Posted by: doctornuke | December 26, 2010

Going to the dogs.

Okay, so it’s been a while since I wrote – seems life gets busy around Christmas time – don’t know why. Plus I couldn’t really get inspired to write about anything in particular. So I thought I’d do one of my random musings. And I thought I’d start with the dogs, since I just looked up and Beckett is outside fogging up the back door as he waits patiently to come in – there are two round fog spots so apparently he is doing some nose fogging.

I’ve never seen a dog adapt to such a major change in geography as Beckett has. He loves Idaho! He moved out here in the spring and fell in love with the Idaho spring winds. The townhouse I stayed in channelled wind between the side of the house and the 6′ fence, and he loved to go outside and just stand there in the wind. I don’t know if it was about the wind blowing through his hair (it made him look even more wolf-like) or the whole new world of smells that was being delivered to his nose. Probably a combination of both. But he would stand there for hours if I would let him. The wind carried a lot of stuff with it – I would clean out cold charcoal ash from my grill by just putting it in the wind channel and taking the top off – this would get almost all of the ash, and fertilize the yard with it at the same time.

When we moved into this house in July, when the rest of the family got here, Beckett rapidly claimed the back yard as his own. The Idaho summer is about as good as it gets, with daytime highs in the low to mid 80’s.  Generally we would keep the house open, and Beckett and Monkee could come and go as they please.  Monkee would stay wherever the people were, or where the food was.  Beckett just preferred to stay outside in the grass, soaking up the sun.  Sometimes he would roll around in the grass, turning upside down and wiggling with his legs in the air – we call this his “happy dance.”  Or he would pick up a toy, play with it by tossing it in the air then going and getting it.  Or just lay on the ground and just chew on it, until the warmth of the sum would lull him to a short nap.  He never was sound asleep though, as the slightest sound would get him up on his feet faster than it originally took the sound to travel to his ears.  Closing the door to keep out the flies was a problem – if we closed the door, he would decided he wanted to come in, and come to the back door and scratch or steam the glass, or start some dog snot artwork.  But if we let him in, a few minutes later he’d want to go back outside, and we’d have to let him out again.  Then the process would repeat, and we would tire of it before he would.  So generally the back door stayed open during the day when we were home, and we just bought some fly strips to hang.  Those are always fun anyway!

Beckett is very fond of his humans, and wants to be near them.  That is why this inside-outside act happens.  He wants both to be outside and be near his humans, so he has to alternate.  In his mind, the best solution is for his humans to come outside with him, which we would often do.  Then he would turn into a puppy, wanting to play, and play, and play.  Usually Monkee would come out too, and he’d start picking at her until she would play too.  And that is the funniest game to watch – a little 8″ tall Chihuahua mix taking on a 3′ tall Bernese Mountain dog mix.  And she kept him honest too – if he wasn’t down on her level to play, she would jump up into his face and take him on.  They would often both get “the rips” and run all over the yard chasing each other.

Come fall they still spent a lot of time outside if it wasn’t raining, but with the cooler weather we wouldn’t be out there as much.  We would be good servants most of the time though, letting them in and out on request.  But then in November, the first snow came.  I was out of town for the first snowfall in mid-November, but they received 3-4″ of snow.  By the time I got back on Friday, almost all of the snow was gone, but Kate had taken a video of Beckett and Monkee playing in the snow, and had shared it with me.  You ought to be able to view the video online here.  As the title of the video says, Beckett really loved the snow – Monkee, not so much.

Our next major snowfall came two weeks later – the week of Thanksgiving.  Over a 2-3 day period, we got about 2′ of snow.  The wind kicked in on the last day, so we had only 3-4″ in much of the yard, but 4′ drifts near the fence, and near the one car that was parked in the driveway.  Not a lot of fun to shovel away.  This was an unusually heavy (and early) snowfall, even for the locals, and they even had to close INL for a day (they almost never close

Beckett in the snow

the lab).  I had been shoveling the back steps and patio with each snowfall to keep a path to the grass clear and ice-free.  I even kept an area of grass open just past the patio for the dogs to do their business.

Beckett didn’t care – he would bound though any level of snow and enjoy it.  Monkee had not yet “warmed” to the concept of snow, and spent a very minimal time out there.  Beckett would try to get her to play, but would just get snapped at.

Monkee would just stay near the house where the snow was melted or very thin, and would occasionally make use of the grass.

I have more to share on this topic, but it has started to snow again and Beckett wants to go outside, so I’ll stop here and pick up the story later today or sometime tomorrow.

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