I do not have very many photos for you in this post, because the weather and my schedule have not been cooperative lately. So this post will be short.
A few days ago I hiked up a mountain in the snow with an old friend and our combined 14 dogs. My ass really hurt the next day, but my heart was happy because TWooie was a Very Good Dog. He didn’t know any of these new dogs but he chose not to be an asshat about it, and was very civilized the whole time. Off-leash and unencumbered by my potential wrath, he sniffed noses politely and even let them cavort near his giant personal space bubble. Perhaps he is mellowing in his old age.
Good boy, TWooie.
At agility class last night, Dexter found a Holy Roller ball (which he didn’t, for once, steal out of The Sadist’s dog gear bag). Once he possessed it, he was not giving it up for anything and wouldn’t let me have it; he pressed his face into the dirt and covered it with both his front feet so I almost couldn’t see it. So instead of arguing with him, I let him keep it and asked him to run the course with it in his mouth. Last night I learned that Dexter cannot multi-task … he was not able to spasm with possessive joy of the toy and take obstacles at the same time – he was running really slowly and kept stopping to figure out where to put his feet. About halfway through the course – actually, mid-weave-poles – he voluntarily dropped the precious item and then kicked into Dexter gear and burned around the rest of course. He learned an important life lesson about not being able to have his cake and eat it too. He then went on to have one of the most productive and flawless classes of his entire life. I imagine there is a lesson in there for me too, but I’m still not sure how his brain knits things together, so I’m still trying to work out what it is.
Good boy, Dexter.
I went for a walk along the dykes with my friend Heather and her French Bulldog Hollie yesterday. Five minutes into the walk, the dogs went flying down the side of the steep dyke and Spring, Dexter and Easy all went tumbling ass-over-teakettle into the water off the edge of a little cliff. The boys hauled their asses out of the water but Spring couldn’t get out and was hollering her fool head off. Heather flew down the hill and landed basically in the water and hoisted Spring out. I stayed at the top of the dyke mostly bemused, because my dogs are creative, athletic autonomous beings who can figure shit out. Spring would have found her way back to land eventually. It’s not like they all fell into a tsunami or something.
So Heather climbed back up the hill and started shedding her clothes like she was auditioning for Magic Mike or something – baseball cap winged this way, coat flung that way – and I was all “what the f*ck are you doing?” and she was all “MY DOG CAN’T SWIM!” and started screaming Hollie’s name. I slid back down the same narrow path o’mud on the side of the dyke and crouched at the edge of the little cliff listening and watching and I heard the tiniest of whimpers to the left. I said “I think she’s over this way” and Heather – no shit – HURLED herself into the tangle of blackberry branches (sans half her outfit) to the left of me and started trying to make her way through that mess to rescue her invisible dog.
I got down on my stomach, rolled up my sleeve and started fishing around in the freezing cold water underneath the little cliff overhang and my fingers grazed a very wet and short snout that I could not see. In the pauses between Heather’s screams of her dog’s name I listened and heard the tiniest of the most pathetic little panicky paddling sounds – a Frenchie trying not to sink to the bottom of the river. I slithered a little closer to the edge and fished around some more and caught hold of an ear and managed to pull her face up and out of the water and grab her collar. Which left me in a bit of a dicey situation, because the hill is like 80 degrees steep and ends in a cliff and I’m laying face down in MUD, balanced on the edge of a precipice and the whole thing is about to tip not in my favour because I am now top-heavy with a soaking wet and half drowned French Bulldog that I can’t let go or she’ll just … sink.
Which is when Addy bounced joyfully down the hill and onto my ASS, and proceeded to do the Italian greyhound “I Killed A Human” victory dance … on my ASS.
Anyway, with some careful maneuvering, I managed to get Hollie out of the water without falling in myself and we got ourselves back up the slope to Heather, who was bleeding all over the grass and pulling blackberry thorns out of all sorts of places on her body. She put her clothes back on and we went for a walk anyway, with Hollie on leash, and Heather making squooshy sounds in her wet boots.
It got me thinking about function versus form and how dangerous it is to breed for the latter rather than the former. Don’t get me wrong – I love Hollie, and I also have me some love for my own useless little dogs, but all of mine at least float (even Addy can swim!). Hollie is shaped like two bowling balls stuck together, so no wonder she can’t perform a perfectly natural function like un-drowning. What are we humans thinking, when we selectively create these little animals that can’t even save themselves from their own stupidity? Italian greyhounds break their legs just being dogs sometimes and Frenchies sink like anchors. We are a naughty, nasty selfish species and we do naughty, nasty selfish things.
Woke up to this beautiful vista on our morning constitutional:
Am I a lucky gal or what?
Well said! About us stupid humans breeding for form versus function! Although I had to laugh at the mental picture of Addy’s victory dance …
It’s true, so many dogs are dangerously non-functional, it’s not even funny.
I laughed so hard at the rescue story that my perfectly functional Aussie lifted his head off the floor to look at me curiously, while the rescue English bullie dozing beside him slept on….
Yes, too true and too sad what we do to dogs. Kudos to Heather for rescuing Spring before going to the rescue of her own dog and for plunging into blackberry bushes to rescue Hollie. Gracie once jumped into blackberry bushes that were growing on the side of a decline and discovered she was suspended in mid air enclosed in thorny bushes with nothing under her feet. Sensible girl that she is, she froze and waited for me to go to the rescue. Fortunately, she was wearing her harness so I could go into the mess a little less far than she did and pick her up like a suitcase by her harness and swing her up to a friend but I still remember those thorns. Your rescue story, while funny, could so easily have been very sad – lucky Hollie.
And lucky you and your morning vista. I remember when you moved to the “sticks” and weren’t too happy about it. It has been impressive and entertaining to watch your transition to a real country girl and I mean that in the most positive way.
Good girls Heather and Food Lady, for going all out for the dogs! Hope you both had some hot mulled wine to take off the chill and the pain.
Nice to see that Twooie can be mellow around strange dogs, even if it’s due more to getting older than a change of heart (unless he’s really minding them less?)
Your posts are great even without pictures. You paint pictures with your words (although your photos are wonderful.)
After being a veterinarian (and sharing my life with several border collies), I’ve developed a short list of dog breeds that I would never voluntarily seek out to live with, just due to that exact phenomenon of breeding for form over function. Horrifying what people have done to these breeds.
Daaaamn. That sounds like one of those things that you’ll laugh about later, but right now? Wow. So glad everyone made it out safe and sound…but yes, I did laugh out loud at your description of Addy’s Ass-dance. ..
Maria Shanley says
Maybe the frenchie needs to wear a life vest when hiking near water? They do make them for dogs, and they have a convenient handle for grabbing dog with.
OMG LMAFROTF over the Addy victory dance, but was paralyzed at the thought of how wrong things could go for Hollie…Thank you Food Lady!