Thursday, June 28, 2007
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
I saw them coming toward me at high speed and I instinctively bent my knees (locked knees at the dog park can result in trips to the emergency room). I looked for a good escape route. There wasn't one. They were coming fast. Most dogs, when they realize they are headed straight for you, will either fade right or left, so most of the time your best strategy is to stay right where you are and not try to second-guess the dog. Just bend the knees and be ready to get clipped. Being full of youthful exhuberance, the lead dog was paying more attention to the dog chasing him than he was to where he was going and, instead of fading right or left, he smacked straight into me.
What happened next I'm not sure about. Suddenly I was airborne, my feet swept straight out from under me. I landed spread-eagle, flat on my stomach with my arms and legs outstretched. The force of the earth hitting my rib cage knocked just enough wind out of me for the expletive I uttered to be audible to anyone within 50 feet of me. For a moment I just stayed there, assessing if anything felt bruised or broken. I was quite surprised to find that I felt just fine, and other than a couple of grass stains on the elbows of my shirt and one tiny sliver, I emerged relatively unscathed. My knees were fine. Somehow I must have landed so squarely on my front side that the impact was distributed across my entire body.
Of course, the dogs ran on, entirely clueless, and several people came running up to see if I was OK. Apparently it looked a lot more dramatic than it felt. My husband, who was at the opposite end of the park, said he saw me standing there one second, looked away, and then I was flat on the ground. He missed the flying part altogether. And where were Baxter and Kirby, my fearless protectors? Off galavanting around.
I picked myself up, put my glasses back on, brushed off the grass and did my best to recapture my dignity. I waved to let everyone know I was OK. I was really surprised that neither my knees nor my elbows were sore. The next day I felt it, however. The bottom of my rib cage was a bit bruised (which I only felt when I tried to cross my arms) and I stretched a few muscles in ways they are not normally stretched. All in all, however, I was pretty fortunate to come out of the deal in such good shape.
I guess dog-guardian karma finally caught up with me. When Baxter was a youth of approximately the same age, he was leading a pack of dogs in a game of chase through the park and plowed into an unsuspecting woman. I think he messed up her knee pretty badly. Baxter, of course, acted as if nothing had happened and kept right on running. It's hard to apologize enough for such a thing. It's not like it was entirely my fault, after all, we were at a park where all the dogs were running off leash. But somehow I felt responsible because it was my dog at the front of the pack. I offered to pay for the woman's doctor bill if needed. She just waved me off and limped away with her dog. I felt awful.
I've spent a lot of time in dog parks and this was my first direct hit that actually knocked me down (I've been grazed a few times and a few of those actually felt worse). I guess I had it coming eventually. I'm just thankful it was a relatively smooth flight and a nice, even landing. And I'm glad it's a really clean dog park.
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
Thursday, June 14, 2007
Now he's shiny and fluffy and a tad more cuddle-worthy. I'm sure somewhere, in the back of Baxter's mind, there's a sense that he's going to be next...
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
Looks can be deceiving. For example Baxter's scruffiness makes him look bigger than he actually is. When wet, he's a tall, but lanky dog and in spite of being at least 3" taller, he weighs less than your average labrador. Kirby's kind of the opposite. His scruffy coat kind of hides the fact that his leg bones are pretty darned thick for a little guy.
We're rethinking the assumed dachsund lineage. I've been watching the dachsunds at the dog park, and while they have long bodies and short legs, their shape is really quite different. I've had at least two people tell me that Kirby looks more like a "shorty jack," the shorter, non-AKC version of the Jack Russel terrier. His coloring is off, but that little face sure has that spunky expression at times. Then again, with his heavy-duty bone structure I wonder if there isn't some other stocky, short dog in there. Maybe a corgi back there somewhere?
Well, his lineage doesn't really matter. But when contemplating a cuddle or keeping Kirby from running out after the Fedex guy, I do have to remind myself from time to time that the little guy is a good five pounds heavier than I expect him to be...
Sunday, June 10, 2007
So we knuckled under and put the stuff on him. Frontline was the one we chose, because if it's tick-repelling properties.
Last weekend, when we visited our friends on the farm, we asked them about ticks. Their dog, Willa, has very short hair that makes it easy to spot ticks. They chose not to put the stuff on her because, they said, "the ticks were coming into the house on her and jumping off to go find us." That is a hazard of Frontline. The ticks land on the dog, looking for a meal. But the stuff, whatever it is, repels the ticks and they depart looking for tastier hosts.
This is a particularly bad year for ticks. It's not even summer and already they're out in force. The other night my husband was sitting, watching TV, with both Baxter and Kirby at his feet. He felt something on his leg. Sure enough, a tick was crawling up his pantleg. Shortly thereafter it happened again.
Now I can't lay down for a nap with the dogs without having the heebie-jeebies all afternoon, certain a tick is on me somewhere. Perhaps I'm a little more sensitive to the idea, having had my Lithuanian tick experience earlier this year.
I can say that I'm happy to say we'll soon be moving back up north. Oh they have ticks, just not legions of them. And whether or not we'll continue with the Frontline is something to ponder.
Sunday, June 03, 2007
Following Willa's lead, the dogs did a pretty good job of staying out of the way of the horses, with the exception of one attempt at a group photo that took a bit too long. Kirby got tired of sitting in the sun and decided go for the shade under the horse. He calmly curled up around the horse's right front hoof. Fortunately, the horse, Avatar, who is a beautiful, sweet, soulful Arabian, was used to having dogs around and didn't seem very concerned.
We were proud of the little guy. My previous experience with a terrier and water was not pretty. Katie, our little cairn terrier, just never got the hang of it. Baxter, on the other hand, has always been a natural in the water. He took a bit of coaxing the first time in as a pup, but his swimming technique (aided by webbed toes) looked quite professional from the start.
I was worried that Kirby, being more of an "earth dog" like Katie, might have a similar tendency to sink like a stone. He did start out a bit awkwardly, listing to port, then starboard. But once he figured out the right rhythm, off he went. Soon he was swimming after the other dogs and eventually he started using his tail like a little rudder, wagging it back and forth as he swam. Honestly, he looked a bit like a baby otter.