I've been a bit of a "naughty girl", and Mum and Dad are none too pleased with me.
We had a trip to the creek, on the very hottest day we've seen so far. It was all fun and games, Mum and Dad lounging on a rock in the water, while I swam all over the place, getting out occasionally to shake myself in their vicinity and share some of the refreshingly cool creek water with them.
After a while, the water began to lose its initial allure and I decided to explore some bushes and a rock wall. It was rich with all sorts of scents, and I could barely keep up with it all, dashing from one to the next. Before I knew it, I found myself way up high, on a narrow ledge, and there were Mum and Dad, still sitting on the rock, but now looking to be about the size of miniature poodles. They were calling my name, and I think, saying something about how I'd better get down, RIGHT NOW! But they were so small and far away, it was hard to really tune in and focus. Then I realized that the ledge I was on was really narrow, and I must have jumped across a gap in the rock to get there, and in the other direction was a big cactus it was hard to get past, and I got dizzy thinking about it all. Suddenly I wanted to get back down to Mum and Dad, but my legs started shaking and I was afraid of slipping, so I sat down to wait for Dad to come and get me, and that silly whining noise I used to do when I was in the shelter started coming out of my mouth.
It took Dad ages to climb all the way up there. Sometimes I feel so sorry for my people. They seem to have such a hard time doing the simplest of things with those hefty boots they wear on their feet, to say nothing of the major shortfall of only having two legs. He arrived a few feet from where I was, covered in scratches and panting very hard. Mum was down below, with her soothing voice, telling me to wait for Dad and that I'd be okay.
So now I was one side of the gap, and Dad was on the other, and that was how it stayed because, apparently, Dad weighs more than me and couldn't step on the rock overhang. He wanted me to just jump back over the gap, but I got really scared just thinking about it, so I tried crawling along a shelf just above where Dad was. This ended up going nowhere, and was covered in pack rat poop, which made me even more scared. Of all the critters there are around here, pack rats are my least favorite. They give me the willies just smelling their scent, and started my legs wobbling all over again. I tried the shelf option several times, every time Dad would call me, but I just ended up getting rat poop all over me. Yuck!
I was getting very tired and thirsty, so I lay down for a bit, and Mum said she had an idea. She came back with a donut. Yippee! She started throwing pieces up to me, but Mum can't throw for toffee and they were always just out of my reach. In fact they kept falling right at the edge of the gap I didn't want to jump over. It took all my skills to slide myself along to where they were and reach my tongue out, so I could snatch them up without having to leave my safe spot. I started to get the impression that Mum was actually aiming the donut pieces at the edge of the gap so that I would have to jump over to get them. Well, I wasn't falling for that one! After all that exertion, I lay down for another rest. Mum had used up all the donut so she went off to think up another plan.
Mum was starting to get upset (and that's never fun to see, I can tell you), and next thing I heard was her on the phone to Marta Williams. Now, for those of you animals who don't already know, Marta is what the humans call an "Animal Communicator". What that means is that she can have a conversation with us, just like a real dog can, which is very exciting. The first time Mum and Dad put her in touch with me, after the "mushroom incident", (more about that another time) I couldn't stop talking. She told Mum and Dad I was a "Chatty Kathy", whatever that means. Maybe she's not so smart after all, since everyone knows my name is Ruby. Anyway, that's the good part. The bad part is that with Marta, there's no pretending you don't understand because she can read all your mind pictures. It's not like when Mum and Dad tell you to do something and you can just pretend you don't quite get it. She speaks very clearly and there's no mistaking what she says.
Anyway, when I heard Mum was on the phone to Marta, I thought the game was almost over. It would have been great to chew things over with her for a while, but before long, I know I would have blurted out about the easy path down the other side. Oops! The one Mum and Dad hadn't noticed yet. And there was still a chance Mum had some more donut stashed away, so I didn't want to ruin my chances of scoring some more of that treat. I NEVER get to eat donuts under normal circumstances, so this wasn't a chance to be passed up. My luck was in. Marta wasn't home.
Dad decided to try some other options, so next thing I know he's down below another part of the ledge, and has found a way to climb up so he can almost touch me. Mum is telling him to grab my collar and I realize they're planning on hauling me down on Dad's shoulders. Not likely! I may have looked like a complete wuss, but there are limits to what a dog will go through. My pride was at stake, and more to the point, I had noticed a couple of things that changed the situation. 1. The heron I'd had my eye one ever since we'd arrived, was now somewhere down below within chasing distance. 2. Most importantly, I noticed when Mum was throwing the donut, that quite a few pieces had fallen short and were now lying somewhere on the ground below begging to be eaten. As Dad made a grab for my collar, I did a quick about turn and headed for the easy descent. Dad was now having trouble getting back down himself, so while Mum and Dad were busy with that operation, I skipped down the rocks, sniffed out the treats and got a belly full before they had even figured out what had happened!
Needless to say, they weren't at all pleased when they found me, especially when they discovered that I had rolled in some rather ripe racoon poop (I had to get rid of that pack rat smell somehow). I started to get a sneaking suspicion that they were now doubting I had really been in trouble up there in the first place. I was, honestly, but, well, you know how it is when you're getting all the attention and you kind of forget what it was that started it all off? It was kind of like that. And then when the donut throwing started...
I think I'll have to lay low for a bit until they forget about it. It will probably be a good idea not to try that one again, at least not this side of summer, anyway.
Earlier this week, Babushka came over to spend the day with our family. She's (please don't snigger when you hear this) a Cockapoo! Yes, you heard it right. Can't say I'd like to be in her paws. Now, telling people you're a Golden Retriever, or even a Golden Retriever/Irish Setter mix, has some pizazz to it. It sounds dignified, solid, let's people know what your skills and interests are. But tell someone you're a Cockapoo and what does that tell them about you? I've overheard some talking and it seems it's something to do with being part of a Cocker Spaniel and part of a Poodle. Spoodle would have made more sense to me, but there you go, that's humans for you.
Anyway, in spite of the label, Babushka is a top notch dog, smart and cute with black curls and floppy ears. It made me spin around in circles and jump all over everyone when she arrived on Wednesday morning. She came from the Humane Society too, so we understand each other. It's been a bit rough for her recently. Her people got divorced and decided it was time for her to have a new home. Luckily, some really good people found her at the Humane Society - my mum and dad's friends, Rob and Chizuko. Rob used to have a dog called Wolf, who was one of the smartest dogs anyone has ever known. I didn't know her for long myself, but people still talk about her, and my mum has a picture of her in our house. She died quite a while ago, so Rob and Chizuko have been missing having a dog around. Quite frankly, I don't know how they've managed all this time. No one to take on walks or snuggle up with them in bed at night. Doesn't bear thinking about! Lucky for them, Babushka's a real snuggle bunny, and can wag her whole body nearly as much as I can. She's only 2, so I've been teaching her a few things and she's been catching on really fast. Almost too fast, I would say. I showed her my marrow bone, thinking it would be much too big for her little mouth, but I'd only turned my back for a moment and sure enough, she'd carted it off somewhere and buried it. No matter, I'll soon sniff it out. There's not much gets past my nose!
Another visitor this week was a black lab called Molly. No one invited her over, but she arrived at the gate one evening after dark. I dutifully guarded my territory with some ferocious barking that should have scared a dog twice her size, but being Molly, she just stuck her face through the gate and kept on wagging her tail until my mum came out and let her in. Now, I knew it was Molly and that she lives just around the corner, but Mum didn't recognize her and because she wasn't wearing a tag with her phone number on it, the police had to come and take her off to the Humane Society so her people would know where to find her. While we were waiting, Mum asked her what her name was. Of course, Molly was saying it loud and clear, but Mum couldn't get it, and went through a whole list of names before she got the picture Molly was sending her. Then Dad remembered who Molly's mum was, and where she lived. My mum quickly went over there to tell Molly's people what had happened, but no one was home, and the yard gate was open, so Molly still had to go for the ride in the police cruiser. I prefer Officer Rob's truck myself. Mum doesn't like it when I go for a ride in the animal police truck, as it means I've been "a naughty girl" and gone exploring the neighborhood on my own, which Mum says is dangerous. I usually get to ride up front where I can see everything, and they give me a treat to make sure I'll jump in. I would anyway, but it's best not to take any chances when a treat is being offered.
Speaking of treats. Today we went to my all-time favorite place in Sedona. The Euro Deli! Those people really know how to treat a dog. In fact it's more like a whole dinner. They have a place outside where dogs can wait, and there's always a full bowl of fresh water waiting. I sit there on my best behavior while Mum is inside, trying to catch the eye of the lady with blonde hair. I can tell when she's spotted me because everyone in there starts talking about dogs and what a "good girl" I am, and I can see the lady going behind the counter for MY TREATS! It's nothing like one of those dry biscuits you get at the bank drive-through. This is a whole plate of the tastiest meats and my mouth starts watering before she's even part way through the door. I have to scoff it all down at record speed, in case there are any other dogs watching and getting ideas that it's for them instead. I can taste it even now. Just writing about it is making my mouth water all over again. I'm going to be dreaming about that Euro Deli tonight. In fact, I think I'll get a head start right now.
The heat is starting to hit and my daytime activities have slowed down a lot these past few days. My hole under the pine tree in the back yard is having to be dug out on a daily basis, to make sure the nice cool earth is uncovered. When even there gets too warm, I stroll back into the house and seek out the coolest spot - usually the floor in the laundry room. Sometimes they forget to leave the door open, so I have to hang around near the laundry room door until someone notices and opens it for me. I'm not much of a dog for the heat - give me some snow any day! Or the creek...
Now that reminds me of what I wanted to tell you all about. I overheard some really good news today. My friend Monty is going to be coming to stay at the end of May, for a whole 10 days! I couldn't believe it when I overheard my mum talking to his mum about it. Last I had heard, Monty was having some knee problems and had been banned from visiting, mainly because we like to get into some full-on wrestling matches when we're together and his people thought it would be too dangerous. Well, I'm happy to say that they think he's made a good enough recovery to be able to partake in some lightweight roughhousing again. I'm sure mum and dad will be keeping a careful watch so that we don't over do it.
Best of all, when Monty comes to stay, we go to the creek ALL THE TIME! Yes, Monty is a dedicated water dog, so my people give him plenty of opportunities to swim. I'm not so keen on the wet stuff myself. He even likes baths, if you can believe that! Getting my ears wet is the worst, so I always make sure I keep my head above water. Old Monty will just go plunging right in, but I like to take my time and work myself up to it. If someone is throwing a stick or a ball, though, I usually can't contain myself, as my number one rule is never to let the other dog get the toy. When Monty's there, I have to start thinking up some sly tricks, because he really is a very good swimmer. I'll often wait until he has fetched the stick and is almost at the bank, then I'll launch my attack and grab the other end of it while he's swimming. It doesn't take long before he gets tired of me hanging on the other end and lets go.
Of course, if there are any birds around - ducks in particular - it goes without saying that there is very little that will keep me out of the water (maybe a firm hand on the collar, but sometimes I can even manage to slip out of that too). Those ducks are so frustrating. You should see the way they tease me, making that terrible quacking noise and swimming by mere feet from my nose. Once or twice I've almost reached one, then at the last minute they start flapping those wings of theirs, and before you know it, they're sailing several feet ABOVE the water, and laughing in my face to boot. It's just not fair! But I certainly don't intend giving up. I have a few cunning plans tucked up my paw for this season. I'll show them!
Here's a reminder of what a handsome boy our Monty is: