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Fossil Creek Adventure

So after Monty went home, Mum and Dad took me on a special adventure. I tried to be patient waiting for them to put all the camping stu...

Friday, August 17, 2007

Now, where did I hide that bone?

The termite exterminators are at the house, which means I get a big bone to keep me busy and out of their way. Only trouble is, there's nowhere to bury it. After an hour or so of non-stop gnawing, my mouth started to get a bit tired and I decided it was about time to find a safe hiding place for my bone. I trotted over to my secret passage (that's the new way I have to get to the back yard from the front porch), but Mum had put up a barrier to keep me from bothering the workmen. Never mind, I thought, the front door was open, so I trotted off into the house, intending to just go out through my dog door at the back. Drat! The steel door was down. I started wandering from room to room, feeling sure I would either find a door open somewhere else, or the perfect hiding place would present itself. I was just heading for the office (lots of good places there!), when Mum spotted me, and I don't know what it's like where you live, but in our house, bones indoors are a BIG no no. I'm going to have to be on my best behavior for the rest of the day now!

Being on my best behavior.

Doggy Sleepovers and the Food Tree

Yay! My friend Monty is here. Don’t tell him I made such a big fuss, but I really like having him around to play with. He comes every once in a while when his people go somewhere and we have just the best time for a few days.

He’s a yellow lab who used to be all big and overweight like a cow dog. Then he hurt his knee. After he got it fixed his people decided maybe he shouldn’t eat so much. They pretty well starved him for months, but boy does he look great now. All trim and agile. You’d never mistake him for me, of course, but for a dufus-y boy dog he’s not half-bad.

One thing Monty could always do, even when he was big, was swim. When we go to the creek Monty is always first to the stick wherever Mum or Dad throw it, no matter how far. I can’t keep up once he’s in the water. I figured out if I wait at the bank and bark at him, Monty will let me grab the stick out of his mouth when he climbs out. I win and he does all the work. Pretty clever, huh?

Ruby rules for Pully, Keep-Away and other games: Monty is not allowed on the couch... ever!

Really, though, he loves being in the water and would chase sticks until full dark if we let him. He doesn’t care about bragging rights. Yesterday at the creek he swam and swam while I nosed around in the trees and looked for ducks. I haven’t seen any of those for a long time. I think they must have got the message that it’s Ruby’s creek and they fish in it at their peril.

I know you don’t believe all those stories about how I could never catch up to a duck in the water. I just let ‘em get away so that they’ll keep coming back.

Monty is used to getting up really early in the morning at his house. My Mum and Dad don’t get out of bed quite as early as he would like, so he makes these big roary, rumbly noises like a rhinossomus until one of them either gets up to take us for a walk or shuts us outside the bedroom. Then he just stands at the door and does it.

Lately I’ve discovered how much fun it is to join in and bark while Monty rumbaroars. Then I jump on the bed for cuddles while Monty gets all frantic. He’s not allowed on the bed cause we don’t want him to get in trouble by going home with a new bad habit he learned from me. Wait. That didn’t come out right. It’s a very good habit, really. You know what I mean.

Um, I’m in a bit of trouble right now. Monty had to go back to his people. After that Mum took me for our afternoon hike. Naturally when she took off the leash I had to go inspect the “food tree,” that juniper where someone leaves food for the coyotes, just to make sure nobody suspicious had been prowling around.

Mum and Dad get really mad about that food tree. They say it just encourages coyotes and other animals to come around where they shouldn’t, and to get used to people, and well, dogs too, which is bad for everybody. I have to agree.

But everyone knows it’s part of my job to make sure no dangerous animals are about, so I trotted on over to the tree, quietly, so I wouldn’t scare my Mum, and had a look. There might have been some food there, I don’t really remember, cause I was sniffing for coyotes, of course, and couldn’t be bothered about food. And if there was any it might have been all moldy, smelly and delightful to the palate, for someone less busy than me to notice.

Mum might have been calling me, I’m not sure, since I was all vigilant for varmints, and that rotten food didn’t interest me in the least. Except slightly for research purposes, maybe, if at all. It’s important to know just what attracts the bad guys, you see.

Anyway, if I might have had just a little bite, not liking it or anything, and realized how important it was for everyone’s safety that I get rid of that nasty coyote bait, and to do it very quietly so I wouldn’t upset Mum about the danger, then it’s just possible I might have been all hunkered down under the juniper scarfing down oozy bits when my Mum found me.

For some reason she was all mad.

She took me right home and called my Dad.

I’m going out to the porch now and, burp, euh, guard from my, burp, porch.

Not feeling so good.

Friday, August 10, 2007

All Work & No Play... is not the way we do things around here

I don’t know if everybody knows just how important I am. There’s the fact that I’m beautiful and glamorous, as you know if you’ve met me or read this blog. And smart.

What you may not realize is how big a job I do. It takes somebody with a good head on her shoulders to do it right. It’s up to me to see that the humans in my life get the training they need and are always properly protected and supervised. Without my support who knows what might become of them?

If you’re a dog you know exactly what I’m talking about. Some of you probably work even harder than I do. You definitely do if you’ve got duff people to care for. I’ve noticed a few like that in our neighborhood, and boy, are the dogs that keep them overworked. Most days my people seem worth the effort.

Humans, of course, can be very unpredictable! I’ve seen them do things no animal would ever do, only to be rescued from harm, embarrassment or food at the last possible moment by their dogs. Just when you think everything is under control and it’s safe to nod off for a bit, well, let’s just say humans have to be watched every minute.

Like the time my Dad left a roasted chicken in the car. That wasn’t smart, and he should have known better. It might have gotten away but for my quick thinking. While he was in the store getting more food I alertly climbed into the grocery bag and ate as much of the chicken as I could before it had a chance to make a break for it. That was a close call.

Incidents like that demonstrate that a Security Chief can’t relax even for a moment. I have to guard myself, my people, our territory, the cars, all our stuff, and most importantly, our food. When we have guests I have to guard them too. That takes a lot of patrolling, sniffing, strategic barking and all-around paying attention. I can’t do it all from my couch, I mean observation post, on the porch. Sometimes I have to patrol.

Proper security requires consistency. It’s just like raising one of those babies you see humans with. You can’t bark the rabbit out of the driveway one day and just let it pass or expect it not to come back the next. You’ve got to bark those rabbits away every time you see them. That’s the only way they learn. Same with birds. They just don’t get the message. I think it’s all that flying. It makes them lightheaded. They don’t realize what they’re saying half the time, and when they do it’s always insulting. They need a firm paw.

Now some intruders require the use of a special vocabulary. I’ve heard my people call it “trash talking.” But it’s got nothing to do with trash. You just have to tell a coyote or javelina exactly what you’re going to do when you get hold of it. And what you think of it. This kind of helpful lecture from behind my fence can sound quite animated. Sometimes my people need me to come inside right away and comfort them when I’m being stern with a coyote. I know it’s only because they’re scared.

Besides keeping everyone safe, I’ve got other stuff to do outside. I’m Director Of Backyard Operations, and sometimes that means Dad is using big pointy, choppy, sawing tools to make firewood while I’m digging important holes in the ground. He’s my responsibility while he’s cutting, swinging, pounding or whatever. I have to get very close to see what he’s doing. Sometimes he needs reminding that it’s time to chase me or give me a treat. This keeps him alert.

All the people I know require special attention from time to time. I can tell immediately when they need to be distracted from silly human worrying and that’s when I lean against them or sit on their foot or crawl into their lap. I make sure they rub me to relieve the tension. It’s best to put them to work right away petting me so they get reminded about what’s important.

Dogs, you know what I’m talking about here. It wouldn’t be right to leave them fretting or moping when they could be playing, laughing or telling me what a good girl I am.

By far the most serious job I do is cleanup. Imagine how messy our house would be if I wasn’t here to straighten up after the humans! Who would lick up the spills, gobble the dropped crumbs and generally show people how important it is to eat food rather than leave it lying around? The amount of yummies they just let go is amazing. They don’t even think to lick the floor or gobble the juniper berries. They leave perfectly good lotion on their arms and faces when it’s so easy to just swab it up with your tongue.

I tell you, it's a full-time job being a dog. No wonder I have to catch a nap any time I can.