Such a Good Boy

We didn’t know his name, this massive, chocolate-colored pit bull. He sat in the reception area of a veterinary clinic with two good Samaritans who’d encountered him on their morning walk. I’m leery of big dogs, but this handsome guy insisted on being friends. His tail wagged like a windshield wiper on full speed, and periodically he’d offer an enthusiastic bark to remind us he was part of the conversation going on around him.

I said, “He looks like a Roscoe to me.”

The female half of the Good Samaritan couple gasped. “That’s exactly what I said, isn’t it, Honey?”

He nodded. “Yep, but he doesn’t answer to that. He’s not Roscoe, but he’s been microchipped. We hope they can track down his owners, or at least provide us with a name.”

The four of us, including Not Roscoe, sat waiting—them for an answer and me for my cat, Gracie.

A young man entered the building with measured strides, and Not Roscoe went into observation mode. Where the dog had been clownish and friendly with me, he went quiet, almost respectful of the young man.

Two vet techs emerged from one of the exam rooms carrying a stretcher. They followed the young man to his truck. From my location I could see them opening the tailgate and then gently lifting a German Shepherd from the truck bed and onto the stretcher. I felt tears clogging my eyes as the young man held open the door for the stretcher bearers.

Not Roscoe laid his head on his paws as the stretcher passed by, and a mournful whimper rose from his throat. It was beautiful and chilling. One dog acknowledging the pain and fear of another.

When the young man, head bent, tears flowing unchecked, left the exam room after some time had passed, Not Roscoe ventured a question. But grief was too strong and the young man left without a word.

The Good Samaritan couple petted him and said what every dog longs to hear, “You’re such a good boy.”

He earned that.

Peace, people.

Last Year’s Greatest Hits Countdown: Number Three

The post that came in at number three for 2020 is one of my personal favorites. I wrote it about Toby, a special dog who, in his lumbering way stole my heart. He also taught me patience and renewed my interest in physics. Rest In Peace, sweet Toby.

I give you Newton’s First Law of Motion as Applied to Walking the Dog.

Toby is the dog. The guy in blue is my son.

https://nananoyz5forme.wordpress.com/2018/10/09/newtons-first-law-of-motion-as-applied-to-walking-the-dog/?preview=true&preview_id=15688&preview_nonce=8c77d94703

Peace, people!

For the Love of Dog

I don’t have a dog, but I absolutely love them. Maybe when Studly Doright retires we’ll adopt an older dog, but for right now we just like to admire the dogs of others.

This morning I attended VeggieFest at Tom Brown Park in Tallahassee. There were all sorts of food vendors there selling vegetarian and vegan fare, along with folks hawking books on healthy lifestyle choices and others advertising yoga classes—I won a free class session. But best of all, there were dogs.

This is Pippa

And Pippa’s best friend, Bear.
Not a dog, but pretty cute.

The weather was cool, but sunny. I ate way too much. Hopefully dog petting burns up lots of calories.

Peace and love, people!

Who’s a Good Girl?

Last weekend Studly Doright went on a motorcycle adventure. He and a group of friends from Tennessee, Virginia, and other locales, converged on the small town of Dillard, Georgia, for a few days of dual sport riding in the mountains.

(For those not acquainted with dual sport riding, it’s fairly self-explanatory. The motorcycles for dual sporting are licensed for street riding, but also equipped for off road trail riding.)

Studly was a late edition to the trip when plans for a different kind of motorcycling tour fell through at almost the last minute. He put all his spare energy into getting his dual sport bike ready. Much farkling* took place in a short amount of time.

I was concerned that he didn’t have the right gear. The group was heading into the Appalachian mountains, and the weather was supposed to take a turn towards winter-like temperatures. Still, he’s a grown man, so I kissed him goodbye and wished him good luck.

Even though the group roughed it during the day, the organizer, G, planned their route to make sure their nights were spent in motels, so they had WiFi service and phone connectivity. I felt better about the trip knowing I could speak to Studly each evening.

He said the mornings were mind numbingly cold, but the warm afternoons made for perfect riding. Every day he had an anecdote for me. My favorite is about a water crossing.

As you might expect, water crossings can be tricky, and no one wants to drop a bike in an ice cold river, for a number of reasons. The group of riders approached a wide river that was flowing at a rapid clip. Swirls and eddies indicated there were rocks of indeterminate size beneath the water.

The first rider made his way across, encountering deep water on his route, so when Studly took his turn next, he veered a couple of yards left of where the other rider had gone. Studly’s route was no better than the first rider’s, and while neither fell into the river, the ride was more harrowing and the water deeper than was comfortable.

(That’s not a picture of Studly, or anyone else we know, but it could’ve been, right?)

Our friend G ventured into the river after Studly, trying to pick out a shallower path with fewer rocks. About midway across he stopped, trying to discern the best way to continue without swamping his bike.

Along about then, a local man and his black Labrador Retriever approached Studly and the first rider. He’d heard them calling back and forth across the river to the remaining riders and wondered if they needed help.

The dog was joyful, as Labs are known to be, and ran boisterously between Studly and the first rider, enjoying the attention and “attagirls!”

When the dog noticed G out in the middle of the river she took off to get some loving from the stranded rider, unerringly leaping and bounding from one point to another without ever getting in water more than three inches deep. She basically gave G, and the remainder of the group, the best path for continuing across the river. They all remained relatively dry, thanks to a dog.

Any doubt about that man’s best friend thing? I should think not.

(Again, not THE dog, but he is standing in water….)

Peace, people!

*Farkle/farkles: An ADV/dual-sport term for gear you’ve added or want to add to your bike, such as more lights, GPS, heated grips and so on. Usage: “I just bought that new KLR 650, so I’ve got to go load up on some farkles before the next ride.” 

Grandpets

Currently I’m in western Illinois hanging out with my daughter and her family. On Friday the adults went to work, the children went to school, and I got to snuggle with the pets.

That’s Match, above. He’s a friendly guy, who hates storms and tolerates pesky cats.

Below, is Snuggles, a pesky cat.

She is beautiful, but something of a little stinker. Messing with Match is her favorite pastime.

The three of us passed a stormy day together in quiet companionship; although, as soon as the thunder and lightning moved on the cat was back to attacking the dog.

Peace, people!

Foul Weather Friends

Get ready to say “awwwww!”

Match, a chihuahua, is the elder statespet of my daughter, Ashley’s, home having been adopted several years ago. When the family added another adoptee, Snuggles, a couple of weeks ago, Match wasn’t all that thrilled.

Snuggles, a pastel calico, tried to make friendly overtures towards her canine sibling, but Match was having nothing to do with her. Of course sometimes Snuggles’s efforts at forming a friendship were a bit aggressive–the dog’s wagging tail was just too intriguing to resist attacking.

But last night as a thunderstorm passed through their area, my daughter snapped two pictures that melted my heart. Poor Match was frightened by the storm, and Snuggles came to his rescue:

Ashley said Snuggles calmed and comforted Match during the storm. Maybe this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship, or maybe the two will only be foul weather friends. Regardless, this made me smile.

Peace, people and pets.

Newton’s First Law of Motion as Applied to Walking the Dog

Isaac Newton’s first law of motion, also known as the law of inertia, states that an object at rest will stay at rest and an object in motion will stay in motion with the same speed and direction unless acted upon by unbalanced force.

Even though I once taught science to students in fifth and sixth grades I’d never paused to ponder just how Newton’s Laws of Motion applied to dog walking until this morning.

Last night I’d told my son, Jason, and my daughter-in-law that I’d rise early and take Toby, their elderly, furry, coffee table-sized dog, for a walk so they didn’t have to before leaving for their respective jobs. I figured it was the least I could do since they’ve put up with me for nearly a week now.

Toby and I got off to a great start. Jason had already helped him down the steps to the backyard. When I went out Toby was joyfully rolling in the wet grass, so all I had to do was hook the leash onto his collar and coax him through the gate. There was a brief hiccup when Toby saw Jason’s pickup truck pulling out of the driveway. He really wanted to go with his favorite human.

After Jason was safely gone, I allowed Toby to find his path, and he set a slow pace along the sidewalk. When one walks Toby, it’s more of a shuffle than a stride. The goal, of course, was to get him to poop, so when he slowed down even further and began avidly sniffing around a bush I got the poop bag out and was ready to clean up after him. I didn’t realize it wasn’t pooping he had on his mind.

Toby might be old, half deaf, and arthritic, but when a cat shot out from under that apparently delicious smelling bush he quickly went from being an object at rest to being an object in motion. As for me, I became an unbalanced force. By some miracle I kept a firm hold on the leash and applied some energy to keep him from escaping into the yard where I now realized multiple cats were lounging about.

With more nimbleness and agility than I believed I possessed, I managed to insert myself between Toby and the cats, applying an equal and opposite amount of force until he realized resistance was futile. Whew! For a brief moment I knew the whole situation could’ve gone sideways. Lucky for me, Newton’s Laws held true.

We continued our walk, and Toby found a suitable pooping spot. Now we’re safely back in the house where he’s chasing cats in his sleep. I’m pretty sure Newton’s Laws don’t mean a thing in his dreams.

Peace, people.

Poop Duty

Toby, my adorable coffee table sized grand dog, is an elderly Golden Retriever/Something Else mix. He is sweet and handsome, stubborn and manipulative. Taking him for a walk is an adventure played out in slow motion.

I have almost no experience in getting a dog to go poop. I have two cats, neither of whom needs to be taken for a walk in order to do her business. Set up a nice litter pan and the cats are good to go. Number one or number two. Sometimes both.

Dogs are not cats. They have to give one a signal indicating that going potty is on their agenda. People who live with dogs get in sync with their respective canines’ signals, but someone who has only cats (like me, for instance) often err, either on the side of being hyper vigilant about watching for signals or on the side of being too lax. I’m on the hyper vigilant end of the spectrum.

Left alone with Toby for the better part of two days I worried almost constantly that I wasn’t catching his signals, He’d whine, I’d grab his leash. He’d stand up, I’d coax him to the door. He’d lift his leg, I’d panic. Thanks to my vigilance, we didn’t have a single accident; although, I might’ve worn poor Toby out.

I’ll bet he’s careful what signals he sends out tomorrow.

Peace, people!