Friday, June 19, 2009

Sun! (and Ya Gotta Luv Him)

We've been going a little stir crazy over here.

I'm not complaining, mind you, but we've had weeks and weeks of rain (necessary and welcome here after consecutive years of drought), and that means the canine crew doesn't get much outdoor time.

So imagine their sheer joy when I took them outside this morning to no rain!

Okay, so maybe it wasn't their joy; it was admittedly mine (they couldn't care less what the weather is, as long as they get to be outside). The forecast for today (first time in weeks) was for no rain.

Yay... loads of outdoor play today! We can all be sane!

So I took them outside to romp, and I (of course) threw the Kong toy for who knows how long.

Then I thought to myself, ha cha! ... now they should be good 'n tired and stay out of mischief (my first erroneous conclusion). And then, continuing my thought, I should be able to leave them safely outside while I go inside and get some work done (second erroneous conclusion).


I forget that our big galoot of a sweetie pie is still a puppy. Yup Tuc. He's still a puppy, no matter how adult he looks.

Tell me.. doesn't he look close to grown (again, please forgive the not-quite-crisp images that follow; like the last batch, I took them on the sly through the window/screen so the canine kids wouldn't know I was taking them -- I wanted candid shots!).

Just look at that face!

Look how handsome and regal he (standing) is with Kenya (lying down)! Don't forget to note his tail blur(hehe):

Sidenote: yes, that's my nice clean picnic table again.

See how easy it would be for me to forget he's only a year old? I really can't be faulted for not remembering he's an imp.

So while I was hussling away inside, I happened to glance out the kitchen window. Here's what I saw:

My planter box:

One of the plastic folding tables my human kids gave me for my birthday last year (well, what's left of it):

My daughter's decorative end table (he likes the plastic floor guards on the ends of the metal legs):

Not to worry; Tuc didn't ingest anything. He just chewed.

And it's my fault for leaving things where he could get at them.

Just so you know, however, Kenya, Elsie, Pinot, and Ridge, without exception, lazed about and slept while Tuc was up to his antics. They didn't get into trouble with any of the stuff I left out. It really wasn't that far-fetched to think I could leave end-tables and one dirt-filled planter (no plants) on the deck. The four of them left them alone.

Ah... but they're not puppies.

Tuc is.

So, the sun is shining; the canine crew is happily outdoors; and I'm get things done.

Funny though, I don't recall "clean up planter dirt" and "hide end-tables" on today's original to-do list. They're there now, though. And checked off.

How thoughtful of Tuc to help me feel productive.

Ya gotta luv him!

'Til next time,

Friday, June 12, 2009

Tuc's New Thing

The young Tucmeister has a fetish.


We've got to face the bare truth here (and it is bare). Tuc, indeed, has problem.

Poor boy.

Yes, sir. Our Tuc -- our dear, sweet, retrieve-until-he-drops, bouncy baby boy -- Mr Butt-In-Ski and snuggler extraordinaire -- 85+ pounds of innocent-eyed exuberance -- Stoney Ridge's Sundancer Tucson (his registered name) is ...


(can I bare...oops...bear to admit it?)...

Tus is ...


a strip-'em-right-off-the-girls collar thief!

He absolutely cannot tolerate the canine girls wearing their collars; he must have the wretched things - possess them. They have to be his, all his.

And it isn't enough just to have them; the world has to know he has them (well, all living beings in his world, anyway).

Poor obsessed boy.

He's not obsessed about his own collar, of course: just about those worn by his female pack members.

In stealth mode (the only way to observe a collar-fetished canine), I captured Tuc in action. Forgive the lack of crispness in the following images; they were taken through our windows, including double panes and screens.

They do, however, document Tuc's activities (hehe).

Notice the loot between his paws (Pinot's rolled-leather collar). He'd just wrestled it over Pinot's head.

Oh, but possessing the collar wasn't satistfying enough. Nooooooo. The thief had to announce its capture. He tried barking to proudly proclaim his pilfering success, but the world ignored him.

No worries. Not for Tuc. He picked up his treasure (note collar in his mouth)...

climbed off the picnic table, loot in mouth...

trotted over to where the rest of the canine crew were lounging in the sun (note loot in mouth)...

and proceeded to flaunt his treasured possession, the object of his latest obsession, in their faces.

By then, said object's rightful owner had had enough. She wanted it back.

Tuc, who is considerably bigger than Pinot, won the tug-o-war over her collar, and promptly fled to picnic table top to hide behind the umbrella (notice collar on table between Tuc's front paws).

He may be a thief (all bluster, of course) and an imp, but he's also a tactical genius: the picnic-table-top ensures height advantage (as if height was ever a problem for him).

Did I mention that this is the very same picnic table I just spent four hours power-washing (cleaning every nook and cranny) and that Tuc has never shown any interest in climbing on before?



So the Tucmeister has a collar fetish. If he keeps this up, it could get expensive.

And did I tell you? He's developed a second fetish (mercy me!). But I'll save that one for another post.

For now, I have to go find two collars: Pinot and Kenya just trotted in without theirs.

Okay, Tuc. Where'd ya hide them?

'Til next time,

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Finally Tuckered Out

Poor Lab kids. They've gotten more crate-time than usual the past few days. We started power-washing our deck this weekend to clean and prepare it for water-sealing (a home maintenance job we should do every two-to-three years, but that we haven't done in in five!). Because the washer's compressed water stream is so strong, we can't have the Labs around when we use it. The spray could hurt them.

So for their protection (and our productivity), the canine crew stays indoors when we do the deck.

All day Sunday they remained indoors while DH and I power-washed years of dirt and mildew off cedar planks and posts.

Then, all day the next day, they were crated again because I was gone for the day.

That's two days in a row with far less exercise than normal. Imagine how bonkers they were when I got home yesterday.

I'd planned to continue working on the deck last evening when I got back, but after taking one look at those 10 pleading Labrador eyes I realized the kidlets needed time outside far more than I needed to wash another foot or two of decking (this is a painstakingly slow job).

So out they went.

Did I mention how hot and humid it was here yesterday? I only threw the kong once or twice for them when they started panting up a storm. So I stopped. I didn't want to get the gang overheated, especially since yesterday was the first grossly humid day we've had in a long time and the kids have been cooped up in central air for two days. For the next two hours I let them romp on their own.

And romp they did.

But all that romping didn't make a dent in their energy levels. So we kept them outside until dinner, they came in to eat and remained crated another hour post-dinner (normal dinner routine). After that we took them outside again.

This time DH threw with them non-stop for I don't know how long. It had to have been over an hour. It was so uncomfortably humid outside, even Tuc and Pinot begged to stop and come in.

Here they are when we finally let them quit:

Ridge bee-lined for his cave:

Elsie claimed the brick floor:

The rest of the crew headed for the concrete floor in the kennel room (has radiant heat in the floor, but that's long-turned-off by this time of year):

Kenya and Pinot plunked down in the middle of the room:

And Tuc -- now remember, this is Arizona-born Tuc, out-in-the-desert-where-it-gets-really-hot-born Tuc, Tuc who we thought wold love the heat Tuc -- where do you think he plopped himself down?

On the refreshing brick floor?

On the always-cool-to-touch wood laminate in the kitchen?

On the concrete floor beneath the ceiling fan where it's breezy and cool?


Where did Tuc plop himself?

On top of the water bowls.

Why stand for a drink when sprawling on top of the drink will do?

He even shared his space with Pinot.

How noble of him.

Wow! It just occurred to me: We finally tuckered them out -- all five of them! Tuc and Pinot included! I thought we'd never do it.

Guess how long they stayed tuckered out?

Not even five minutes.

When DH stepped out through the kennel-room door to get the mail, Master Tuc (yes, the very same Tuc who was so whooped three minutes earlier that he couldn't stand up to get his drink) was at the door in a flash.

Oh, and he wasn't just sitting by the door, either:





 with Labs. :D

Silly goofy kids. Hehe.

I'm powerwashing again today (if the thunderstorms ever blow through). So, yes, the fur-kids will have to be indoors again. I guess we'll just have to whoop them out later this evening when it cools off.

This time, when they're cooling off, we'll have to make sure no one uses kennel-room door. Maybe we'll actually get them to rest and be still for a while longer.

Say...hmmm... for maybe seven minutes?

'Til next time,

Thursday, June 04, 2009

The Eternal Optimists

One of the reasons I absolutely adore Labrador retrievers is the optimism so characteristic of the breed. Life is good (always good) as far as they're concerned. The greet every day with eager hope and boundless enthusiasm.

Even when it rains.

Take this morning, for example. More rain. And more rain is predicted for later in the day. After years of drought, this is a good thing.

But I'm thinking, oh no, another cabin-fever day.

My Labs and I, however, live in entirely different worlds (that's a good thing, too). It never rains in Lab Land.

Just look at these faces (and be sure to note the tail-blurs) in photos from this morning. You'd never know it was a gray-sky day.

The Pinot Squirt:

The Kenya Bean (note tail-blur):

Master Tuc with his side-hanging tongue (you gotta laugh):

All three, Pinot Tuc and Kenya, l to r (again, note three tail-blurs... oh, and be sure to note that Kenya has a bone... isn't she special? ):

Then note who is already off the deck and half-way down the steps in anticipation of my throwing the kong (note tail-blur). Yup, it's my Tuc Buddy (Ridge and Elsie are in the background):

Such eager anticipation.

Such happy kids. Such optimistic kids. Such always-expect-the-best kids.

I think I'll try it their way for a while.

And you know what that means? No matter what the next 18 hours may hold, it's going to be a very good, tail-wagging, butt-wiggling, toothy-grinned, delightfully wonderful day. :D

I guess we (me and the Labs) don't live in different worlds after all. :D

'Til next time,

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

More Wet Stuff (and Silver Linings)

So it hasn't rained here in a few days.

Responsible woman that I am, I decided I better water the gardens this morning, especially since some flowers I planted last week look dead. Lazy woman that I am, I checked the weather forecast to make sure watering was really necessary.

There it was in blazing yellow and white at sun, sun, sun, sun, sun, and then maybe a shower or thunderstorm later tonight (a whopping 20% chance).

Sigh. That meant hauling the hose around.

Hauling the hose around is not something I can do with the youngest two canine kids (read Tuc and Pinot); they're both hose-neurotics. So off to the crates the whole crew went (have to be fair now) while I pretended to be responsible.

At least when the weather is such that I have to water, it's also such that the Lab crew gets loads of outdoor play. See? A silver lining in every cloud... even my lazy clouds.

Did someone say cloud?

So I finished watering, reeled in the hose, and returned to set the captives free. All five went bounding, en masse, from Crate Land to Outdoor Land, madly scrambling on the linoleum floor for first place through the door. Time to romp outside again.

There's that silver lining again. Hmmmm...what was it that silver linings formed around again?

Did someone say cloud?

Not 30 seconds after I let the dogs out, the heavens opened with straight, heavy rain (no wind, no sign of a storm -- just a little overcast this morning). Yes, rain. A veritable downpour.

And not two seconds after that, I had five dripping faces standing at the back door waiting to come in.

What was someone saying about silver linings?

And can someone please tell me why it always seems to rain whenever I decide to water, but not until after I water? (You can bet if I didn't water, it wouldn't rain).

So we're back indoors again this morning. Nope, the kids didn't get their usually morning romp (I wait a good two hours, sometimes three, after they eat before I let them exercise hard -- don't want any flipped stomachs).

Here's how they reacted to being indoors again:

Ridge just hung out (old man that he is):

But the other four.... oh my....

They tried Group Bone Therapy (Tuc has the bone):

They tried looking wistfully out the back door, then looking pleadingly at me (didn't work):

They tried rotating who got the couch:

They even resorted to butt sniffing (for heaven's sake... they already know each other!)

Ah.... but to no avail. They're still inside. Still playing with bones and checking each other out and lazying away on the sofa and pining for the yard.

I have to leave for a dentist appointment shortly, and when I do, our doggies will return to Crate Land. And by the time I get home, the sun will be out, and the canine crew will venture outdoors again.

While it's raining, they can sleep, and I can go relax in the dentist's chair, floating away on nitrous.

Did someone say cloud?

Maybe there really is a silver lining after all!

'Til next time,