Apparently, during today’s walk, all 23 pounds of unbridled enthusiasm that is my dog was too much for the owner of the poodle-mix that lives down the street. Even though Cooper was sitting patiently as the dog approached on the sidewalk, the owner forced her dog to make a wide arc around him.
Needless to say, I was perplexed.
Of course, Cooper being Cooper, he did nothing to cement a positive opinion of himself. When he realized that he wasn’t going to get to meet the other pup, he decided he needed to voice his displeasure with barks and growls as he lunged toward the other dog’s path.
Shrugging it off, I redirected him down the road. When we reached the other side of the park, Cooper got the chance to redeem himself. Another dog was on the sidewalk ahead of us and she kept lying down, refusing to leave because she realized that we were headed her way. When I saw her, I made Cooper sit and patiently wait for a moment — giving the other owner one more chance to move his massive dog if he was at all concerned — before letting my little ball of enthusiasm leap forward.
As we approached, I had to assure the other owner that Cooper was friendly. He let me know that Cooper’s attentiveness toward other dogs appeared “aggressive” because he puffed out his chest even as he was sitting (did I mention Cooper’s 23 pounds???).
His dog, however, didn’t agree with his assessment. Her tail started making wide, inviting sweeps through the air the moment they touched noses. Cooper reciprocated by wagging his own tail as they happily sniffed each other. Even though the head of the blue pitbull before us was almost as wide as Cooper’s body is long (her owner said she didn’t get the chance to meet many other dogs because people steered clear of her), neither were afraid or timid or interpreted the actions of the other as aggressive in anyway.
They just were.
And it was beautiful.
- The concept of “my side of the bed” has been summarily dismissed by my animals.
- No matter where I sleep, Colby’s concept of “personal space” includes maintaining close quarters by “laying paws” on my cheek, chin or neck and purring as loud as cat-ly possible.
- Colby, by the way, is 9 months old today. I keep thinking she must be older — like 11 or 12 months old. It’s amazing how much intensity can be wrapped in such as small package.
- Lilly has suddenly decided that she is queen of the house. I don’t know where it came from, but she has apparently decided that she will take on all opponents to get her way. Then she grooms those she beats on.
- The other day, while walking Cooper, we ran into a random woman who wanted to pet him. “He’s very calm,” she said. I immediately wondered who she could be talking about.
- They make my life absolutely crazy. And I wouldn’t change any of them for the world.
Every once in a while, I catch a glimpse of the amazing dog Cooper was always meant to be. When it first started happening, I figured I was imagining it. But I have started to realize that at almost four years old, he is really coming into his own.
I had one of those moments today.
While walking through the local park, we noticed an unmanned little white dog sprinting through the field on his way to a labradoodle on the other side of the walkway. The woman with the labradoodle called to me that the dog came from a nearby house, but she couldn’t get him to go home, no matter how many times she told him to.
In short order, the pup’s owner — a retired man who was probably in his 70s — was headed our way in his truck. I waved him down and told him his dog was on the other side of the park. He grabbed a leash and shuffled toward the dog, calling him as he walked. The pup, however, had other plans and headed the opposite direction.
While all of this was going on, Cooper was relatively calm, although he did bark several times to add to the chorus of people calling for the pup.
For his part, the pup skirted a line of apartments, trying to find a new friend. He played with a group of girls, who squealed and laughed and chased, before moving on to the patio of the next apartment. There, he found an angry and clearly hateful man who stepped out of his place, took off his belt and started whipping it at him, yelling at him to leave (side note: I don’t know who the guy was, but I’m sure that I wouldn’t like him if we ever met).
Still, the pup’s owner shuffled on.
Making a quick decision, I followed the owner with Cooper in tow. We caught up to him just as the pup disappeared between the side of the apartments and a row of tall arborvitae. The pup’s owner seemed lost, not sure whether he should follow. I told him that I would go, hoping Cooper could help lure him back.
Without even saying a word to him, Cooper knew exactly what to do.
He headed straight for the path and trotted ahead of me on the leash as I whistled for the little white dog. Just as we were going to round the corner of the building, the pup ran right into Cooper. I snagged his collar and Cooper kept him occupied while the old man made his way to us and got a leash on him. As we walked back, he told me that the little white terrier mix with black-tipped ears was a 1.5-year-old rescue from the local shelter. His name was Huey.
He ran away from home.
And his owners — whoever they may be — never came for him.
When we reached the walkway again, it became apparent that Huey was all over the place, clearly not used to being on a leash and wanting only to play. Cooper wanted to play, as well, but he was more interested in showing the pup the right way to walk down the path. When we reached a fork in the sidewalk, where we should have parted ways, Cooper wouldn’t let me leave the pair. Instead, he headed for the old man’s truck, dutifully acting as a patient guide to the younger dog.
As the man dragged his hyper pup to the truck, Cooper gave two quick barks before turning, so that we could head the other direction.
And once again, I caught a glimpse of the amazing dog Cooper was always meant to be.
Before the snows came, I noticed that tender shoots from the tulip and daffodil bulbs that line my front steps were barely starting to break through the soil. I knew the early growth was driven by days of relatively mild winter weather.
Then the snow started to fall.
Followed by ice. Lots of ice.
On the heels of the snow and ice came three storm fronts that dumped several inches of rain over only a few short days.
Essentially, I expected all of the winter weather to kill off these first shoots and send the vital nutrients back down to the bulbs until spring.
The bulbs had other ideas. They have continued to thrive despite the weather and are now basking in the 50-degree weather and sunny days. And from the looks of it, I will need to dig up the bulbs this fall and separate them so that they can continue to grow strong despite the weather.
We are on day four of the extreme weather and the end is in sight. Even though the forecast called for a chance of continued ice pellets (lord, help me!), the temperature shot above freezing and started thawing the ice laid down by yesterday’s storm. While the snow is still deep and the roads still unpaved (I live in what many in the U.S. would consider the middle of nowhere, after all), a few small patches of pavement slowly started to make an appearance today.
I might actually be able to fire up the car, slog through slush and make it to the bank tomorrow. I’m not sure what I’ll do with myself.
In the meantime, I have been cleaning house and literally watching ice melt.
After this little bout with the snow, I would say that any thought I had of moving to a mountain community is essentially dashed. I’m not sure why anyone would voluntarily live in a place that gets this kind of weather on a regular basis.
I can’t wait for the thaw.
Not to complain or anything, but the whole snow thing is starting to get old. It’s been three days of snow now. When I woke this morning, we already had better than a foot of the white stuff on the ground. And then it continued to snow most of the day before turning to ice pellets this afternoon. We have at least another day of icy conditions to contend with before it — hopefully — warms to the point that we get rain and some of this snow melts away.
I’m not entirely sure why people voluntarily live in these types of conditions.
Cooper’s not so sure about it either. Watching him in the back yard this morning, I realized that what started for him as a fun romp in white powder has turned into a relentless slog through deep drifts just to try to find a place to pee.
That’s what led to my day’s work today — shoveling paths. I started by digging out the doors on the front porch. While the porch is covered, the winds have been so intense that it has blown snow across pretty much every surface. I then tried to dig out the steps leading up to my front porch. I got about halfway through before I realized that it was more trouble than it was worth.
So, I headed for the back yard and dug out all of the doors there before digging a path from the back door to the grass and clearing a wide spot in the grass for Cooper. I can’t even begin to say how happy that made him. Then, I headed for the front of the garage and dug a path to the garbage cans and the bird feeders. Finally, I dug a car-sized path through the drifts in my driveway that ranged from 16- to 24-inches tall. Despite the path, I’m still not sure I’ll be able to leave because the hill leading to my drive is covered in deep drifts.
At least I got some good exercise.
First, I have to apologize for not posting sooner. It would seem that my list of must-dos and want-to-dos are far longer than the time I seem to have available. The balance of the two is always a struggle. I often feel stretched between two extremes, with everyone desperate for a bit of my time. I am sure that this time of year is worse than most with the majority of holidays, birthdays and fiscal responsibilities crunched into a very short time of year.
Second, the weather has conspired against me to make sure that I focus on getting to my must-do list. With very little warning (a day or two, at most), we received our first real snow storm of the year. Quickly followed by the second.
People who live in the Willamette Valley of Oregon know that snow accumulation is rare. Those who have been raised within the valley floor know that snow is one of those things that happen once a year and only for a day. The accumulation is less than an inch and generally disappears within 12 hours. But every once in a while, we get that record-breaking snow.
This year, apparently, was it the time for that rare storm — or two — when we have been hit by snow that not is not only deep, but sticks around. We received our first storm on Thursday, blanketing us with 4-plus inches of snow, only to be hit by another storm today, which has dumped another 4 to 8 inches, depending on whose estimate you are counting.
What does that mean for me?
No avoiding my household responsibilities.
To my surprise, after fretting about how I just needed one weekend to spend focusing on the housework and year-end tax work, I finally have absolutely no excuses. The weather has dumped a good foot of snow in and around my house, which I take as an indication that the universe is practically shouting that it is time to take care of all of those annoying things that have been important, but not urgent in my life. It is the first weekend where I get to focus entirely on me and not worry about all of the errands that weigh heavy on me, but are probably not the most important things in my life.
Amazing how the universe can be far smarter than I …
This weekend will be dedicated to focusing on my life, my house, my world … to just trying to get through my must-do list, so that I can eventually get to my want-to-do list. That will give me the chance to find balance again.