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

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A Good Friend in a Tight Place…

As most of you know, I love the company of other dogs. And sadly, my doggie pals are only here weekends and then only in the summer. Except for Siggy. But he lives on the island, and we can only bark to each other across the water.  -:o(=

There’s only one thing I can imagine that would be worse than having no doggie friends. That would be living with all of them in a shelter. We would be able to see each other, hear and smell each other… but in separate enclosures, we couldn’t play together, cuddle or chase each other. TORTURE!

But here’s a story Elizabeth’s friend just posted on Facebook. This is my kind of Fairy Tail!

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!

My Christmas…

The other day, Al from next door came over to my two-leggers’ house with Harley. I was surprised to see them ’cause Al’s usually too busy working to come visit me. I usually go over to visit him!

While I showed Harley around our yard, Al gave Kay and Elizabeth one of those things with handles that two-leggers use instead of their mouths to carry things around (two-leggers have some great inventions). After Harley left with Al, I checked it out. It smelled like Joanne, which was nice, ’cause I haven’t seen Joanne for a long time and I like her. Elizabeth put the holder on a chair and told me to leave it.

The two-legger holder thing stayed on the chair for several days. I’d go over and sniff it once in a while – it was kind of like saying hello to Joanne except she wasn’t really there. Joanne always gives me nice things, and I began wondering what was in the holder. Whatever it was seemed to be wrapped up in thin rustly stuff like what Kay sits and looks at each evening, but nicer smelling. But I was good, and I only sniffed at it once in a while.

Then one day, Elizabeth took the wrapped thing out of the holder and put it on the floor. She said I could open it up! It seems she was just as curious about it as me after all…. I tried to be a lady about it. Whoever wrapped it – Joanne I think, ’cause it smelled like her as I said – did a good job. I particularly liked the little thing stuck on the wrapping – it deserved a second look it was so pretty.

The whole time I was working at the wrapping – bits of it kept getting stuck in my mouth – Elizabeth had her camera stuck in front of her face. Two-leggers look and behave awfully silly sometimes, engrossed as they become in their preoccupations. The degree of their silliness seems to be directly proportional to the amount of aid you require with something, I find. Sometimes getting the SOS message through to them is quite challenging…. Eventually, she tried to help me a bit, though (I really was getting a little frustrated…). Here’s the result of our efforts:

I named him Rudey. This is because he seems quite rude to me. He’s fine with Elizabeth. She asks him to talk to her and he makes a squeak. He won’t answer me. I’ve tried everything from asking him nicely, to licking his face, and nibbling his ears and antlers. I’ve tried to pull out the ropey thing that seems to be stuck in his mouth, and the other one that seems to be stuck in… his other end. He doesn’t seem to be at all appreciative. So, I decided to shake him and toss him around a bit – knock some civility into the rude dude. He’s still not talking to me.

I keep trying, but after a while, I just give up, take Rudey over to Elizabeth and dump him at her feet. If they want to talk, they can.  I must admit, he’s a good sport with the rough-housing, but his silence gets a bit boring after a while.

It turns out that the gift was from Joanne’s grandchildren, who come to play with me some weekends. Brandon can be a bit stuffy sometimes; he doesn’t like my kisses (Elizabeth says not to be offended because boys don’t usually like kisses from girls ’til they get a bit older…), but he and Emily are great fun to hang with when they’re here. There was another present from Joanne and Al and Bud in the holder thing. I think Bud must’ve put it in ’cause there was no rustly stuff wrapped around it and it was much easier to get to…. Thank you! You’re great pals. I can’t wait to see you again!

xx  ~:oP=

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