How did 13 years pass so quickly?
Happiest of birthdays to my precious baby boy, the Big 13 today!
How did 13 years pass so quickly?
Happiest of birthdays to my precious baby boy, the Big 13 today!
Here at Wootube we are not just a bunch of pretty dogfaces. We also offer life hacks! Today we’re going to talk about the best way to Jimmy Hoffa your super old dog and get away with it.
First, pick a nice day to take your pack of incorrigible hooligans for a walk along the river. Don’t bring any human friends with you, because those are witnesses and they may testify against you later (although this life hack also works for getting rid of unwanted friends!). Now the timing of this walk is very important, so plan accordingly – choose a year following catastrophic floods in an area that was once upon a time under water but was unwisely drained by stupid humans 100 years ago for the purpose of creating farm land, and these waters that want very much to reclaim their homeland are kept at bay by some piddly little pumps that are way past their expiry date and too expensive to replace. A wet, cool Spring after this flooding event is ideal because it keeps the ground nice and moist, which is an integral part of your grand design. BUT pick the first really warm day of the year for this walk, and make sure you have not yet shaved down your super old dog, so he is all too-hot hair and yeti feet, and still a little achy with winter weather arthritis.
Drive this hairy-footed elder and his annoying, car-whining pals out to this river, and park as far away from where you’re going to Do The Deed as possible, to ensure he’s tired and thirsty when you arrive at your destination. Be sure to stop along the way and take a photo of a random blue heron that saw you all coming and went “well shit” and took off for dog-free waters.
Walk for a good 20 minutes at a decent clip and curse yourself for wearing a flannel hoodie in 18 degree weather LIKE AN IDIOT. Then when you finally reach the part of the river where you can walk right down to the water, half heartedly say “hey no don’t go down there silly” and then watch your 16.5 year old dog hobble down into the water to get a drink.
Now remember it’s been gross and rainy off and on for months, so all the extra silt and mud that got washed up onto the banks during the flood has had no time to dry out. This muck, which LOOKS dry to the casual observer, will be your friend in this dastardly endeavor. In reality, it’s actually basically quicksand and your old, thirsty dog is going to GET STUCK IN IT after wading into about 2 inches of river. It will look something like this:
At first he won’t notice, because he’s way too busy quenching his thirst and thinking evil thoughts about you for making him come on this walk in the first place. This is your opportunity to casually pull the Chuck-It out of your bag and start whipping balls around so MAISIE THE BALL-OBSESSED SUPER IRRITANT WITH THE SHRIEKY NON STOP BARK will stop bothering you, and walk away. Eventually, your ancient dog will decide he is damn good and ready to follow you and will attempt to escape the mud prison he is mired in up to this chest, only to discover his youth has abandoned him and he can’t move his legs.
This is where you must steel your resolve, for upon discovering the quicksand is going to suck him down into the depths of hell where he belongs, he will begin to WAIL. The wailing will echo around the mountains that border the river and sing his tale of woe to any and all passerby. This is a problem, because you picked a nice day and there are lots of cyclists up on the dyke behind you, and they’re going to stop and take a look to see what’s happening. Your plan is foiled, and you have no choice but to go back and retrieve your pitiful stuck-in-the-mud.
It’s a good thing I wore my Muck Boots, because those things are tall AND they hate to come off – like I have literally given myself a charlie horse more than once trying to disengage them from my legs. Because I walked down to the river to rescue Wootie and sunk right in almost to the top of my boots. I hauled him out by the collar (while he screamed at me) and sorta slid him across the mud to higher ground. Then through a combination of contortion, foul language and the assistance of a downed tree, I managed to eventually haul myself outta there too, though it was touch and go a couple of times, where I almost left my boots behind, even though they are are preternaturally fused to my calves. It was the best workout I’ve had in a long time. 2/10 do not recommend though. That muddy silt is like glue and even after we wandered over to the a more stable part of the river and I stood in it so deep a little water crept in the tops and made my feet all wet, that damn mud is still stuck to my boots.
Wootie was not too happy with the impromptu crossfit session.
But we went to the other river bank, which has sand and gravel instead of quicksand, and finally got his drink. That quicksand, incidentally, is still mostly adhered to his legs and stomach as well.
I know I say this often, but it really can’t be overstated – I feel so lucky every day of my life that at over 16 years of age, Mr. Woo can still get himself into predicaments like this, by virtue of being mostly immortal. I don’t know too many other dogs his age that can go on a two-hour excursion to the river, nearly get sucked into Middle Earth by demon-sand, and still muster up the energy to play a little fetch.
I should have named him Grit. He really is astonishing; he just keeps going and going. For his age, he is really remarkable. He is aging so slowly that sometimes I forget that, oh, 14 years ago THIS was the Wootie I lived with:
He just slows down at glacial speed – I simultaneously forget he was ever young, and forget that he is actually old.
My other old dog is having a tough time of it these days. He has what Dr. Tanya called “significant arthritis in spine and shoulders.” I guess going 110% for almost 13 years will do that to a dog. Poor old guy. He doesn’t run match faster for the ball than Wootie does and getting up and down is really hard for him these days.
The worst for him is getting in and out of the van – he’s my biggest dog, so he only fits in the big double crate in the back, but that’s the highest entry point and he has a hell of a time getting in. He has do this big nervous circle and then take a run at it (it’s kinda of funny at first, because it sorta looks like he’s trying to sneak up on the crate) and then he launches himself in, with varying degrees of success. Sometimes he misses and smashes his face into the bumper. Sometimes he crashes into the back of the crate because he overshoots. Today he launched himself in and his front half crumpled like a bag of potato chips and he whacked his back on the doorframe of the crate. It must have hurt because he was too sore to turn around and spent the whole ride home with his face crammed up against the back of the crate. I am thinking of giving the ole credit card a work out and installing a hitch and those twist hitch steps so he can climb in without braining himself. I can’t use a ramp because there is literally nowhere to put one in the van to carry it around.
At this rate, Wootie may outlast Dexter :(
I cannot explain this, and after all these years, I have given up trying.
I love my dogs, but they are NOT RELAXING to take places. Keeping track of them all is a full time job in and of itself, and half of them cannot resist running after things they deem interesting, which includes virtually all people and dogs they espy. And by half of them, I mean all the ones under 30 lbs. Like how come the smaller they are, the more annoying they have to be? Are they overcompensating for their diminutive statures? You would think after all this time, and all the places they have gone, they would have developed some chill, BUT THEY HAVE NOT. Sometimes their excitement and momentum carries empty-headed Peetie along with them, and Maisie might half heartedly join them, but if it weren’t for tiny, reactive little turdfaces, walks would be a lot more enjoyable. The constant scanning of the horizon I have to do so I can distract them before they try to metaphysically en masse engulf some more person out for a casual stroll with their dog means I can’t get as many photos on solo trips as I’d like.
But for the better part of our outing today, the river was other-dog-and-people-free and we managed a few cautious moments of serenity on a warm, sunny day off.
(Okay this one was not serenity, this was Winter knowing he was about to get in shit for shooting off after a dog that came down to the river, and then getting into a fight with that dog, who apparently is “weird about her little ball.” Because I already told him to leave her alone, and he decided to test her mettle anyway. Jerk)
Winter is doing great after his bum-bum bump beheading. I think I said this on facebook already, but the growth was called a perianal gland epithelioma, which is apparently low grade by malignant (<– that’s my basic personality, oddly) and is cured by removal. And since Dr. Tanya removed it all with nice clean margins, it won’t return and did not have the chance to spread. For a little porker, he is surprisingly bendy and he did some Cirque de Soleil level contortions to lick his booboo even with his cone on, so I put Peetie’s period panties on him, and that put an end (haha) to that. It didn’t take but a couple of days to heal up and he was good to go like nothing ever happened. Cheap at twice the price!*
(*Narrator: that was a lie. It was not cheap at even the original price)
After an hour and a half of swimming in the river and fighting the current, the Three Tweakers were still ready to rumble, arthritis not withstanding – they would have happily played for another three hours, I’m sure.
But Wootie was too tired to even remain upright for the obligatory (although kinda phoned in) group photo, so I made an executive decision to call it a day.
The rest of the evening calls for popcorn, which I may or may not share, and a movie I think. I did stop at the pet store on the way home and bought some dog shampoo, but I’m not feeling sufficiently motivated today to bathe Mr. Woo, so instead I am just going to be grateful that he is too old to haul his muddy self onto the furniture.
…of SNOW! and turning it into fun snow photos!
Clearly the dogs are loving it.
On Wednesday it was still really quite cold, so we only went out for a little while lest we lose doggie feets to frostbite. But not Addy’s feet, because I bought her some booties. I think she might have preferred to have lost her feet. tbh. Not a fan of booties, as it turns out.
Fae was concerned that there was something neurological wrong with her sister, because Addy was walking like she was drunk.
When she walked at all. Which was a rare event in and of itself. I also got boots for Christmas, and I was quite happy to have waterproof, warm fuzzy footwear. One of the many ways in which my skinny friend and I differ.
The rest of us played a little bit of frisbee to run off some of the pent up energies that had built up, what with us being stuck indoors in the space the size of a large bathroom for several days. It was as low as -23, which is just too cold. One of the reasons I live here is that temperatures like -23 AREN’T A THING. Everything froze. I filled my fresh water holding tank this year, thinking I would outsmart the water lines that always freeze, and that f*cking thing also froze. I have officially given up and can now do nothing but wait for everything to thaw. Just in time for me to return to work. Worst. Christmas Vacation. Ever.
As usual, the Terror Twins were hunting for snowmices, but even their relentless determination waned as they found their own spit freezing to their faces as they explored the snowbanks.
Winter decided he would rather play some frisbee too. The problem is, Winter doesn’t want to chase the frisbee so much as he just wants to HAVE the frisbee, and not let anyone else have it.
This is not cool with Maisie, who both doesn’t want anyone else to have the frisbee AND wants it to keep flying through the air so she can go get it again. But as Winter was determined to have the frisbee and NOT let it keep flying, we had a canine stand-off in the making.
Battle Frisbee was about to go down.
Apparently Winter is scarier than Maisie, in the grand scheme of things, so he ended up with the frisbee. And then he decided the best way to forestall another Frisbee Battle was to just EAT THE DAMN THING so nobody could have it at all.
Dexter just could not believe the nerve.
Because I have warm, fuzzy waterproof winter booties (pay attention Addy) I marched over and removed the frisbee from Winter’s murderous jaws, and he decided he would go back to hunting snowmices with his sister.
VICTORY IS …errr, hers.
Shortly after that, dogs started looking like this:
i.e – COLD. So we filed back indoors (after I used the handle of some branch trimmers to break up the ice that had formed on the door and prevented it from opening).
Oh but winter (weather, not dog) was not done with us yet! Overnight it snowed like fury and we got a fresh new 8″+ of the powdery stuff to play in. It warmed up to a positively balmy -3C and even Addy didn’t need her booties this time.
I mean, not that she liked it any better, but at least she walked,
Warm-ish lots of snow is apparently better than freezing cold not much snow, according to my dogs. Also according to me, as it’s a lot more fun to take photos when I can feel my fingers.
Okay so Wootie doesn’t look so thrilled, but he was jogging around all over the place, so I think he was having some fun.
No frisbee this time, as it would have just disappeared into a snowbank, never to be seen again, but the always innovative Maisie dig up this wrecked Jolly Ball from under the deck and brought it with us into the field.
But not everybody wanted to play with a frozen Jolly Ball bigger than their whole body, and so somedogs just stood around in chin-high snow looking mildly traumatized slash murderous.
So I took the ball away and told them it was time to just run around like actual dogs. And as Maisie is uncapable of not doing SOMETHING, she turned once again to one of her top three favourite activities – tormenting her brother Winter.
And she was happy about it.
Until Winter wasn’t.
DEATH TO MAISIES!
I should really intervene … but it makes for funny photos, so I don’t.
As much as I hate living like this, in this thing, the views out here can be quite lovely, even this time of year.
Bald Eagles live in this copse of pines in the neighbours’ field – when you’re outside, you can hear them calling to one another (until the Littles start barking back at them).
It’s so much fun after a fresh snowfall.
ADDY BEGS TO DIFFER
Still not 100% sure what Wootie thinks. I was worried he would be cold without his thick layer of locks, but as he’s not a skeletor like this brother Dexter, who lays around in the snow shivering, he seems pretty confortable.
We had a good hard play until everyone was tired and then they all napped for the rest of the afternoon and evening.
And now the novelty of the snow has worn off and I want it all to go away. Except it’s going to DO IT AGAIN TOMORROW.
Can we come live with one of you in a warm place?
This is the unimpressed face of a lady turkey who has stepped outside for the first time in several days, only to be greeted by a blanket of snow and freezing cold temperature. She looks how I feel.
This afternoon it’s -11C – “feels like” -18C. This is positively balmy compared to last night when it was -26C. We just don’t get that cold here ever, so we’re all a bit disgruntled. Mostly me, because this is my annual vacation (between Christmas and New Years) and I can’t even go outside or parts of me will freeze and fall off. The dogs are also disgruntled, because they don’t like being cooped up inside in each other’s business for long periods and are getting kinda grouchy with one another. Except Addy, who is 100% content to stay inside and cried and howled when I made her come outside this morning to pee while I fed the poultry (who are also disgruntled. I see a trend).
But at least the 70KPH winds have stopped. That wind is KILLER. It was shaking the whole tin can last night and the snow drifts are epic! So this afternoon while it was sunny and not windy, I bundled up and took the camera and the dogs out for a whopping 25 minutes of running around. My fingers were really, really cold but we could have stayed out a bit longer, except I noticed quite a bit of paw lifting and Fae just flat out rolled on her back and refused to go any further.
Addy stayed inside.
Amazingly, Mr. Woo was unperturbed by the snow and cold. Must be the malamute in him. Alarmingly, he is the EXACT SAME COLOURS as the field – yellowish covered in white. As he is mostly deaf, I lost him like 4 times on the horizon. But he was quite happily wandering around as though it were a warm Spring day. He didn’t even want his sweater.
Spring, OTOH, in her advancing years, says it’s quite cold out and she doesn’t appreciate being asked to go out in winterpublic nekkid. So I put Mr. Woo’s sweater on her. As Wootie is kind of, erm, *portly* and Spring is not, it’s a bit big for her and it caused her some grief.
But once we got it sorted out, the sweater business did not stop her from hunting the mices that was pretty sure she was hearing under the snow.
This is how we do it baby (if you don’t immediately have an earworm right now, you’re too young for this blog!)
Maisie also ended up face first in a couple of snow banks, hunting for her manky old toy that she either brought from home or found out in the field.
In typical Maisie fashion, one of her face first leaps was a little too enthusiastic, she displaced a lot of snow, and somewhere in the process, buried her manky old toy. We have yet to locate it. I’m pretty sure she blames me.
Once the toy had vanished, Maisie turned to her second favourite pastime, which is tormenting Winter by chasing him all over the place and shriekbarking in his ear. He Does Not Enjoy It, which just seems to make Maisie enjoy it that much more.
And Dexter … well, he just creeped around being super good looking.
Poor guy – the itchies are back with a vengeance, and the Apoquel is no longer making a difference at all. He hasn’t started the Desmopressin yet just because of some timing where I have to get a urine sample at the same time every day for several days to see if its working and with Christmas and clinic closures haven’t had a stretch of time to do that yet. But he’s not frantically peeing anymore regardless.
And this is Fae right before she rolled on her back and waved her four freezing cold white feet in the air to surrender.
I am hoping it warms up enough that we can go out and take some proper snow photos with risking our extremeties! I miss taking photos like this!
Woke up this morning to pouring rain and I had to turn the heat on. Yesterday Auntie Michelle and I took the dogs to Barrowtown and were sweating in our t-shirts. How?
I mean I even took off my socks and sneakers and pulled up my pant legs to get in the river and (impotently) attempt to scrub the fish stank off of SOMEDOGS who think that rolling in slimy dead fishes is more fun than anything else on earth.
As irritating as that was, a certain fish-smelly beast KNEW I was going to scrub him off and catching him was an exercise in futility, and was hilarious. He did salmony drive-bys at top speed while I lunged ineffectually this way and that way trying to catch him without getting too fishy in the process. I do love that at 11 years of age, he still plays a joyous game of keep away like a naughty (and slimy. and smelly) puppy.
He still kinda stinks though.
I gather it’s spawning time, and the river was literally rife with fishes. You could see them swimming all over the place. Because at heart I am a 12 year old boy, I spent some time trying to catch one with my hands (I failed). Because Auntie Michelle is a grown up, she rolled her eyes at me and remained on shore doing that thing with her knees that growns up do when trying to avoid letting a fish-stinky dog from leaning against their pants.
Maisie decided to pretend they simply did not exist.
La la la, not looking
Scary fish will not keep a dedicated ball dog out of the water though.
Kept a careful eye on them though, in case they were thinking of touching her, or maybe stealing her precious ball.
I’m actually a little offended by that “precious ball” tbh – all the money I spend on price Chuck It balls and she picked up this manky tennis ball on our walk and refused to play with anything else (this is another way she is like Tweeders; there is One Ball in the universe and it is the Only Ball that can be fetched). In general, tennis balls are my current nemesis; someone left one right outside the entrance gate before our last run at the trial last weekend, and when Miss Craisie espied it on her way in, she could think of nothing else. The run was a disaster! Someone had a case of the fuzzy green brain.
Now FaeFae aka Tiny Rage was going to take those fish on and teach them a lesson!
Just kidding. With Tiny Dog comes Tiny Brain and she was oblivious to all things Fish (except the dead one that she ate). She was actually chasing the waves left in the wake of a passing speedboat. Mysteriously, she finds waves extremely offensive. There’s a lot of ferocious barking and much chasing.
Peetie is too stupid to care about fish. Smart enough to know that stealing the Coveted Tennis Ball brings her a moment of petty glee though.
Wootie got in the water and was SHOCKED at the number of fish swimming around him.
SHOCKED I TELL YOU
You know, until he started thinking about how delicious they would be, maybe with a little lemon and some pepper.
He was pretty tired after our outing and fell asleep outside in the yard while I scrubbed stank out of the Seasons’ fur. He needed a little “help” going up the deck stairs afterward (by “help” I mean he wanted me not to touch him, but walk behind him just in case he fell over backward) and he had some trouble hoisting his back half off the dog bed when it was time for dinner, but I gave him some Tramadol and he was soon back to his old lumbering self.
I hope he lives forever, but he’s very old and I am very lucky that he can still do a two hour outing with us without it taking too much out of him.
Saw Addy once or twice.
She spent some time obsessed with a plant pot someone had discarded at the river’s edge and buried and unburied it several times. She spent some time running away so that I’d have to call her back and reward her (she has worked out THAT game quite thoroughly). But mostly she spent her time ignoring me, because she is an ungrateful little shit. She didn’t even listen to me long enough to stay for the obligatory family photo.
We are clearly out of practice. I think this is the worst one I have ever taken!
I kinda wish Twooie was still with us though. He would have caught one of those fishes!
Just kidding. This is her SOMEONE GOT THE FRISBEE AND IT WASN’T ME face. Beneath her sweet countenance lays an angry little toy hoarder.
This is who got her frisbee.
Maisie is no fool. She knows Peetie doesn’t WANT the frisbee, she only wants the cookies that come from getting the frisbee and returning it to the Food Lady.
She looks keen, but it’s all an act.
Then she got it again.
OH THE RAGE
And another frisbee-loving imposter. This one likes the cookies that come from returning the frisbee, but she also likes just having whatever it is some otherdog wants. Pound for pound (and she has lost some lbs and is now nice and trim, incidentally) she is the biggest bitch in the pack.
Does not want the frisbee even a tiny little bit:
Another small dog who has trimmed right down ever since I remove the accidental step stool that gave her free and unencumbered access up and over the laundry hamper and into the buffet that is the cat food in the bathroom. She’s a little miffed that she’s once again getting two meals a day instead of four, and she’s doing it with nine fewer teeth since her dental $urgery (ouch) but she remains her irrepressible self, even if it takes her a bit longer to masticate her (two) meals.
FINALLY GETTING IT!!
Now this guy wants the frisbee almost as much as Maisie does. But only if nobody else is trying to get it at the same time, since he can’t hear them coming. I find it fascinating that the same deaf dog who apparently does not understand the simple hand signal for “come here DO NOT RUN OFF INTO THE FIELD AND TRY TO SNEAK INTO THE AGILITY BARN” can glean instantly from the set of my shoulders relative to the gravitational field of the planets aligning with some kind of future visit from an alien race whether I have told Maisie to stay so I can throw the frisbee for him WITH HIS BACK TURNED TO ME. He remains, going into his 12th year, an enigma.
Isn’t quite sure what a frisbee is:
Just kidding. Noodles is still holding his own and doing remarkably well for 16! He is a little slower to get up that he used to be, and he trots back with the frisbee (and eschews retrieving balls on land mostly altogether) but he can still keep up on a hike. He even swims every day, which is why you get a bonus photo of him swimming back with the ball. Because it’s adorable.
OMG OMG OMG I CAN LITERALLY TASTE IT
This girlie has about two frisbee chases in her and then she is off hunting whatsoever is scurrying or slinking or hopping around on there for her to find. At the pond she has recently taken to standing in the pond plants up to her chin and remaining motionless, hoping to fool some hapless bullfrog into thinking she isn’t really there. The problem is that she can’t help wagging her white tipped tail which is held aloft and thus is basically a semaphore transmitting to bullfrogs near and far that she is here to Eat Them. She has even more recently gotten so frustrated that her ninja technique has failed to net her a single frog that she now just swims around through the pond for as much as half an hour at a time while they use the pond plant highway to evade her and she paddles frantically after them. This amuses me the most because for 10 years I have had to reteach Spring how to swim every spring, and now she’s turning into AquaDog. I guess it’s all about finding the right motivator.
BUT – bullfrogs can dive and she’s not mastered that yet, so her quest for frogs legs remains unrealized to date.
There are no photos of Winter. Which is a blessing really. I love the little needy, snuggly, huggy, conflicted-and-gets-growly-when-I-smooch-him-sometimes guy, but he is just not photogenic.
GOT IT! AT LAST, ALL THE FRISBEES OF THE WORLD ARE BELONG TO ME
SOMEONE will never be a real frisbee dog, because SOMEONE thinks frisbees can only be carried when folded in half, a belief system I blame solely on floppy Kong frisbees. Auntie Stef lent us this “real” disc and it takes her about two and half minutes and some serious contorting to return it, because it doesn’t like to fold in half and if it refuses it is otherwise unreturnable. Apparently.
She remains a skookum little agility dog though, despite her old, fat and lazy handler who never trains with her. Now that dog sports have come back into our collective lives as The Plague of the last year and a half (sort of) recedes, my weekends are slowly filling up with dog sport shooting gigs. I photographed a CKC Sprinter even that was wildly successful and lots of fun. Dogs running fast is always cool to watch.
Then I photographed an agility trial that was less successful, if we’re talking in terms of the amount of time and effort that I put and the returns on that investment. Because I have so little free time, I am going to be more discerning about what I will and will not photograph on my weekends going forward. But it was successful for us personally, as my Crazy Maisie earned herself another Q with a first place in Speedstakes. I was especially proud of her not only because we NEVER train but the course involved back to back tunnels, which she has never seen. I still remember entering Tweed in a Tunnellers event a gajillion years ago and after like the third tunnel in a row he literally stopped on the course and turned to me to give me stink eye, as he assumed I was lost on the course because WHERE IS THE OTHER EQUIPMENT. I kind of expected Maisie, who is basically a reincarnation of Tweed, to do the same thing, but she has more faith in me / is less skeptical that her predecessor and she went for it whole heartedly. She really is the best girlie!
If I can get it together to train on a regular basis (which is probably going to happen regardless because The Sadist growled something terrifying at me about how he WILL be training at the building regularly and I WILL be expected to join him) she is going to be amazing. She will only be handicapped by me. And it’s a pretty big handicap, alas.
I am so lucky to have such good doggos.