Sunday, February 28, 2010

Adventures in Babysitting

I knew Leeloo would have the most patience with Esme. She's a pretty laid back sort of a dog when it comes to Small Creatures. Esme was trying to play with Leeloo's tail and Leeloo bore the attention with admirable patience.Something about this photo jogs a memory.Could be Archer's litter prepared Leeloo for Small Creature babysitting. Leeloo will always be the odd duck of the pack ... even with the addition of a little black fuzzball amongst a house of redheads.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

The Babysitters Club

Esme is settling in well. It's day three and Archer and Leeloo are actually trying to play with her. She is a mindful of their size and they are careful about being careful - under supervision of course. We headed out for a walk and although I carried Esme part of the way she insisted on running after the Ridgebacks for most of the way.

She already knows how to stride out like a star show dog!
Using those little legs to catch up to the pack!
It feels good to be part of something bigger than you are.
Attempting to catch a lift on the Leeloo train.
Raimi and Esme on the road to a fine friendship. Who says size matters?Going for walks is the best fun ever!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Let It Ride

Back to a couple days ago ... when I went to pick up Esme we also enjoyed what will possibly be one of the last toboggans of the year. The temperature is consistently staying above zero now and I don't think the snow is long for this world. I'm sure we'll have another dump or two but chances are it won't stick around long.

Archer on my Dad's first run wasn't sure what was going on although he did follow me down the hill the first time. The dogs thought it was rollicking good fun. Okay ... that's two thirds of lie. Leeloo thought is was stupid. Everything about her indicated that while she felt obliged to follow me up and down the hill it was on hard terms. As in ... I'd rather be doing something else. Archer couldn't have been happier. He would have followed us up and down that hill all day. He ran ahead of the sled, kicking up snow in my face as he ran down the track. He ran beside the sled with an expression on his face that said 'You are SO SILLY MOMMY!" And he ran behind me with such glee and enthusiasm that once he actually stepped on the sled.
Raimi was pretty reliable. I am not sure how much 'fun' he was having but he was consistent with his loyalty to me. I tell you it's tough to stay in the track when you are trying to take photos and have a 100lb dog bearing down on you ...
Everytime we came down the hill Archer was right on top of his welcoming committee detail. A couple of times he was almost on top of the sledder.
I had a few(several) moments of questionable driving ability and undeniable flexibility. You can see Leeloo is less than impressed ... again with the 'this is stupid' expression.
The dogs also felt it was necessary to converge on my Dad as he reached the bottom ... their concern was touching - until they swarm and things become less about not hitting one of them and more about being trampled.
It was a great day for tobogganing with sunshine, well packed snow, good times and happy dogs. Why should children have all the fun?

Thursday, February 25, 2010


It has been a bare 18 hours since Esme came home but things are settling a bit. I am struck by the difference between Puli puppies and Ridgeback puppies. It's hard to describe, a Puli is literally a shadow stitched to your side and a Ridgeback is a Peter Pan shadow, it knows where it should be but is far more interested in flying free - if that makes any sense. It's the difference between a shepherd's companion and an independent hunter.

This morning Archer made great strides toward making friends with her. He will follow quite close to sniff but if she turns around he will back off a couple feet ... just in case she breathes fire or something.
He was wagging and did a little playbow which at the last moment he turned into a stretch. I guess he doesn't want her to think he's coming on too strong.
Every time he follows and wags at her I tell him what a good boy he is. He looks at me as if to say "See how Very Brave I am Mommy?"
She also play-bowed a couple times, tentatively because I think she knows that 'playing' with a dog Archer's size could end up being a bad idea.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Everything Is Illuminated

Currently in my livingroom there are three Ridgebacks asleep on various pieces of furniture(one is on my chair since I'm not in it) and there is a Puli puppy asleep in her crate. Esme came home today and after some time exploring and inspecting, she started to whine a bit which I took as the need for a bit of a nap. I was right. She seemed unable to settle on her own somewhere so I popped her in her crate and voila ... she is fast asleep. The Ridgebacks and I headed out, once again, to Malagash to toboggan and pick up Esme. I'll post the toboggan photos tomorrow but for today we have a new family member to welcome. The Ridgeback have been less than thrilled to have an addition in the family but I'm sure that's the same with all new 'kids'.
Raimi is the least 'freaked out' - he is taking it in stride and as long as his adoring gazes continue to be answered by my loving touch he is fine with whatever happens in life. Leeloo seems to be completely baffled why Esme is here. She is a pretty easy going dog and reasonably tolerant of new things. Sometimes I have to insist on my way or the highway but she rarely challenges my decisions. She will accept Esme as long as she's sure she's staying.
Archer is, predictably, terrified. He stayed on the bed where he was (pretty sure) she couldn't get to him. He won't let her within a foot of his body and he only sniffs her when he is sure she is facing the other way(sometimes it's hard to tell with a Puli). I will not tolerate ridiculous panic behaviour when they are not in actual danger so my fuse will grow shorter and shorter the longer he keeps up the Big Panic Show. Praise when she is allowed near and not forcing the relationship will see things work out but for now peering at each other through the bars on the bed will have to do. The cats initially were all WTF? but have now settled into WGASA(who gives a shit anyway) - typical cats.
I'm sure she will fit right in and the dogs will eventually grow accustomed to the idea there is another dog living here that is not a Ridgeback. Only Raimi has ever lived a life that included another breed of dog and I think this will be an exciting time in the lives of my pack of hounds.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Close Encounters of the Third Kind

I don't only live with Ridgebacks, I also have three cats who occasionally make the blog. I mentioned the other week that Ceilidh had two fleas. I think that's all she had but I bought flea shampoo and wanted to bath her anyway. The other two cats do not have fleas and I am just baffled by the whole thing. At any rate Ceilidh was getting a bath regardless to get the flea dirt off her and rid her of any lurkers.

Bathing a cat ranks right up there with swimming with leeches and sliding naked down a sand dune. Fortunately Ceilidh, prior to my ownership of her, had her front claws removed. This means she can do no more than grip me with her little cat mittens and look stricken. I was mindful of her rear claws but since she tends to be a fairly mellow cat I didn't anticipate too much of a problem.
Initially she was mortified, then horrified, then resigned, then mortified again until we were done. She is not as fat as I thought which is good, just a little portly about the belly.
Once the process was complete and I rubbed her down and she hopped onto the floor where Weasley spent quite a bit of time sniffing her and looking disgusted.
She spent a couple hours 'drying' herself and being followed by the dogs and the other two cats as though she were some alien being that just landed on Planet Redhead. "Take me to your leader."

Monday, February 22, 2010

For Love of the Game

In honor of the Olympic spirit running rampant across This Great Nation, I thought I'd show off some of my medal winning Snow Catchers. They have been training for 2 whole months and I think it shows.

Leeloo always makes sure that she is the first off the starting blocks. She is the reigning gold medalist and this year I don't think her competition has much of a shot at the top of the podium. Looking perplexed is unlikely to bring home the loot. It's a real marvel how she contorts herself to win. She is of the mind that second place is just the first loser.
If Raimi is to get a piece of the pie I have to ensure Leeloo is distracted and then throw him a pity bone. I call this his 'Baby Bird' impression. He's really a bronze medal sort of a dog ...
On the ice the other day Archer impressed me with his Olympic effort at snow catching. He got some great airtime, good form, nice clean lines, great expression ... a true athlete.
Then again, he learned his skills from the Michael Phelps of snow catchers, so I shouldn't be too surprised. Raimi and Archer are rooting for (overly modest) Team Canada and while Leeloo *is* a 'dual citizen' her All American 'In it to win it' attitude is hard to ignore.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Meet the Feebles

I headed out to Malagash today to visit Esme because I can't pick her up until Wednesday this week. There was a big snow storm last week and my parents couldn't get to the vet so they had to reschedule until this week - that meant a week's delay in bringing little Esme home. I took the dogs with me to introduce to her and her siblings so that when she came here it wouldn't be such a shock. Initially, when they saw the Ridgebacks, the Puli puppies were startled and when one puppy freaked out so did everyone else. Sigh ... there's always one ...

Anyway, they gradually got used to each other and eventually we let the puppies out to play for a bit and then put everyone away except Esme. She is a little spitfire that's for sure! Not scared of the Ridgebacks but just cautious about her safety and mindful of their size. And well she should be ...

It's not a very good photo, the flash was doing some crazy stuff, but Leeloo and Esme's inspection of each other was brief and informative. They will have more time to size each other up soon enough.
Esme was apologetic and ingratiating, as puppies tend to be when greeting strange dogs, and Raimi thought she was boring at best but worth a cursory sniff. His expression, most of the day, seemed to be saying "Surely you are not thinking of bringing one of those home."
This is Raimi's nose and Esme using me as a shield. She was wagging the whole time and trying to bite my fingers which is a promising sign. You can see her bright little eyes gleaming up out of her coat.

Archer would not get closer than 5 feet to any of the puppies except when they were safely shut away in their expen and asleep, then he girded his loins and cautiously approached a sleeping puppy. It was lying against the side of the expen with some of its coat sticking through the bars and he was brave enough to sniff it for a moment and then scuttle away. My mom called him the Cowardly Lion Dog ... I think that just might stick.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Stage Fright

Ah finally, Leeloo taking a moment to look as nice as I know she is. More and more these days she is allowing me the pleasure of standing still enough long enough to capture her beautiful feminine outline. And then the momemnt snaps and crinkles into oblivion. Under the snow, by her feet, the ice suddenly shifted and a soft WHUMP! rose up from beneath her(not to worry, we are actually still on the beach which is covered in snow and ice floes). I didn't realize until I downloaded the photos that I took the picture at the exact moment she was startled by the noise. You can almost hear her saying "What was THAT?!?"And then she composes herself marvelously and resumes the previously noted elegance I know so well.