Shootin' the Breeze

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Archive for the category “animal stories”

Masculine Behavior

“In me you see a relic from a long-lamented age, when masculine behavior wrote a grand romantic page….”    With a Sword and a Rose and a Cape song from the musical Carnival

I pride myself on masculine behavior.  It troubles me when a male fails to display such behavior.

Now, don’t get me wrong.  I love our new puppy, Gus.  However, it disturbs me that Beau and I are so utterly masculine while Gus, (well, how can I say this delicately?) pees like a girl.  That, my friends, is where Beau and I draw the line.

I have been hoping that Beau’s example of lifting his leg during urination would teach Gus how it is done in the male dog world.

Since that has not worked so far, I guess I will have to take a stab at it.  Perhaps I am viewed as more of a leader.  I will let you know.  Good thing we have no neighbors within view.

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We Slept Together the Very First Night

So my wife and I picked up our new puppy yesterday.  His name is Gus.  He is a Yellow Labrador Retriever.  He joins Sadie, who is almost 14 years old, and Beau, who is 6 years old.  They were not too enthused about the idea of bringing in an 8 week old baby to change their lives.  Three is a crowd perhaps.

We spent the day as an orientation period.  Gus seems smart and curious.  He is pretty brave.  He likes following the older dogs.  He wants to make friends.  They are usually tolerant, but Beau snapped at Gus when he got too close to his personal bone.  Sadie left the living room at bedtime and, instead of sleeping there as usual, showed up in our bedroom.  Turns out that was a smart idea.

It was a smart idea because Gus cried and cried from his crate, which I had placed in the living room, thinking he would be comforted by having the other dogs around him.  Not so much.

I remember my father sleeping on our screened porch when we got a new puppy years ago.  He did it so as to take the puppy out to potty during the night.  Also, I suppose, to keep it company.

So I copied my Dad in a modified fashion.  I found the puppy shut up as long as I laid down in front of the crate.  I stayed until he fell asleep.  Then I sneaked away to join Sugar.  An hour later, I was awakened by pitiful crying from the crate in the living room.   I took Gus outside to see about peeing or pooping.  Then I put him back in the crate.  Then he cried again.  Then I laid down in front again.

We repeated the process every hour or so.  We went out four times.

The successful part is that there have been absolutely zero accidents in the house.

Gus feels that I am learning quickly how to sleep in front of the wire door to the crate so he can watch over me.  It only took a few times for me to catch on.

I am sure gonna miss my wife.  I really prefer sleeping with her.

Born This Way

Baby puppies and kitties do not run around right away.  Baby horses do.  It is funny to watch a one-day old foal run and buck.  It can have no memory beyond yesterday.  What is it thinking?

foal

I suppose a difference between dogs and horses is that dogs are predators and horses are prey.  As prey, they must immediately be capable of fleeing danger.

But mostly, foals play.

I don’t know what is going through their minds, but it sure looks like it would be fun to be a foal.

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What they can’t imagine is that when they grow up the real fun begins.

 

Four Eagles

I’ve got poetry in me
Sometimes
Sometimes, like after a foot of snow,
Followed by sub-zero temperatures,
Requires me to walk to the barn
And I want to describe what I see
And how I feel.
At such a time, like today,
Frost forms on my mustache
From breathing cold air
And the breath of the horses is visible
For the same reason.
I like the smell of the hay in the barn.
I like the smell of the horses’ coats of hair
And their breaths of alfalfa.
Coming back inside
The house welcomes me
With warmth and the beauty of flames
Visible through the glass front
Of the wood-burning stove.
Today, my lovely wife had soup cooking
Which smelled better than alfalfa even.
Then she showed me the photo she took
Of four eagles in the same tree.
Don’t you wish you were here?

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Beau and Cujo Go Camping

Some loyal readers have asked how Beau, our Yellow Labrador Retriever, is doing. I have some news to report.
Beau, who has extraordinary self-esteem, and consequently expects that everyone, all creatures great and small, will like him, discovered, sadly, that is not true. It was not true when he met a Mastiff at a campground last week.
As Miss Sugar told the story to me, the Mastiff, apparently irritated by Beau’s exuberant attitude, barked at him. Beau, delighted to have his presence acknowledged by another dog, pulled on the cable to which he was tied so hard that it broke. Beau happily ran to the campsite across the road, dragging the cable, expecting to play.

When Beau arrived, the Mastiff, whom we shall call Cujo, knocked Beau onto his back and went for Beau’s jugular.
Miss Sugar and Cujo’s owner watched in horror. Beau realized that Cujo was not playing nicely and managed to bite Cujo’s face. That move allowed Beau to get up and try to leave the adversarial situation. Unfortunately, Cujo was not finished. He bit Beau’s left hind leg. He bit all the way through the leg.
Miss Sugar called for Beau to retreat. He did.  It is rare for Beau to come when called.
Cujo’s owner owner was embarrassed. She stated the obvious, “He does not get along with other animals. That is why we take him out for walks at 4:00 a.m.” It seems the dog has a history. Beau was not Cujo’s first victim.
She kindly offered to help with Beau’s anticipated vet bills. Then she added. “Our dog’s face is bleeding.”
Sugar did not offer any sympathy.

Sugar did take Beau to a vet she found in the area.  (I was not there to help.  I was at work, scheduled to join the family later.)  The vet treated the puncture wounds from the bite and prescribed antibiotics.  She said Beau might need a shunt to drain infection if that sets in.  He had to wear a cone to keep him from licking his leg.

When I arrived at the campsite, Beau was not the happy camper I am used to seeing.  He was depressed.  He was in pain.  He did not want to walk on his swollen limb.  He hated wearing the cone.  We were sad to see Beau so very sad.  I think part of his depression came from the realization that  Cujo did not like him.  That fact did not Beau’s worldview that everyone likes him.  He seemed to be suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

But don’t worry, Beau fans, he has bounced back.  He did not need a shunt.  He no longer limps.  The cone is off.  He has re-captured his gift of enthusiasm.  Beaurunning

Learning From Horses

scampaction

Babe, Misty, Tony, Flicka, Domino, Gypsy, Duke, Lightning, Star, Mitzy, Honey, Ben, Smokey, Sweet Pea, Basko, Dillon, Dusty, Cody, Sasi, Velvet, Holly, Scamp, Woody and many others

Are all teachers of mine.

They taught me patience and assertiveness,

They taught me communication and psychology.

They taught me the joy of partnership.

And the thrill of horse and rider doing what neither could do alone.

cowdogondrive

woodyandAL

Equine Companionship

Walked out in the pasture

To clear my mind

To enjoy God’s outdoors

Walking alone through the grass

When I heard the hoof beats.

Two geldings ran up to me

Inquiring about my presence

And whether I needed friends.

I did need their acceptance

And their comfort.

They each sniffed my hands

And my hair, letting me pet them

Even hugging their necks.

It feels good to know they care.

One can have a relationship

With horses as well as dogs.

Another Bat Bites the Dust

antlers

Warning:  If you are a lover of bats, the following post contains disturbing material.

An erratic flight pattern by something crosses the TV screen in the dark room.  We know what it is.  We have had this experience many times before.

I turn on the lights in the room and we try to spot where the creature has landed.

My wife, Sugar, is my spotter.  She tells me to look at the third log from the top, right of the smoke detector.  I grab my trusty Red Ryder BB gun and take aim.  POW!

The winged creature drops to the floor.  The wings close around the body of the deceased.  It is a goner.  Another one bites the dust.

Not everyone shoots BB guns inside one’s home.  But I ain’t everyone.  I am a special marksman living in a log home with high ceilings.

We like bats flying around outside, presumably eating bugs.  But inside?  That’s where I draw the line.

Beau’s Hot Tub Etiquette

bunkhouse

We have a log bunkhouse on our ranch.  It was the original homestead cabin, but has been refurbished except for the logs themselves.  The roof, electrical, plumbing, and storm windows are all new.  It has a bathroom.  It has a sauna.  We advertise it on Air B&B.  Our guests seem to like it.  My wife, Sugar, goes overboard in the hospitality department.  She is a wonderful cook.  It is more than “bed and breakfast.”

This past weekend we had guests from another state.  They were recently married.  Both husband and wife are engineers.  Smart couple.  Supposedly.

For engineers, they failed to foresee obvious dangers.  They failed to account for our dog, Beau.  Big mistake!

Beau is, as loyal readers recall, a Yellow Labrador Retriever.  He retrieves items whether or not he has been requested to do so.  Hence the problem.

The young couple took advantage of the opportunity to relax in our hot tub located in the courtyard.  Beau took advantage of them.

They wore robes and sandals.  They carried towels.  Beau watched.

He watched more carefully than they did.  They placed their towels and robes over the cantina bar next to the hot tub.  They put their sandals on the step up into the hot tub.

Beau waited from them to get into the tub.  He waited for them to relax.  He waited for an opportune moment.  He caught them unaware.

Then he grabbed a robe and ran.  When the husband got out to fetch it from Beau, holding a towel around his waist, Beau circled back and grabbed the remaining towel, having left the robe 50 feet from the tub.  Faster than the man, Beau got a sandal before he got back.

Sugar looked out a window, observed the chaos, and intervened.  She retrieved the items for the couple.  They decided that they had relaxed enough and returned to the bunkhouse.

Beau had a wonderful time.  He hopes they come back to visit.  Fat chance.

Beaurunning

 

Internship

puppy

Sugar and I went on a little weekend trip to Vail. Ski season just ended. Many places in the village were closed but enough were open. Few people wandered the area. By the melted skating rink, a young couple was playing with their Golden Retriever puppy. They said it is 8 weeks old. It is as cute as any puppy you have ever seen.

There was an older dog, a Black Lab with a gray muzzle , who was also by the rink. He had a squeek toy that his owner was throwing. The Lab would fetch it gladly, then squeek it again so he’d get another turn. The puppy watched and tried to join in, but he was not fast enough. The older dog could even catch it in the air. The puppy did not have a chance.

Yet.

Now he has seen how it is done by an expert.  Wait until next year, after he has completed his internship.

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