Spring has arrived on the Campbell Estate.
There are pros and cons to Spring.
- The river has turned to splashy wet stuff again.
- My goose friends have returned.
- A whole lot of birds are singing to me every morning.
- Elizabeth is going for longer walks with me again.
- It’s getting a bit warm for big woolly dogs like me.
- The wood ticks are out. They really suck.
- I need to be extra vigilant because the bears have awakened.
- There’s a bandit [a Raccoon] raiding the bird feeders and pooping on our deck at night.
I was in swimming even before the river had gone completely splashy this year. I was trying to perform a rescue. I was patrolling ahead of Elizabeth on a walk we took through the forest to our point. When I got to the shore, I heard something breathing oddly. It was in the water, and after a moment or two of looking, I saw its head as it swam along the line of the hard water. The wake it made caused the hard surface, which had formed into fingers in the melting process, to tinkle like the tags on my collar do when I run.
I stepped into the water. It was cold. Even for me, it was cold. I decided that little creature better come out and warm up, so, I barked at it, “Come to shore and warm up! Too cold! Too Cold!
I was too late. It suddenly turned nose down, bottoms up, its broad tail hitting the wet splashy stuff hard as it went out of sight.
I went into emergency mode and leapt out into the frigid river. It’s my Newfy heritage – I can’t help it. I swam out to where I saw it go under and circled. I couldn’t find him.
A couple of minutes later, I saw his nose break the surface. Still alive! I turned for him, but he went down again.
Elizabeth showed up and told me to get out of the water. She was right. I needed to warm up a bit. It was really cold. I climbed out onto the rocks and gave myself a good shake, then I looked at her, pointed at the river with my nose and whined. She’s not much use at cold water rescue but you never know when she might come up with a good idea. Sometimes she surprises me.
“It’s okay, Stella. That’s a beaver. I heard it slap its tail at you. He’s fine.”
And then he came up again!
I plunged back in. No one is better than I at cold water. If I’m freezing to death, then so is that broad-tailed water slapper! I won’t let it happen!
I swam around and around and around again. This time he was gone for good, poor thing. I did my best, really I did. If they’d just relax and let me help, I could save them. I know I could.
We don’t have a picture of a real broad-tailed water slapper, but we do have this puppet at the shop. This is exactly what they look like when they are on land. But they spend most of their time in the splashy wet stuff. They cut down big trees with their teeth and eat the bark. Really.
I was feeling pretty sad about the incident. And I was pretty cold, too. I came over to Elizabeth, shook off and let her feel just how cold the water was. I really could have used a cuddle at that point.
Sometimes Elizabeth doesn’t read me that well. She turned back to the woods and resumed her hunt for deer sheds. She wanted some for making displays at the bookshop.
Two-leggers are strange – there are hundreds of dead branches she could just pick up and take home, but no, she must have only the rare branches that fall from sneaky dear heads during the winter. There were no deer around with branches on their heads that day. I know because I then ran everywhere I could find them and checked. Just branchless deer.All that running helped me to warm up, though, so it’s all good!
We didn’t find any of the sheds on the ground, either. Fortunately, Elizabeth had some in reserve that she could use. She’s busy cleaning them up and oiling them now.
Oh, look! She’s got one up. She thought they’d be good for showing off the new puppets and First Nations jewellery she’s selling at the shop.