Thursday, July 30, 2009

Hot Pants X Deux

The heat wave in our area has kept us hiding in the air conditioning for several days now. Baxter seems to be the only one who wants to be outside...probably to keep tabs on the neighbor cat. Kirby always seems excited to go out, then hits the hot air and changes his mind. Attempts at dog walks end up with Kirby getting about a block from home, then making a 180 to pull toward home.

Bax has a pretty high heat tolerance -- he's off the ground enough to catch the occasional breeze under his belly. But Kirby, being dark and rather close to the ground, overheats almost immediately.

What's Baxter's secret for beating the heat? A very large tongue. When I'm out with him in the heat (because trips outside must happen, heat wave or not), and he's walking along beside me with his tongue dangling out the side of his mouth, I'm always amazed at just how long and wide that tongue is. A veterinarian friend of mine told me Bax has the biggest tongue she's ever seen. Evaporative cooling.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Feeding Tigerchen, Baxter's Nemesis

We've been asked to feed Tigerchen (aka Tiger or Baxter's nemesis, the orange neighbor cat who prances around behind our house while Baxter sits inside whining) while Tiger's family is away this weekend. I am certain we'll get the 3rd degree each time we come home...Will Bax ever forgive us?

Baxter's obsession with Tiger has gone a bit too far. Our back window is, essentially, Tiger TV. Baxter will sit there for HOUR ON END at full attention, watching Tiger saunter back and forth, roll in the lawn, weave in and out of the bushes. The other day Kirby actually flushed Tiger out from under a shrub and both he and Baxter went crazy as Tiger took off, hissing. (So I hear, I wasn't there, but now every time we go outside both Baxter and Kirby have to examine that shrub just in case...)

Tiger is a young cat. We're not moving any time soon. Will this obsession with Tiger ever wear off? I seriously doubt it. Baxter had a similar "relationship" with our neighbor cat Lucky in our first home. Baxter actually caught Lucky once and then didn't know what to do...He just stood there, frozen, awe-struck by his own luck.

All I can say is, I hope our screen door on this house is stronger than the screen door on that one.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Howling at Sirens

Today as Baxter, Kirby and I were out for our morning walk, we heard an ambulance coming down the road. We were stopped at a crosswalk and as the ambulance drew closer -- and louder -- Baxter became quite concerned. Suddenly, just as it passed us, he barked and then threw his head back and howled. I haven't seen him howl at a siren since he was a puppy. Baxter definitely has his own, unique howling voice...somewhere between Satchmo and a Bavarian yodeler. Nonetheless, it was quite the dramatic moment. Suddenly he stopped and just stood there as if nothing had happened. It was rather like an out-of-body howling experience, I think.

I wonder if he's been taking notes from the local coyotes...? A few nights ago, as we were watching a movie at home, we heard some very loud howling sounded like the coyotes were practically in our yard. Oh, we hear the occasional howl when a siren goes by. In the springtime we could hear a pretty good sized group that rather sounded like adolescents yipping and howling in the woods across from our home. But this was something quite spectacular and it was loud enough to be heard OVER the movie and the air conditioner and with the windows closed. Baxter and Kirby were silent. Baxter looked curious. Kirby looked nervous. My husband and I paused the movie and ran outside to listen. There must have been a dozen or more coyotes, very close by, singing along with a siren. It was quite the chorus of vocal stylings, apparently from coyotes of all ages and sizes. It went on for a few minutes and gradually tapered off as the siren disappeared into the distance. What a treat.

I love that feeling of wildness being so close to our home... And when Baxter or Kirby howls, it's a reminder that a little bit of that wildness lives with us in our home too.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Happy 3rd Birthday, Kirby!

Bring on the squeaky toys...for today we celebrate Kirby's third birthday! I say we celebrate it because we don't really know exactly when Kirby was born. Apparently the folks who rounded him up on the farm somewhere in Northern California didn't know how long that litter of puppies had been running around before they brought them in. When we adopted him, the folks at the shelter thought he was a wee lad of 10 weeks or so. His vet subsequently told us that, based on his teeth, he was probably a few weeks older than we thought. We counted back appropriately and decided 7/7 was a mighty fine day for a birthday.

So here's to Kirby -- Happy 3rd!