Monday, November 30, 2009


It's less than 24 hours from the first day of December and we just go back from the beach. It was cool and brisk but not unpleaseant if you dress for it. We wandered up and down for an hour until I ran out of fresh water for the dogs and Raimi started giving me the 'Can we go home Mommy?" look.

The highlights of the walk were sticks and holes. I discussed sticks in the Stick It blog a few days ago so I won't bore with more photos and tales of stick wars. I will 'bore' you with holes though. Get it? Bore? >cough<

Archer likes to dig. Sand is easy to dig in so he can create a pretty large hole pretty fast. This is my favorite position. What's not to love? He can get pretty intense about it too - very focused. Is there something on my nose?Raimi almost always continues the hole Archer has already started. Not a dog of great original thought is The Boy. Sometimes he loses sight of things.
Two heads are better than one. Or rather, one brain and two heads. I love the expression of deep concentration on The Boy's face ... I expect an implosion any moment; however, he is at his sweetest when he is trying to use his brain. Both of them should really just leave the thinking up to Leeloo who rarely lowers herself to wallow in the dirt

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Soul Food

I took these photos a while ago of the dogs helping me make their dinner. Leeloo takes particular interest and occasionally pokes one of the dishes to remind me how the food goes in the dish. "Remember Mommy how the food ... the food there, it goes in the dish right? See the dish? It's empty. Fill it."Archer is also very interested in the proceedings. He looks very concerned about something; possibly how long the process is taking. Once the food is on the floor it disappears as fast as they can inhale it. And inhale they do since sometimes they have to stop and cough out a piece from their esophagus. It doesn't slow them down much. Raimi is a little slower; he usually takes about three times as long as the others do to eat so ... about two minutes. He doesn't seem to think it's a race so he eats at his own pace. Always has always will. His dish goes in between the hot water heater and the expen to protect him from the other dog's attention while he eats.
This arrangement is good for Raimi because he can eat at his leisure without having to fend off Leeloo and Archer who express considerable concern that he is eating so slowly. Of course, this does not stop them from waiting for him to finish so they can check his bowl for any missed kibble.
It hardly matters that Raimi never leaves a spec behind ... they will always double check just in case.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Big Bang Theory

Sometimes the wind is your friend and sometimes it's your arch enemy. Since the Ridgebacks are both scent and sight hounds (try arguing with me and see how far you get) if a good smell crosses their path its almost as though a piece of string has been attached to the tip of their nose and they are pulled toward the trail without much effort.

This results in hearing loss. Hearing loss can lead to all kinds of Bad Situations such as bolting through the woods, crossing a road un-supervised, and at it's worst - Getting Lost.
It also results in Deep Thoughts which never turn out to involve things like Pulitzer Prizes or research grants.
The best case scenario is what happened the other day which was the Frozen Body combined with Deep Thoughts and resulted in only minor hearing loss. It was a Lucky Day for the critter at the other end of the smell.

Friday, November 27, 2009

The Thorn Birds

Last Thursday, the day Halo left, we got back from saying good bye to her after our walk and Leeloo came into the house with a cut on her right rear foot. More specifically a puncture and a slice. It may be the same thing Halo had cut herself on a couple weeks earlier, I've looked everywhere in the yard but just cannot find the culprit. The slice had a flap on it so I cut it off because the skin was drying and it was catching on things. You can see the triangle shaped hole in her toe. Problem with foot injuries like this is that they bleed and bleed and it's hard to stop them because everytime the dog puts its foot down it forces blood through the foot. Not hard to guess why it will keep bleeding. I went through bandaids and tape and eventually managed to get it to the point where it was sealed enough that it stopped actively bleeding. She was lame for a couple days but only if she had to walk on gravel so we stuck to grass and sand for the most part ensuring of course that the cut did not get filled with dirt.

So what does Miss Legs Leeloo do? Why she gets something else jammed into her left front foot. This time it was a thorn she picked up racing through the grass with Raimi. We were out on the boardwalk heading back to the truck and they wanted one last romp through the grass. After a few minutes she returned to me and stood with her paw up looking forlorn. I checked but couldn't immediately see why she was lame and she was fidgeting something awful. I made her stand so I could take a really close look at her toes and there it was, a little piece of grass or something stuck to her pad. I figured it was a little thorn that was jammed in the ridges of her pad because it's coarse.

A moment while I interject - when I left Calgary my friend Phil got me a going away gift. Now, if you knew Phil you'd know that he only really likes to give practical gifts, things like flashlights, winter coats, tool sets, mattress heater pads ... things of this nature. All appreciated and all very thoughtful. So what does he come up with for my trip across Canada with 4 dogs and 3 cats? Why an Official AKC Approved Pet First Aid Kit of course! It's incredibly thoughtful and I hoped I'd never need it. So I keep it with me at all times when I'm walking the dogs because we are often deep in the woods or way out on a beach somewhere. It's in my back pack which holds water for me and the dogs, a chocolate bar(in case of low blood sugar miles from a store), dog treats, three leads, scarf, gloves, hat, and of course camera. See? Isn't it marvelous? So since I knew I couldn't pull out the thorn with my fingers I figured any first aid kit worth its salt must have tweezers. So I whipped out the kit, rifled through and voila! Tweezers. It took some doing but eventually I got hold of that slippery little sucker and pulled it out. Except it was not what I expected. It was much much larger. It's almost a half an inch long! No wonder Leeloo was lame. It was hard to get hold of too because the very tip that had broken off only left about a millimetre sticking out of her pad. It was like the iceberg of thorns.

In my first aid kit what else do you suppose they include? Why a specimen case of course. So I popped it in there for future reference photo taking, packed it all up, checked Leeloo's foot for blood(just a drop) and we headed on our way. No more lameness and Phil's thoughtful gift saves the day!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Three's Company

Come on knock on our doooooooor (come on knock on our door) ...Someone's waiting for yoooouuuuuu (someone's waiting for you) ... Where the kisses are hers and hers(his)and his ... Three's company too!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Stick It

All my dogs love sticks. Chewing on them I mean, not fetching and whatnot. I throw them, they run gleefully after them, they argue over who gets the stick(Leeloo) and if I want to throw it again I have to go and extract it.

If they happen to find their own stick it is immediately taken up, brandished covetously and then protected from all comers. Well, for the most part. The Boy is a lover, not a fighter, so when he acquires a stick it is not usually long for his possession. He picks one up, finds a spot and gets ready for a good chew. Look at him. So innocent and sweet. "I have a stick Mommy."
Aaaaand ... gone. Leeloo now has his stick. No artifice with her, she just walks up and takes it out of his mouth. He puts on the sad eyes for a moment, tempting me to give the stick back to him but then something catches his eye (a bird, a leaf, a piece of paper in the wind) ...
And he forgets the trauma of his stick loss. His head is happily stuffed with fluff ... I call it his Winnie-the-Pooh complex.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Golden Child

On sunny days in particular I like to head to the beach and since I assume winter will show up eventually I want to get in as many beach days as I can. I had several errands to run earlier in the day so we didn't get out until about 3pm when the sun was beginning it's descent into the horizon. The change in sunlight is a curse and a blessing - it means lower light levels but better color saturation so as long as you are aware of the pros and cons you can get some pretty nice photos.

Leeloo pays homage to the sun god Ra. Archer gilded with honey drops. The Boy enveloped by spun gold and kissed with caramel.
My boys bathe in the gift of heavenly light and earthly shadow - proving that balance is eternal and inexorable.

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Egg & I

Oops. Well, I did want scrambled eggs but this was not what I had in mind.
Ah well, I have dogs right? Raimi was the only dog inside so I offered him first dibs. Nothing doing. He didn't appear to realize it was edible and I couldn't convince him otherwise.
So I let in the two hooligans and they didn't see it on the floor and almost skidded through the slime. I herded them away from it and then pointed with much encouragement 'Yummy, see? Yummy." There was much staring, sniffing and general confusion. Mostly the ears and wrinkles said "What is it?" Eventually, after the yolk broke from a too vigorous jab with a Leeloo nose they decided it must be edible and it quickly disappeared. Man, it just figures that the things you don't want them to eat they are all over and the most troublesome and annoying food to clean up is the one they won't touch.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

New Moon

I'm thinking I should update on how Halo is settling in with her new person Pia and her surroundings. She arrived home on Friday and made herself comfortable on the couch - something Pia had not previously allowed. I can't imagine Halo ever accepting that she would not be allowed on the couch - probably one of her cardinal rules. She is big on demonstrating how small she can make herself and thus the no couch rule should be struck from the list. She discovered quite quickly that her home has a bay window she can easily see out of which also comes pretty high on the list of things Halo requires to be happy. So she spends a lot of time there watching the naughty squirrels go about their business. If only they knew they were separated from Death by Halo by a mere pane of glass. Saturday saw her first trip to the barn where she thankfully ignored the horses for the most part until she realized there was a *person* on the horse. Then her interest peaked somewhat - trust Halo to not give a crap about the huge snorting beast that smells funny (marvelous in my opinion but to each their own) and to focus on the person perched several feet above her head. She also took a tour of the barn and on the second circuit, when she was a little more comfortable with her surroundings, she discovered that gift from the doGs ... horse poop. If Halo wasn't sure about this whole 'new home' thing before ... she sure is now.

She also met the resident 'pot bellied' pig who is quite large. Apparently it was a matter of great importance that Halo get close to the pig, but sadly it has had some bad experiences with dogs and Halo won't be allowed within striking distance until it gets to know her. Pigs are smart and so is she and I'm sure one day they'll be fine.

She also heard the donkey bray. Pia tells me her head almost twisted off when she heard it ... many many animals, including horses can be freaked out by a donkey's bray so it's best to introduce that sort of thing when you are prepared for a gong show.

I will hear more about Halo's adventures and I'll be sure to update since she has so many people who are interested in her well being. I like to think I'm a pretty good judge of character and it really feels like serendipity intervened for Halo to find her perfect match.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Share the Wealth

One of the very first things we are taught is how to share. This does not appear to be a natural inclination, not in people and certainly not in dogs. But sometimes you capture moments where sharing is done with pleasure. Take a stick for example. A perfect sharing object if it's the right size.

Here we see how sharing comes to be. Notice how Leeloo is reaching for the long end of the stick.
And here we see sharing being demonstrated as an equal distribution of the object being shared.The object seems to bring an equal amount of pride to each individual and so that feeling is also shared.And what better way to share than to bring the object to Mommy to show how sharing was accomplished and thus reap the reward of shared praise. I like to think I have taught my dogs well in this oft forgotten art

Friday, November 20, 2009

The Hills Have Eyes

Our first day without Halo and the dynamic of the dogs is still working itself out. Leeloo is the front runner to take over as my Number One, then Archer and finally, of course, Raimi. It is a perfect day so I decided to head to the beach with the dogs and turns out it was a good call.

Leeloo at the top of the eroded hill gazes down upon the peaceful lapping waves of a slack tide. It would seem she does rather well in silhouette(never mind the ears).
Raimi didn't understand the point of the rock climbing expedition and stayed close to me. He'd have been safer up with the kids because they kept knocking loose rocks that rained down to trouble his simple brain. Archer was the mountain goat of the team. He was up and down so many times I lost track of where he was. Archer looking to see if Leeloo and Raimi will take his 'chase me' bait although he knows he outstrips them both in agility on the hillside. He's such a teenage show off. Leeloo and Raimi contemplate chasing a crazy puppy up and down a steep slope and decide ... they're fine right where they are.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Littlest Hobo

I am sitting now in a three dog house and it's pretty quiet. I put that down to the walk we just went on but there is also the fact of the missing dog. Halo is a bare half hour along her 16 hour journey to her new Quebec home. Just before Pia arrived with her friend Judy we kept a watch out the window. She was patient and never took her eyes from the driveway. A few minutes of waiting and there was the car, she was so excited!We went for our final walk in the woods together so she'd be tired and relaxed for the drive. Here is Pia and Halo together, the start of a beautiful friendship.
She was her usual captivating self and made friends with Pia and Judy quite easily. Like I expected anything different!I was careful to explain how special Halo is and that lots of photos and updates would be important so every one of Halo's fans would know she was doing okay. Here she is with her two boys on this fine crisp fall day ... some day soon we will meet again.