some pictures. Enjoy!
Today was the boys’ last class of their first five-lesson session of Agility. After skipping next week for Thanksgiving, they’ll come back for another five lessons before Winter break.
Cai has done quite well so far. He catches on quickly, and except for the perilously tall A-frame, he’s perfectly comfortable with all the equipment.
Fergus had tummy troubles one Sunday morning and missed a class. Fergus is also a little nervous around the equipment. I’m becoming more convinced, in fact, that Fergus’s macho stance (he spent the first three minutes today telling off the largest dog in the class) is a cover-up. Poor tyke.
Today we practised the Dog Walk. It’s a set of three planks, the two end ones sloping up to the level middle one. To execute the Dog Walk correctly, Poochie must stroll its entire length, his paws touching the yellow section on both ends. As you can see, in the photo at top, taken at 4:26:29 pm, Fergus is trotting along the Dog Walk, easy as you please, with E.g. loosely holding his leash. He is emphatically not, you will note, repeatedly abandoning ship as he had been at 4:21:29 pm.
In those intervening five minutes, did E.g. teach him how? No. Did Turtle? Nope. How about the instructor? Not really.
Cai taught him.
Cai’s problem was bouncing along too quickly, skipping merrily off the far end before his feet touched the yellow part. I wasn’t sure how to fix that. Then I watched the little brown Poodle, Lucy, whose humans had been advised to make her sit on the Dog Walk every few feet, to slow her down and build her confidence.
So, en famille, I started Cai along the Dog Walk, and E.g. and Fergus followed on our tails. When Cai stopped, Fergus stopped. And Fergus, trusting Cai, walked all three planks.
Then he walked it all by himself.
Then he walked it all by himself back again, by which time I had my camera out. Ta-da!
The following photos show a new trick we learned today, the Table. You say, “Fang, Table!” and Fang jumps up on it and you throw him a nice raw steak. Eventually you give him the Down command, and he lies down for his porterhouse.
Our dogs know the Down command already though, so here’s the sequence wherein Fergus comes up Shiny: