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

Archive for the ‘On the Job’ Category

Things That Go Creak in the Night

Last night was terrible. I hardly got any sleep at all. Something was going on outside. Something very noisy. Every few minutes, it would pop, or creak, snap, or crunch.

Let’s be clear. I am not talking about Elizabeth’s knees here. She wasn’t even moving until I woke her up around midnight to make her aware of the situation out there.

Sometimes it sounded like someone was walking out on our balcony. Sometimes they were jumping on the roof, I think. Once it even sounded like someone was tapping loudly on the bedroom window. That last one really startled me.

As the night went on, I grew increasingly agitated. When Elizabeth told me to lie down and go to sleep, I went over to Kay’s room to try to get her to check on what was happening. She just snored back at me.

I pounced on Elizabeth’s bed, which, most of the time, doubles as my own. At first, Elizabeth spent some time trying to make me feel better. By five, though, she was getting a bit rude. I don’t understand why she was so cranky. I was just doing my job. And I was truly unnerved by all the strange snaps and pops. It was kind of like those banging lights the summer people like so much. They drive me round the bend with anxiety. By five o’clock, I was panting constantly and pacing wherever I found a little space. I tried hiding under the bed, but I’m too big for that.

At five, Elizabeth got so fed up with my distress that she told me to go outside and “see for yourself, Stella. There’s nobody there!”

I tore out the door and ran round the house, into the woods and over to Al and Joanne’s. Elizabeth was right. There was nobody anywhere. I was out until almost seven making absolutely sure. Then I was too hungry to care about anything other than eating.

And I was getting cold. Last night when we came home from the bookshop, it was -7 C. By midnight, the temperature had dropped to -22 C. Elizabeth says that the rapid drop in temperature was what was making the house and decking creak and make all those strange noises. I’m not so sure. I think it must have been aliens. I couldn’t check the rooftop, where a lot of activity seemed to occur, for tracks.

We’ve had a very busy day today. We’re both very tired. And now, as we near closing time, it is really beginning to show.

I found the camera and took this picture of Elizabeth this afternoon.Don't drool on the computer, Elizabeth! We need it to write my blog!

I found the camera and took this picture of Elizabeth this afternoon.Don’t drool on the computer, Elizabeth! We need it to write my blog!

She got even when she found my quiet place in the storage cupboard under the stairs...

She got even when she found my quiet place in the storage cupboard under the stairs…

 

Turn that Noise OFF!

I think it’s weird how, after all the time I’ve spent in this family, they still don’t believe me when I tell them something strange and potentially dangerous is going on.

“WOOF! WOOF!”

“Oh Stella. Quiet. That’s just a train,” or, “Hush up, Stella. That’s just mom in the kitchen,” or today, “Ssssh! Stella, be quiet. That’s just a helicopter going over!”

Well, yes. It is just a helicopter going over. But it’s doing something dangerous. And it’s doing it over, and over, and over… “WOOF! WOOF!”

“Good grief!” says Elizabeth some time later. “Why does it sound like a war zone out there?”

Good question, two-legger. “WOOF! WOOF!” Here it comes again.

Finally, Elizabeth sees what I’ve been trying to tell her.

Go get your camera, two-legger! I want you to eat crow. Tell the world how I’m not an hysterical Great Newfenees after all.

Elizabeth mumbles something and, finally, does what I tell her. As she’s setting up the camera for the shot, she comments, “Looks like we have some new well-heeled neighbours moving in, Stella.”

Well-heeled? Whatever it is, doesn't look like it has much choice! I tell you, you'd never get me on a leash way up there like that!

Well-heeled? Whatever it is, doesn’t look like it has much choice! I tell you, you’d never get me on a leash way up there like that!

Changes

Spring has arrived on the Campbell Estate.

There are pros and cons to Spring.

Pros:

  • 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.

Cons:

  • 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 eat trees. Really.

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 now. She thought they'd make a good displayer for the new puppets and First Nations jewellery she's selling at the shop.

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.

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