Shootin' the Breeze

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Archive for the category “animal stories”

Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor

MineMe

Beau, pictured on the right, has taken under his tutelage young Gus, pictured on the left.  Gus emulates many aspects of Beau’s behavior.

twins (2)

playmates

Double trouble.  Me and Mini Me.

What were we thinking?

Like Taking Candy from a Baby

baby bone

playmates

Beau has been fairly tolerant of the puppy, Gus.  And Gus idolizes Beau, imitating him and trying to play with him.

Stair steps

Beau draws the line at sharing bones.  When I give them each their own chew toys, Beau’s morality does not prevent him from taking the puppy’s from him.

twins (2)

They are still pals, but someday the roles might be reversed.  Gus is going to be a big’un.

 

Hangin’ Out at the Tub

puppy and cat

Our poor cat, Camo, is learning to stay off the ground, out of reach of the puppy, Gus.  Pictured here, the cat is on the hot tub.  The puppy is exploring means to ascend there.

Cats are, they say, curious.  This one is fascinated by the puppy.  He likes to be around the puppy, but far enough away to not get harrassed.

In time, they will work it out.

Proper Introductions

Gus and Kitty

The image above is of a puppy and cat meeting through the glass of a door between our kitchen and deck.  The cat is a barn cat named Camo, who has brought us rabbits as big as himself, which he preys upon.  We were concerned that he would see Gus, the puppy, as prey, so we have kept them apart.  As you can see, they are curious about each other.

Now I will tell you the rest of the story.

After the featured picture was taken, I took Gus outside and carefully placed him in the dog pen we have.  Of course, the cat can enter or leave the pen at will.  When Camo came into the pen, I picked up the puppy and removed him from the pen, then put him on the grass in the yard.  The cat left the pen to be with us.

The cat, great hunter that he has proven to be, continued to study the awkward puppy.  I stayed by the puppy, confident in my quickness so that I could grab the puppy if the cat threatened.

The bumbling puppy left the safety of standing between my legs and recklessly bounded toward the cat before I could swoop him up.  I feared that Gus was in harm’s way.  It would be my fault if the cat scratched his eyes out or hurt Gus in any way.

And, as Gus boldly ran right up to the cat, Camo did indeed defend himself by snarling and raising a claw-equipped paw.  I did not blame Camo.  Gus was the aggressor.  Still, I wanted no harm to either pet.

I wish I had a movie of what happened next.  The cat decided that Gus is not a rabbit, albeit rabbit-sized.  He recalled the proper world order, which is that dogs chase cats.  Camo ran away from the ferocious puppy.  Actually, the puppy seemed friendly and wanting to play, as he tries to do with everyone else in our family.  He attacks Sadie and Beau.  He attacks Sugar and me.  He attacks tennis balls and stuffed toys and bones.

Camo fled to a branch at an elevation just slightly beyond the reach of Gus, who barked at the cat in a scolding manner, challenging him to come down.  Camo did not come down.  Gus lost interest and followed me back to the house.  Now he is sleeping.  No doubt dreaming about battles won and to be won.

It looks like it would be lots of fun to be a puppy.  This one is a brave hero in his own mind, unaware that he looks more cute than tough.

 

 

Masculine Behavior

beau and gus

“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.

As shown in the photo above, Beau has been mentoring the puppy about bones and life in general.  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.

We Slept Together the Very First Night

sleepy gus

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.

 

Gus at 8 weeks

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.

Image

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?

IMG_0561.JPG

 

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

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