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

Posts tagged ‘friends’

We Two Kings of Occident Are…

A couple of weeks ago, everyone here was celebrating Christmas. There was a lot of build-up to it among two-leggers (there always seems to be) – people decorating and putting up lights all along the big gravel path, people rushing into stores with lists of things to buy…. And this year, my blogging friend Rumpydog decided to make it more fun for us dogs, not to mention more accessible! He acted as go-between for dogs everywhere who wanted to contact the dog equivalent of St. Nick, Santa Paws!

Well, with all the furor in two-leggerdom, I decided maybe I should explore the idea of Santa Paws and the possibilities in writing to him as my pal Rumpy suggested. And Santa Paws got my letter! Not only that, but dogs everywhere added their voices to support my Christmas wish. You can go into Rumpydog’s blog and read it here if you haven’t seen it yet.

So, I had high expectations for Christmas. Last year was good, This year was going to be exceptional! I’m glad my letter didn’t get to Santa Paws any earlier, because if it had, I wouldn’t have been able to bear the suspense! (It was hard enough waiting to see if Santa Paws actually got it – I didn’t know until Rumpy told me he’d posted it on his blog, you see.)

Christmas morning. Elizabeth came out and took me for a walk. Nothing new there. She let me off my lead when we got to the big gravel path and I raced for home. Elizabeth. Took. Her. Time.

When we got in, everything seemed just as usual. No new scents. No sense of tension or excitement.

Elizabeth fixed me up a bowl of food: my usual kibble. But today she made it special by adding some chicken-ball stuff and some special gravy Kay made for me. It was reeeeally good – I pushed my dish all the way over to the food cooling box trying to get every last little morsel licked up. But it still wasn’t what I’d asked Santa Paws for.

After the two-leggers had also eaten, Elizabeth brought me my Christmas present. It isn’t that I didn’t appreciate it. I love pig ears and, since the vet told Elizabeth I’m not to have any rawhide or jerky, I haven’t had one. So this really was a special treat. And I treated it accordingly. And it was really good, too. But… it wasn’t what I’d asked Santa Paws for.

I’m afraid I moped a bit over the next few days. Elizabeth did her best to cheer me up. She explained to me that there are twelve days of Christmas. There’s even a song about it. I’m sure you know it; Elizabeth says it’s very famous:

On the fifth day of Christmas my two-legger gave me,
Five brocc’li stalks,
Bow wow bow wow wow,
Bow wow wow,
Bow wow bow wow wow,
And a Berryz cookie after my meal!

You know the one I mean.

She said that even the baby Jesus had to wait for his gifts from the Three Kings of Orient until Epiphany, which, she counted out for me, was the sixth of January, a.k.a. the Twelfth Day of Christmas.

That was Sunday.

I was lying on my Elizabeth’s bed while she worked on a project at her desk when I heard the rumble of a big growly beast outside. It was loud enough that I don’t think Elizabeth really needed me to tell her it was out there. We both ran to the door…

It was AL! And there, in the front seat of Al’s big red growly beast, was my dearest dog pal in all the world, Bud! Bud had come to see me for Christmas, all the way from Winnipeg, many, many dog miles away (I know ’cause I’ve been there). It’s a long trip for him ’cause he’s getting old, and sometimes he has trouble just getting into the growly beast for the ride now.

Al came to the door carrying a big heavy bag. If he’d had a beard, he would’ve looked just like St. Nick, I think. And in that big bag… Bud had brought me a Christmas present, too! More treats as well – I think they came from Joanne. I love my treats, and Joanne always has such yummy ones to share….

Even on Paper, Bud lights up my life...

Even on Paper, Bud lights up my life…

Getting down to business

Getting down to business

I'm trying hard to be tidy about this, but whatever is in there just isn't coming out!

I’m trying hard to be tidy about this, but whatever is in there just isn’t coming out!

The Aftermath of my exuberance!

The Aftermath of my exuberance!

And here’s what was inside:

Can I open this up, too? Please?

Can I open this up, too? Please?

Here's Bud's gift: A friend to remember him by. I'm calling him Justin (why is everybody laughing?) because he arrived just in time to make my Christmas. Thank you, Bud! You're the BEST!

Here’s Bud’s gift: A friend to remember him by. I’m calling him Justin because he arrived just in time to make my Christmas.
Thank you, Bud! You’re the BEST!

Thank you so much, Santa Paws. I knew in my heart I couldn’t have a full time dog-friend here. You did the next best thing by bringing Bud to visit and letting me know that he was still well and thinking about me, too. Thank you, Rumpy, for helping me get my message to Santa Paws and for instigating the Mutt ‘n Howl Telegraph. Christmas is wonderful!

Bush Beat

Today, I thought I’d share something with you from my first year on the Campbell Estate. My run at that time was beside an older area of the forest, and there are lots of old, decaying logs on the forest floor – all covered with soft green piles of green stuff that feels really good under my paws. The Silly Flappers like to go there in the Spring, and sometimes the young ones start practicing in the falling leaf time, too!

I was a puppy when I first heard the boy Silly Flappers showing off to their girlfriends. They kept me up all night. It wasn’t just the ones close to me. The sound carries through the woods for a mile or more. Sometimes you aren’t really sure you’re hearing it – it’s more of a sense of the air kind of throbbing around you. Elizabeth found a really good clip online for me to share with those of you who don’t live in the Boreal Forest so you can hear what it sounds like. The two-leggers who recorded this must have been really close, ’cause you can hear the whoosh of the feathers in the recording, which makes the drumming sound softer. I’ve never heard that before. The drumming I’ve heard is always just the thump that gets faster and faster.

By the time I find a drumming Silly Flapper, he has already stopped. I can get much closer to them than other Silly Flappers before they flap furiously away on me. They’re very unsociable. Most flappers are, I guess. They don’t seem to like me much, anyway. Even the Long-necked Flappers who call me all the time don’t let me come close to say hello back.

Elizabeth says that the reason the Silly Flapper drummer boys are easier to get close to is because they’re so full of something called hormones, and they have so much energy invested in showing off that, even though they’re scared by me (!) they haven’t got the juice to switch into flee mode. She says people who have approached a male peacock (she showed me a tail feather of one that she has hanging on her wall – very pretty, and very long!) will understand. The boy peacock with a fanned tail has a very hard time fleeing an enemy!

Imagine a flapper thinking of me as an enemy! Absurd! But Elizabeth says that’s exactly how they see me…. Come to think of it, though, I did try once to make friends with a little swimming flapper once when I was little, too. It went limp and quit peeping at me. Elizabeth says the flappers don’t realise that I don’t mean to hurt them, and there are other dog-like animals in the forest who eat them if they catch them. So I guess I understand a bit now why they don’t like me much…. -:o(=

Anyway, Elizabeth wrote this one Spring morning after I first heard the Silly Flapper drummer boys from my run the night before:

Okay, I’ll admit that I’m a bit nuts about my dog. Most dog owners will understand.

I sing to her. I noticed my last dog really liked it, so I tried it with Stella, too – well actually, the habit just sort of carried over. I’ll take a tune I know and add lyrics just for Stella.

Yes, I’m afraid I might be a little … touched?

Last night I woke up to Stella’s barking. She barked for some time. I’ve never heard her bark at night before.

This morning, as we were eating breakfast (mom and I), Stella put her head on the leg of the table and fell asleep. She began to snore. She got up, followed me into the kitchen and, while I made my hot chocolate, she flopped onto the floor and looked with exhausted puppy eyes at me. I began to sing. Appalachian mountain man kind of droning tune:

Ho, little Stella
Snorin’ on the floor.
Listened to the ruffed grouse
drummin’ all night.
Barked at the ruffed grouse
all night long –
Woof, woof, woof.
Stupid ol’ bird.
Woof, woof, woof.
Wanna go to sleep.
Barkin’ at the ruffed grouse
and howlin’ at the moon
all night long –
Aaaah woooooh!
Woof, woof, Whoooooh!
All night long!
Now she’s snorin’ on the floor –
Snorin’ on the floor!

Hope you enjoy it as much as she did. She thumped her tail in time to the words.

Cheers! I think I’m going to have a nap, too!

Hmmph. You’d think she’d been up barking at them all night!


Less than a week left ’til my pal Siggy returns to his Island with his two-leggers! I can hardly wait.

I love the winter – the wind, the cold, the fluffy white stuff and water hard enough to run on. But there’s something I don’t like about winter. I get lonely. All my dog friends seem to disappear with the dropping of the leaves and the first fall of fluffy white stuff.

Last year when Siggy came home, I got so excited to hear his voice that I ran out across the hard water to visit him. His female two-legger, Karin, saw me coming. She called my name and told me to go home. I stopped because I was so surprised she knew my name, then I turned and went back to our point. I came home a bit sad because I thought Karin didn’t like me.

Elizabeth told me that Karin does like me, though, and that she told me to go home because she knew it was dangerous for me to be on the ice, or to visit other dogs and two-leggers without one of my two-leggers with me. I didn’t understand what the fuss was about. I thought Elizabeth was just trying to make me feel less rejected. So she told me a story to show me how much Siggy’s two-leggers really do like other dogs.

Cocoa Just Before her Adventure

Cocoa just before her Adventure

Elizabeth had a dog before me. Cocoa was a Chesapeake Bay Retriever who lived to be very old – 105 dog years old! It was because Elizabeth missed Cocoa so much that she got me.

Late in her life, Cocoa’s back legs got very sore and tired quickly, but she still loved to go for walks on Elizabeth’s trails and to cool off in the river.

One spring day, just after the water had become splashy once more, they went for a walk over to the point. Cocoa went down a rocky slope to get a drink and got stuck. Her legs wouldn’t work well enough to push her back up the rocks to Elizabeth. So, Elizabeth climbed down to help.

She couldn’t carry Cocoa up the hill. Cocoa wasn’t as big as me, but she was still too big for carrying. But Elizabeth saw a series of rock steps just under the water which Cocoa could take to get to a grassy beach that would be easier for her to manage.

Cocoa didn’t want to go into the water.

Elizabeth tossed a pebble out to entice her. Not far.

But it was too far…. Cocoa’s back legs wouldn’t work in the cold water, and Elizabeth couldn’t reach her to pull her back to shore. And she’d be risking her own life to go into the water herself. She called for help, but no one could hear her. Cocoa’s thrashing front paws were taking her out into the current….

Elizabeth ran all the way home to get the canoe and help. She says she was terrified that Cocoa might give up, so she called to her all the way home as loudly as she could to keep her spirits up.

Like me, Cocoa loved walks along Elizabeth's trails

Like me, Cocoa loved walks along Elizabeth's trails

When she got to the two-legger house, she phoned a neighbour with a boat, but got an answering machine. She had yelled over to the island where Siggy lives and no one had heard her, but she tried phoning them anyway. Siggy’s other two-legger, Dan, answered and told her he’d get out to Cocoa right away.

Elizabeth ran back down to the river and hauled the canoe down the hill with her and into the water. Then she paddled like mad around the point. She thought she heard Dan’s boat while she paddled across our bay, but she couldn’t see or hear it when she got around the point. And she couldn’t see any sign of Cocoa in the water.

Heartbroken, she paddled on, hoping she could at least find her old pal’s body to take home. It was one of the worst moments in her life. She’d just killed her best friend.

She kept paddling.

Then she saw the boat, pulled up on the very beach she’d been trying to get Cocoa to wade to. Kay was calling from the other side of the point… and there was Cocoa, wobbling up the hill to find her!

Elizabeth pulled up to Dan’s boat and he told her, “I couldn’t find her at first. Then I saw her nose, just before it went under. She’d drifted almost all the way over to our island! I was able to grab her collar, but I couldn’t get her into the boat, so I held her head up and maneuvered her over to this beach.”

Dan realised that Elizabeth had just about killed herself running and paddling (she has a lot of trouble breathing sometimes – something called asthma), so he loaded everyone and the canoe into his boat and drove them all home. He even helped take the canoe back up the hill!

Cocoa recovered and lived until the fall of that year, thanks to Dan’s quick response. Elizabeth says he and Karin are the best kind of neighbours anyone could ask for.

That's a view of Siggy's Island just about the time he leaves.

That's a view of Siggy's Island just about the time he leaves.

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