Thursday, September 17, 2009

Look Who Learned to Open the Door

We know that dear, sweet, Elsie Bear, when she feels like, can open the back door using the lever handle whenever she wishes. She's been able to for years.

Then Tuc came along and figured out how to do so, and Elsie took a back seat to Tuc's door-openings (lazy girl that she is). Why bother putting out the effort when the young upstart can do all the work?

Now Pinot has developed the same skill:

I don't know why I'm surprised; she is her mother's daughter after all.

But, while Elsie opens the door to be with her humans (she's people-focused), Pinot opens the door to bring Kongs in for us to throw for her (she's retrieve-focused).

Tuc, on the other hand, opens the door just because he can -- the goofy galoot!

So now we have three doggie door-openers. All we have yet to do, then (since none of them were born in a barn), is teach them how to close the door after themselves (sound familiar?).

Especially when it's raining.

This weekend is the last official weekend of summer; autumn drizzle is on the way. Guess we have our work cut out for us -- but fast!

'Til next time,

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

GoD and DoG by WJ Francisco

Regular Reader knows I almost never post things from other websites.

But I found this little clip so simple and moving that I couldn't resist thinking it might encourage my LabTails readers. The following was composed, sung, and illustrated by Wendy Francisco

I happened across the video on Facebook, but it finds its home on YouTube.


'Til next time,

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Baxter: Still Family After All

Long-Time-Reader (LTR) knows that a gigunda, now 6 yo, Black Lab named Baxter was once part of our gang here. Baxter (aka, The Boos, Baxter Boos, The Big Galoot, Knucklehead, and My Baxter Bud) belongs heart and soul now to our daughter (DSD) and her husband (DSIL) who live in Maine.

And where DSD and DSIL go, Baxter goes.

So it was this weekend. The Boos tagged along to the cottage to enjoy the lake with our regular gang. The Boos, btw, loves the cottage.

Here's he is (normally a lazy, sluggish couch potato) anticipating going swimming as DH readies the retrieving dummies (remember, Baxter weighs a good 100 pounds):

Baxter, you might remember, was the first of our "second round" of Labs, purchased in 2003 less than six months after our last Labs passed away, and coming to live with us at just shy of seven weeks old. He grew up with us and was our "only" until we brought Ridge home 18 months later (Ridge was 3 yo then). Soon to follow came Elsie, then Kenya, then Pinot, then Tuc. Baxter didn't leave with DSIL and DSD until last July (2008); he had five years with us.

All that is to say, Baxter is family every bit as much as the rest of the canine crew. And this weekend, The Boos acted just like family--like we'd never been apart.

Take his move-your-feet-lose-your-seat mentality. DH got up from sleeping on the roll-away, and had not yet pushed it back under the other bed, and guess who decides DH's bed is for him (pillows and all)?

Yup ... Just Make Yourself at Home Why Doncha Baxter.

Then there was the I'm-family-and-therefore-should-be-included-in-everything expectation (You mean you're actually going swimming without me?):

And his staking claim to the kitchen sofa (yes, there's a sofa in the kitchen at the cottage -- extra sleeping space):

Why would humans need a couch when they have perfectly good chairs to use (note Baxter on sofa to right)?

Yes, all of Baxter's presumptions remind me that he is, indeed, still part of the family. Though he lives hundreds of miles away, he's still one of us.

And the thing that reminds me most of his being part of us, for real, is his love for the cottage.

Now Baxter, who was exposed to swimming at the cottage from about six-months-of-age on, is a natural in the water, and he, indeed, hasn't lost his knack:

Nor has he lost his enthusiasm (at six, he's still like a puppy in the water):

He loves the cottage as much as I do. And it shows.

Ahhh... the Boos. The cottage is in his blood. My parents, my siblings, my spouse, my kids, my cousins, my canines -- we all have the cottage in our blood. The cottage, with its lake and lands, has been in my family for generations; it's part of my heritage.

As because it's part of my heritage, it's now part of their heritage, too (DH, my canines, and my kids alike).

For good or bad or everything in between, we're kin.

And though you take us away from our roots, our roots never leaves us.

You can take a girl away from the cottage, but you can never take the cottage outta the girl.

Nor outta the canines (and humans) who share life with the girl. Though you take Baxter to Maine, he loves the cottage still.

And that's a good thing.

We're all swimmers. We're all lake-lovers. We're all cottage-comfortable. We all feel at home there.

That's as it should be for us cottage kin.

We're family. And, no matter how far we travel, we always will be.

'Til next time,

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

The Canine Crew at the Cottage - Labor Day Weekend

In the spirit of Wordless Wednesday, here's the crew enjoying the lake (above, is our whole crew: left to right on bottom, Ridge, Elsie, Pinot, and Tuc; at top right with the white dummy in her mouth, is Kenya). Since it's been a while since I've posted I will identify who is in each photo. The following, then, is not technically "wordless" but I think you won't mind. Enjoy!

Ah...our Ridge -- a sheer delight to watch in the water:

Tuc, who after his puppy-intro-to-the-water-last-year, is a natural:

Baxter (visiting from Maine), the ever-smooth swimmer (gray muzzle and all):

Sweet Pinot, always the-rough-to-start thrasher, who eventually settles into her glide:

Pinot multi-tasking (she can drink and swim at the same time!):

Pinot spotting:

Kenya, the otter (the stealth swimmer):

Pinot, Tuc, Elsie, Kenya (l to r):

Elsie dreaming:

Pinot, in the lily pads:

Tuc and Kenya (Tuc, top) making Kenya look like a peanut head! Now that's a trick!):

Ridge (focused) and Baxter (excited):

Ridge (focused on DH) and the rest of the gang (front to back, Pinot, Tuc (r), Kenya (l), Baxter (middle), Elsie (behind Baxter):

Kenya focusing, too:

Elsie in action:

Kenya in action, leaping (Elsie on dock, Tuc, Ridge, and Pinot in water):

More Kenya jumping:

Elsie's you've-got-to-be-kidding look:

Oh, look, the gang is bringing a retrieving dummy back to DH (l to r: Kenya, Elsie, Tuc, Ridge):

Oh, look, DH threw another dummy (check out their eyes) (l to r: Kenya, Elsie, Tuc, Ridge):

Oh, look, the gang (in total) drops the dummy they were retrieving to head for the one just thrown (l to r: Kenya, Tuc, Elsie, Ridge):

My favorite picture of Ridge (in the weeds next to the dock, looking at DH at the top of the hill):

That's enough for now. There are boatloads more to come.

Hope you're all well.

'Til next time,

Finally: We've Returned

It's been a while, I know. I hurt my neck several weeks ago ("pinched nerve" in lay terms at C7 in my cervical spine), and that left me with two very weak, numb, tingly arms, and two hands that didn't like keyboarding.

The ortho doc ordered rest, so I've been on forced hiatus. :D

But I'm back, and the gang is right back with me (they never left). :D

Here's a brief status report:
  • I'm rebounding slowly from my neck injury.
  • All the doggies are their typical selves (a good thing). :D
  • We still don't know about DH's job, or if he will even have a job when new management takes over in the coming weeks (won't know for several weeks).
  • In case you missed the last couple posts, we won't be having a fall litter this year, which is just as well with how uncertain things look for us.
  • We've decided not to use Pinot for breeding, and we will be getting her spayed soon. Though she has PERFECT drive and focus for a field/working Lab and a wonderful temperament, her body type is just way too "off" when it comes to breed standard.
  • Tuc is shaping up nicely to replace Ridge as our canine stud-in-residence.
  • We may still allow Ridge to mate with Kenya this winter (since he missed his chance a few months ago), then we will definitely retire him and have him snipped. :D
  • We may have to retire Elsie. We recently discovered a mass in her abdomen that needs further investigation (vet visit is on the 18th, I think). We suspect it's nothing serious, but want to get it checked (Elsie is acting just fine, and the mass doesn't bother her). She is, however, five years old (approaching six) and has had two litters. It may be time to retire her anyway.
  • Kenya is doing fabulously, and we're hoping she'll produce a litter for us in early spring.

The human kids are fine: DFS is commuting to a local colleg now (I'm driving with him, but he has his driver's learner's permit!!!!); DSD and DSIL are still in Maine with Baxter; and DYS is back at Temple (his junior year).

Mom (86 yo) is slowing down; DTS is all moved into her new place, but still settling in (and is not herself yet...). Divorce recovery is a long haul.

So that's how it is here.

Stay tuned for some fun pictures from our weekend at the cottage. The canine kids had a ball (and Baxter joined us from Maine!).

It's good to be back.

'Til next time,