Saturday, January 31, 2009

Protections Can Be a Good Thing - Be Thankful!

The poor canine kids. It's a whopping 18 degrees (F) outside again, and, with temps like these, any snow that softens in late-afternoon sunshine freezes overnight into solid, crusty, paw-pricking ice chunks. All of the crew, not only Rudy, are having a terrible time walking and pottying outside.

Here's Tuc pondering:

Here's Tuc slipping on take-off:

Here's Pinot digging at the surface crust:

Here are Pinot and Rudy stepping gingerly:

Rudy likes it better in his hiding place under the arborvitae (less ice):

Despite how icy and dangerous it is, I have to admit (badmommybadmommy) that the sliding-have-to-poo-squat is quite entertaining.

Poor doggies!

I'd love to be exercising them or running them or retrieving with them or even just walking them on the dirt roads around our house, but it's way too icy (read "dangerous") -- for them and for me (remember my mother on Christmas Eve).

Though my intentions are good, they don't understand. Every time I let them out 12 eyes stare at me with hopeful, eager expectation of the next retrieving throw (we'rereadymomwe'reready-yagonnathrowsomethingnowyagonnathrowsomethinghuhhuhhuhhuh?). And all I can say is "Sorry, kids. Not today. Still too slippery."

Needless to say, we're stir-crazy and rammie. Everybody needs exercise right now. Couple that with Elsie being in heat (and being highly protected -- no litters for her for a while), can imagine six cabin-fevered Labs in our tiny family room, three of which are unneutered males and one of which is a female in heat (hehe).

Now that's a picture!

Actually, all things considered, they're behaving quite well. Our supplying them with lots of chewy things helps (though we still have that toddler "mine" syndrome to deal with).

Yet once they've wrestled a bit, they're quite content to hang out with DH and me. Elsie, Ridge, and Kenya, of course, lounge around the most. Tuc and Rudy are the rammiest (they're both just pups -- getting bigger, yes, but just puppies all the same). At 17 months old Pinot swings both ways. ;0)

Beween protecting the critters from ice-falls and guarding Elsie from interested males while she's in heat, I'm reminded again how we take for granted those who protect us -- everyone from well-meaning friends and family members to state-side policemen to overseas troops who look out for our safety each day.

My protective actions only make life crazy for a time. Their protective actions can alter or cost them their lives for good.

Take a moment today, won't you, to say "thank you" to someone who's done something to protect you, big or small. Pick up a serviceman's or firefighter's tab; write a thank-you note to your local sheriff; tell someone you appreciate the protections they provide. If you're the faith-based type, pray for them and thank God for them.

While we don't always understand what our protectors do (and we all have them), we can still value and appreciate the faithful, loving, dedicated intent that motivates them to serve.

Now if only I could convince the canine crew that not retrieving is for their good!

'Til next time,

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Ice (as in Freezing Rain) and Labs Don't Mix

Our winter storm brought more snow followed by freezing rain again this week. Yuk.

And the canine crew doesn't like it one bit. Frankly, ice-crusted snow breaking beneath their feet hurts. Shards of frozen rain poke into their pads like blunt tacs do our bare feet. And, as if that weren't bad enough, when the snow doesn't break beneath them, they have to endure the Bambi-splay slipping factor (think Bambi and Thumper on the frozen pond).

Poor Rudy pulled a Bambi-on-ice yesterday -- completely splayed like directional points on a compass. That's because he's a pup (4.5 months old now), and he's too light-weight to crunch through the ice crust, and his joints and ligaments are loose and oversized with puppy growth, so he's still puppy-clutzy. Bless his little heart -- the sweet little guy was stuck all splayed out like that and didn't have a clue what to do (no, I did not take a picture of his wipe-out; I was focused on rescuing him).

Rescue him I did, of course, and then he was fine -- romping where the big dogs had crunched up the snow so he could get traction.

Ice can be treacherous for Labs, just like humans (think of my 85 yo mother who slipped on ice delivering cookies to her neighbors and broke her hip this Christmas Eve). It's something we don't think about because Labs are such hearty souls. But despite their adaptability and intelligence and willing-to-try-anything robustness, we still need to look out for them.

I forget sometimes.

Then they remind that they, too, have limitations, and they, too, need us every bit as much as wee need them.

Sometimes they figure it out for themselves, though. Instead of romping on ice now, our Rudy-Puh-Too-Tee, smart pup that he is, has decided he'd rather stay in and chew on my snow boots.

What an imp. Sweet imp. But an imp all the same. And a completely lovable imp at that! (hehe)

Who could resist those oversized ears and big brown eyes? (My how he's looking like Elsie these days!)

That doesn't mean he gets to chew up my boots, though. He kept them only long enough for me to take a picture or two. Then I swapped the boot for a nylabone -- something with which he was quite happy, thank you very much.

Besides, ahem, I was only looking out for him, as I'm supposed to do. Eh?

'Til next time,