The adventuresome life of a Great Pyrenees/Newfoundland dog in Northwestern Ontario

Under House Arrest

It’s that time of year again…

My two-leggers are so afraid of my fearless abandon when it comes to ridding the estate of undesirable intruders that they have placed me under house & bookshop arrest. I’m only allowed out on a leash and just before and after rides.

“But WHY?”

“Because, Stella. The hard water is thin and the Sneaky Deer with trees growing out of their heads are in rut, and it’s just too dangerous to be on our own out there!”

“I can look after myself.”

“Yeah… I know all about how well you look after yourself, Stella.”

“Oh. Well, yes. But I was young and foolish then. And, as I recall, it was you who went through the hard water last winter. Not me.” She did, too.

It was the strangest thing when it happened. She had run across our bay to get a picture, then she thought she’d go for a longer walk with me. As she went around the end of our point, there was a sort of popping noise and Elizabeth fell flat on her face. I came over to see what she’d cried out for, and the hard water began to make a funny cracking noise. Elizabeth yelled at me to get back, and she managed to get her leg out of the splashy stuff and the hole in the hard water. Then she rolled really fast until she was on the trail the noisy machines that travel on the ice make.

I had a good sniff at the hole she made. It wasn’t very big, but it was fascinating. Who knew the water wasn’t hard all the way down? I was able to have a nice drink of cold splashy water. It was refreshing!

We’d had snow flurries all day and the sun was just breaking through the clouds late in the afternoon. Elizabeth took this picture just before she fell through the ice.

Elizabeth looked a bit worried as she looked over our bay toward the house. It wasn’t very far away, but she’d got her whole left leg soaked and had to walk home through unpacked snow and up a steep hill in -27 C and wind.

Two-leggers are different from us dogs. They aren’t as hardy. She was swinging her leg in a funny way by the time we got to the door – all the human fur she’d put on it to go outside in the first place was frozen solid! I tried to help her by biting the ice out as we walked home, but that just got her angry at me. She wanted to get home in a hurry, I guess, and I was slowing her down.

“That’s true. I did fall through. That’s why I worry about you. What if that sly rascal Fox decided to lead you a merry chase —”

“I’d get him!”

“And he ran out onto the ice?”

“I’d get him!”

“Exactly what I’m afraid of.”

“What do you mean?”

“That sly rascal Fox weighs a lot less than you do. He can run over the ice and not fall through, and he knows it. But you have only one thing on your mind: catching that fox. And before you know it, the ice is breaking underneath you because you weigh at least four times more than the fox does!”

“Well, then, I’d climb out!”

Well, I got another couple of stories about a dog she had a long time ago and one about Cocoa the Cheasapeake Bay Retriever. Both Pup and Cocoa went through the ice and couldn’t get out without two-legger help. Elizabeth was able to help them, but she’s afraid she might not be able to help me if I got out too far, or if she didn’t hear me or realise I’d gone through. Pup and Cocoa were both Chessies and made for cold water, and they went through in the Spring and close enough to shore that Elizabeth could reach them with poles or by smashing through the almost candled ice to make a path for them to swim out. Fall ice, she says, is different.

And I’m not as strong a swimmer as the Chessies were. I’m only 1/4 Newfoundland. That’s the swimming part of me. And I don’t have the protective oily coat that sheds water – my wool gets soaked pretty quickly when I swim.

So, for now, I’m an indoors dog. I can still sleep under the stars if I want, and I’ve pulled my blanket out of my house a bit for just that purpose. As long as my wool is dry, I’m warm enough! But the only running and chasing I’ll be doing for the next couple of weeks will be in my dreams.

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Comments on: "Under House Arrest" (7)

  1. Poor Stella! Your two-legged is only trying to keep you safe. She’d be very sad if something bad happened to you. I know it’s tough not being able to roam free. My two-legged never lets me roam free like she used to because she says I run out into the street chasing leaves and she worries that those big rumbling metal beasts will hurt me. I also ran away and hid on her a few times, so now I always wear a leash and she’s always close to me when strangers come by. You see, I live in a big city and don’t have lovely woods or water places that get hard in the winter. There are more dangers here. It is frustrating to see other animals walk by the window and I can’t go out to warn them off the property. I growl at them from inside the house, but they don’t hear me, unless it’s the small two-leggeds who like to play near the garden in front of the house. Sometimes they come right up to the window, which makes me really mad because they shouldn’t be that close to the house. Susan gets mad at me when I create a fuss and scream at them to get out of the rock garden! In short, Stella, I sympathize and commiserate. The things we must do to keep our two-leggeds happy! Take care, my friend.

    – Salem, the Polydactyl Tuxedo Cat

    • Wow, Salem! It sounds like you live in a very interesting place! I’ve been to the city with Kay and Elizabeth. I found it very noisy and the big metal growling machines going by so quickly really unnerved me for a while. They’re right beside you and they don’t slow down at all like they do here on our big gravel path. And there is very little grass with bushes to discretely hide behind when I need to do my business. I like to do that in private. So I must hold on ’til I get home. It’s all very stressful!
      I love your title, Salem. But tell me… What is a Polydactyl Tuxedo? I understand all the rest of it… ~:o/=

      • Yes, living in the city can be stressful. We live in a part of the city where it’s not too busy and the yards have lots of grass. The next-door neighbour has a nice garden where I could hide from the noisy metal monsters before Susan started keeping me on a leash.

        To answer your question, ‘Polydactyl’ means I have six toes on my paws instead of the usual five. According to Susan, ‘Tuxedo’ refers to my fur colouring. She says men wear a type of fancy clothing called a tuxedo that resembles my black and white fur. I am mostly black with white on my paws and chest. Susan says I also have a ‘milk moustache’, even though I don’t drink milk any more because it upsets my tummy. I hope I’ve explained it well enough for you. I certainly didn’t mean to sound too important. I thought adding those words would help you get an idea what I look like. 🙂

      • That’s fascinating! Did you know that my Great Pyrenees ancestors, and all ‘purebred’ Gt. Pyrs have extra dew claws on their back feet to help them climb mountains? I don’t have them because my Newfoundland ancestor took them away. Maybe you got them instead! Elizabeth says there’s a famous scientific rule: For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction…. I can’t think of anything more opposite to a Gt. Pyr than a Tuxedo Cat! ~:oD=

        And I think you should use your title. I didn’t think it was pretentious. It does tell people who you are (there are a lot of black and white cats out there… but you are unique!).

      • Thanks for calling me unique. I find it interesting that your ancestors had the extra dew claw, too! 🙂

  2. We don’t get as much of that hard water here as you do. We only get it on puddles and on the edges of the river – I enjoy wacking it with a paw to break it. I’m sure they wouldn’t let me out on it, if it was like your lake!

    • Yes. I like to stomp on hard puddles in the Spring and Fall. I like the noise the hard stuff makes as it breaks. In the Winter, though, people will drive their big and small growly machines over it. They make big paths through the snow on the hard water, just like the big gravel path up the hill! Maybe Elizabeth will take a picture when they start this year, so you can see. I’ll ask her.

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