I didn’t really realize the implications when Buddy died. I wasn’t thinking of being dogless.
My daughter has been “borrowing” Sophie to help her get through the loss of Buddy. I understand this and wholeheartedly support it. She slept with Buddy for 14 years, she needs something breathing next to her at night. I’ve been there.
Chester is truly Bill’s dog. He does everything and goes everywhere with him. He spent the last week in Rowe with me but I know he missed being with Bill (except maybe for the one night he got to sleep on the bed with Cait while she was visiting). He seemed to smile about that for days.
I realized yesterday that my life with dogs centers around food and being outdoors. I was baking all day and doing it with Julia Child’s style – in other words I was making a HUGE mess. Normally when things end up on the floor the dogs are there to pick it up. I’m thinking I may not even realize how much of a mess I make because the dogs are cleaning up after me. This may sound disgusting but I know anyone reading this who has a dog knows exactly what I’m talking about.
The other thing is they love to be outdoors. Every single time I open a door to the outside world they are out. There’s something to be said about not having to go out when the temperatures are below zero but there is also something about being forced to breathe fresh air regardless of the chill. They also show me how wonderful winter can be. They love the snow – LOVE it. I forget how much they love it each year until the first snow when their total delight and enthusiasm is hard to miss. The thing is they never get sick of it, no matter how long the winter is.
We can all learn lessons about loving our circumstances by hanging out with our dogs. They are happy and content with just being as long as they are with their people. Definitely something to aspire to.
For some reason Sophie thinks the shower is just about as much fun as playing in the snow. If she hears the word shower she will run into the nearest bathroom and wait for you – in the shower. Doesn’t matter if it’s a walk in shower or a tub combo, when you turn the water on she will be waiting to get wet. She’s a weirdo. Judging from the way she looks in this photo she probably really wants a shower, she certainly needs one.
Saturday we had the most amazing snowstorm. I have been whining lately about our January thaw. Mud season is my least favorite time of the year and I felt like we were in it last week. Everything was brown and ugly, not what I want to look at out my windows. Walking was a difficult slog.
This storm started suddenly. It was fairly warm out and the snow came down hard with huge flakes. Bill and I spent most of the day outdoors just enjoying its exquisite beauty. There is nothing the dogs like more than us being outdoors in the snow. Snow makes everything a whole new game.
Snow on Sunday. Snowing again today. Nothing has really accumulated but it’s here. It’s been quite cold the past week or so, cold enough to break out the winter coat.
This time of year is the most difficult for me in a lot of ways. The days are so much shorter. The house is cold a lot of the time. I know this is one long, long slog until spring. We are talking 5 months minimum on the hill. Yes, we will have a few of those January thaw days and it will warm up in April so we think we can actually do something outside in the garden but . . . never, ever plant anything before Memorial Day.
So what are the advantages of a long, dark winter? For me it gives me time to work on many different projects. I have a lot of handwork that sits idle whenever the weather is good enough for me to be outdoors. It’s a time for woodfires in both stoves and fireplaces. I love hearth cooking and that is really only fun when it’s really cold out. If I sit and watch a movie on TV that’s okay – I’m not frittering away a day when there is too much else to be done. Did I mention weaving? Weaving, weaving, weaving, nothing more to be said about that.
I love the beauty of the snow on the trees and ground, how bright it is with the moon shining. I love the sound of the snow under your feet on those cold, quiet nights with a million stars visible from the driveway. I love snoeshowing the property lines, it gives me a wider perspective of the land (and I can walk on all those wet, swampy spots that I can’t cross any other time of the year). There is bird song of a whole different kind.
So it’s now time to ease into a slower pace, enjoy family and friends and work on things left since last winter. This is what the dogs live for.
You should all be happy this is a still and not video. This is the kind of attention you get when you pick up the squeaker that has recently been removed from a toy and use it for your own entertainment. Even the dog that HATES squeakers was in for the game. It was more powerful than food. No one got it in the end – it was for my entertainment only. No dogs were harmed in the making of this photograph.
It’s difficult for a dog that wants to be a mean, protective guard dog to be afraid of everything. That’s my theory on Chester’s exhaustion this morning (other than the fact that he’s lazy). We went to Rowe on Wednesday afternoon and the first disconcerting thing to happen was a neighbor and her daughters walked their two horses by the house on the road. Chester lost his mind (from afar). All of the hair was standing up on his back, he barked his scariest howling bark (which we now recognize as his I’m really scared bark). They finally disappeared down the road (well, they were out of his sight because he wouldn’t go close enough to the road to see where they went). Whew! Into the house he went, didn’t go out again.
Thursday morning at around 5:00 I heard a bear coming up through the woods – I’m assuming it was a female talking to her cub(s). Chester was on the end of the bed – all perked up, hair standing on end. He never made a sound, just listened. The bear came across the road and through the side yard under my window talking the whole time. Finally she went over the bank into the back forty. I stayed in bed for another hour or so then got up, got my coffee and went outside with the dogs. Chester, hair standing on end, ran crazily towards the back forty on what I’m assuming was the bear trail. He was doing his best sniffing but you could tell just by his stance that he was a little freaked out. He immediately came into the house when I did.
I have to tell you that having a dog that weighs over 50 pounds may deceive you into thinking that they will protect you. For my money the Schnauzers are much better protection. They weigh much less and are not afraid of anything. In fact I really have to be very aware of what they see as a threat because they think they are much bigger than they are. Sophie thought nothing of attacking Chester when we first got him, Chester on the other hand is afraid of cats – won’t come within 100 feet of one. I like to think this speaks to his intelligence but others just think he’s chicken.
Sophie is a dog that is wound a little tight. She’s very nervous and barks at every little noise she hears. She feels as though she needs to be in the middle of everything but can be so noisy that she often is left behind when those little trips happen. I just don’t want to listen to her barking.
One of the things that sends her into a crazed state is what we refer to as the “magic window”. Cait believes that is what all dogs think of drive up windows at fast food places. They know that you drive up and a person hands you food, usually french fries which is a special weakness for all dogs and children. Sophie starts barking as soon as we approach the magic window and it escalates when she sees the person behind the glass. It doesn’t matter that there’s food. At least that is what I thought until today.
Once a week I go to the drive up window at my bank. It’s a very small bank in what seems like the middle of nowhere. Every time we go the teller gives me cookies for the dogs. We just started going to this bank about a month ago and it is on the way to Rowe so Sophie is always sitting in the front seat next to me. The first time we stopped she lost her mind when the teller appeared in the window. She opened the drawer and there were two milkbones in it. I gave one to Sophie and one to Chester. The teller gave me two more with the receipts. Sophie stopped barking.
Since that time Sophie has not barked once when we’ve gone to that drive through. This seems to be somewhat of a miracle to me. Maybe it’s not just the cookies, maybe it’s the teller. All I know is this is the only window I’ve found that is truly magic.
When we got Chester it became clear right from the beginning that Sophie did NOT like him, not one little bit. They initially had a huge fight over food where Chester bit and pierced her ear. It had to hurt but Sophie is such a drama queen that you would have thought she was near death. As the months went on she would continue to attack him for no reason (at least that we could see). I then started taking just her and Chester to Rowe during the week and they seem to have bonded. We’ve had Chester for a year and a half now and Sophie is tolerating him and at times will even play with him. Monday we were driving from Rowe to Enfield and this is what I saw in the back seat. Since it was April 1st I’m thinking this was some sort of joke.
It’s snowing again, although I’m not sure how much accumulation we will get.
I have to say that it’s hard to be too disgruntled about snowy weather when your dogs love nothing more than the back yard being a winter wonderland.
It’s difficult not to love snow when you have dogs that are crazy about it. Sophie is especially obsessed with it. I don’t know where it came from or how it started but if she sees you with a shovel she’s there. This is what she lives for in the winter.
All she wants you to do is throw shovels full of snow into the air so she can jump into it.
And she doesn’t stop. She will jump and jump every single time.
She’s quite the acrobat.
And more entertaining than anything I can possibly think of indoors.
Of course she really appreciates it when we go indoors and there’s a fire in the fireplace. Unlike Chester, all of the snow sticks to her fur in little snowballs. She waits in front of the fire until she is standing in a puddle of melted snow. Now if she would only learn to stand on a towel.