Archive of ‘Silly Stories’ category
A dog who was known for her eagerness, though some may have called it plain meddlesomeness, spent a great deal of time in search of fresh smells and adventure. Intrusive she may have been but she was also a friendly sort. While sniffing and traveling she came across many fellow wanderers and meeting others was one of her greatest pleasures. No matter how startling the appearance of a fellow wanderer she always approached like an old friend. In other words, the dog had little use for manners and never understood when others were not so keen to converse.
On one of such journeys, the dog found herself trotting down a narrow path. She closed her eyes, touched her nose to the ground, and picked up an unfamiliar smell. Delighted by the prospect of a new encounter, the dog kept her nose in the dirt and allowed the scent trail to guide her. It wasn’t long before she found herself eye to an eye and nose to nose with a strange looking creature indeed.
The dog had never seen such an odd little face in her life. It had two eyes and what looked like a nose but the stubby legs and the wide body were covered in a mysterious sort of fur. The astonishing mammal blinked once and the dog blinked back. Ever curious, the dog continued to sniff, putting her face right into the neck of the other animal.
“What are you doing?” squeaked the smaller being. “Don’t you know I could hurt you?”
This made the dog giggle. “How could you hurt me? I am a dog with big teeth and you are a rodent-smelling thing. Do you want to play?”
The odd creature, being a quill-covered porcupine, had no desire to interact further with such a silly beast. He had twigs to eat and clover to find and had no time for leisure. Besides, he was a slow-moving animal and knew the dog’s kind of games were not games he liked to play.
“Certainly not,” said the porcupine and with that last he circled around to furrow back in the bush. As he turned his tail swished and hit the dog in her interfering black nose.
“Ouch!” cried the dog and she sprung back. She would have jumped forward again to give chase to the spiny animal but she was stopped by the leash attached to her collar. The dog did not understand why the porcupine had been so rude as to cause her pain. Rubbing her nose with a paw, she wandered away.
It wasn’t too long before the dog met the porcupine again. This time there was no leash to restrain her. When she spotted a pointy tail wagging out of a thicket, she bounced over to say hello, wagging her tail in response.
“Hello, you odd creature!” The dog shoved her nose under the belly of the smaller animal. “Would you like to play today?”
The porcupine was quite startled. He had been enjoying an early breakfast of bark and willow leaves and did not appreciate the nosey dog interrupting his meal.
“Eep!” the porcupine shouted. Abandoning his food, he shuffled as quick as he could over to a nearby tree. Much to his dismay, the dog followed right behind.
“But why?” asked the dog, leaning forward to sniff his neck. As she leaned with her tonque flicking out a quill caught her just below her eye. “Eieeeeeee!” The dog cried out, shaking her head in pain.
“I warned you!” squeaked the porcupine. He seized the moment of the dog’s surprise to shimmy up the tree. “Leave me alone!”
“But why?” The dog persisted. Even though her eye watered from the spiney jab, she placed her front paws on the trunk of the tree. Her tail wagged vigorously behind her. “I just want to taste you!”
“Don’t you learn?” asked the porcupine from his spot on a branch above the dog’s head. “I have already hurt you twice. I will hurt you again.”
The dog started up at the strange-looking animal, tilting her head. She couldn’t understand why she had been hurt but didn’t think it had anything to do with the creature in the tree. He was so small and so slow. She was so big and so fast. It must have been a mistake.
Eventually the dog was called away from the tree with the promise of dinner and the porcupine was left to his own devices. He hoped it was the last he would see of the ignorant beast. But it was not to be so.
A few days later, just as the porcupine was meandering off to bed, the dog appeared at the rise of a hill in the meadow. The sun had yet to rise and the porcupine hoped he would not be seen. Alas, the dog took a big sniff of the air and then started to wag her tail in his direction. With nowhere to hide, the porcupine crouched his stubby legs and curled up into as much of a ball as he could.
“Hello again!” The dog bounded over. “Would you like to play?”
The porcupine did not answer. Instead, he curled up tighter. The dog jumped in a circle around him, barking and laughing. When he didn’t respond, she shoved her face underneath him to get a good whiff.
“Ow!” cried the dog. “Ow! Ow! Ow! Ow!”
The porcupine lifted his head, expecting to see the dog running away. He was surprised when she continued to stand in front of him, tail still high in the hair. The porcupine immediately lost his patience.
“I don’t understand you,” he declared. “Three times we have met and three times I have hurt you. How many times will it take you to learn? What kind of animal are you?”
The dog puzzled over this question, thinking the spikey fellow even stranger than ever. What kind of animal did she look like? After much deep thought the dog answered as honestly as she could.
“I am a Shiva.”
The porcupine’s shoulders hunched and he let out a sigh. All of a sudden he understand. If a Shiva had infiltrated the forest, there was no hope for solitary creatures like him. It was time to find a new home.
Fool you once, shame on me. Fool you twice, shame on you. Fool you three times… You must be a Shiva.
Before anyone worries, no Shivas were seriously injured in the telling of this story. Shiva has encountered several porcupines and has once chased one into a tree, but any wounds were strictly to her pride.
Top Ten Reasons to Bring Your Cat With You on an Airplane
1. You are deaf.
2. You are moving across the country for the second time and the last time your cat’s screeching during the drive nearly caused you to be arrested for animal cruelty.
3. Your practically husband threatened to put the cat in the box of the truck if he had to endure another five-day road trip with His Yowliness.
4. You have a pet blog and think it would be a fun experience to write about.
5. You are insane.
6. Your cat already spends his days plotting your death and may as well have one more reason to hate you.
7. You are seeking revenge on your cat for chewing the cord of your $300 flat-iron.
8. Your cat is deaf and/or dead and/or actually a stuffed animal.
9. You want to discover if the pitch of your cat’s cries is louder than that of a newborn baby.
10. You have a loving relationship with your cat and he or she travels well, ie. you live in a magical fantasy land, ie. your veterinarian is kind enough to give you drugs.
Top Ten Reasons Not to Bring Your Cat With You on an Airplane
1. You have healthy hearing abilities.
2. You are moving across the country for the first time and naïvely think your cat will do well on a road trip for five days even though he despises the car and even though you have never leash or kennel trained him before.
3. Your cat’s yowls are easily drowned out by the radio.
4. You decide to put your cat’s comfort first and turn down the job promotion.
5. You haven’t lost your mind.
6. You are pretty sure the pilot will make an emergency landing just to get away from your cat’s screeching.
7. You have a loving relationship with your cat and have spent many years training him so he travels well in the car, ie. you are a far better person than I am.
8. Your cat has healthy hearing abilities and/or is alive and/or is not a stuffed animal.
9. Your veterinarian only gives you a small cloth soaked in feline hormones, an item which is essentially useless when your cat is already stressed from being shoved into a bag, hauled out of said bag when going through security, and then shoved back in for six hours straight without being able to empty his bladder.
10. You are smart and decide to ship him cargo.
Blog statistics aren’t something I delve into very often. They usually make me feel icky inside. Numbers have always had that effect on me, really. Ever since I entered ninth grade and encountered trigonometry. And graphs.
Naaaasty. Wasn’t math so much nicer before all that crap? When all one had to do was find the value of x?
Because it’s been a self-esteem-kicking week, I decided I may as well pummel myself down further and dust off the ol’ Google Analytics. Maybe I just needed an excuse to pour myself another glass of wine, I am not sure. Regardless, I logged in and immediately became immersed. It wasn’t the statistics themselves that grabbed my attention, though. I really still could care less about those. It was the common search terms.
Hilarious stuff, truly. If you haven’t checked out yours lately, I highly recommend it for a giggle.
Most of the top ten items on the list made sense. A lot of “rescued insanitys”, “heart dogs”, and “what to buy before getting a dogs.” It stunned me that according to Google the top search term for my website is actually “Rottweilers” and by an enourmous margin. It is something like thirty percent! To this day my most popular post ever written was the one in which I admitted to an instinctive, yet embarrassing fear, of the breed. I hope this means my shame-faced confessions have helped other people conquer their own demons.
Yep, focusing on the positive today.
Many of the other search terms were not nearly so logical. I thought I would share some of the ones that had me raising an eyebrow. The title of this post being number one, here are some of the others on the list:
“Empty bread bag” – This makes me a little sad, actually. I hope these people were able to find some cheer through my silly stories, despite their lack of bread.
“Pimp outfit” – I am sure most of these people were sorely disappointed.
“Cats are evil” – Egads! No! Cats are AWESOME! Awesome, I tell you! Pay no attention to the cat plotting my demise in the shadows…
“Name a breed of dog a man would be embarrassed to admit he’s afraid of” – This is a judgment-free zone. You will not be mocked for your fear of Yorkies here. I promise.
“Picture of elephant’s front feet” – Did you find what you came for? If you didn’t here you go:
“Tim Flach poster” – I am sorry to say I didn’t know who this was until I looked up his name. I am so glad I do now.
“Fort Needham Memorial Park” – Ugh. Worst. Dog Park. Ever.
“Don’t say you ever loved me you always loved yourself” – Yikes. Good luck with that. Sounds like you are better off without.
“Absurd looking dog handlers” – You came to the right place?
Why, yes. I would rather stick a slobbery pouch in my back pocket than wear a fanny pack.
“Breed of dogs with crook at the end of tail” – I believe you are thinking of the Briard.
“If my dog shits in the woods do I have to pick it up” – Yes.
“I fostered kitten now its gone and I miss it” – Awww, that’s sweet. There is an easy solution to that problem, though. Why not foster another?
“Just Say Nana Na Nan Anananaaaana” – You know what? I couldn’t have said it better myself.
Have you come across any interesting search terms for your website? Do share. I always appreciate a reason to laugh.
As I am writing this and you are reading it, I think it is safe to say we have all survived the latest Apocalypse. While the Mayans may or may not have been wrong, a part of me is disappointed. It would be cool to live in a bus shelter. That and I was hoping to get out of the credit card bills I’ve accumulated. It’s really too bad.
I got the idea for this post from one of my blogging heroes, Karen Walrond. Last week on 12/12/12 she live photoblogged her day, showing bits and pieces of her experiences throughout a typical day in her life. I instantly wanted to do something like that myself, though my photographs aren’t going to be nearly as gorgeous as Karen’s. I may have missed 12 12 12 but what better day to record for posterity than the End of the World? In the future, it will be fun to come back to this one day of my life to remember what the little details looked like.
I will start with the first pictures I took after waking up this morning. As the day progresses, I’ll keep updating with more shots from my thrilling part of the world. Prepare to be stunned with just how glamorous things are at Shiva’s House of Deluded Dreamers. It’s just like something out of old Hollywood.
Welcome to the Advent Calendar for Dog Lovers hosted by Kol’s Notes, PupLove, Rescued Insanity, Woof Woof Mama & I Still Want More Puppies!
Today’s giveaway is sponsored by the Real Meat Company. Click here to enter to win a prize package of their new freeze-dried real meat dog food and be entered to win our Grand Prize package worth more than $1000!
The first time I heard about the book Things Your Dog Doesn’t Want You To Know was in a review written on The Poodle (And Dog) Blog. It sounded so delightful and I was tickled a few days later when I received an email offering me a free copy to review on my own website. While product reviews hold little interest for me, I am always up for a chance to check out a new dog book. Especially one as pretty as this.
If you haven’t heard of the book before or read any of the other reviews on the tour, essentially it is broken up into eleven separate stories as told by eleven different dogs. Each tale is broken into different parts throughout the book and written as a series of letters. You can either flip through the book reading each story in its entirety before moving onto the next one, or – like I did – you can start at page one and read straight through to the end. Either way you are sure to find a giggle at every turn.
Authors Hy Conrad and Jeff Johnson are obviously big-time dog lovers and based on their understanding of the canine brain I assume they have lived with many dogs in their lifetimes. From his website I learned Mr. Conrad was one of the writers of the popular television show Monk and this creative background definitely shows in his latest work.
While most of the dogs’ stories made me laugh out loud, there were a few that depicted a different, more dramatic tone. The life of Sarge the German Shepherd, for instance, seemed anything but happy. I think my PH is still a little miffed the working dog was given such a bad lot.
With so many dogs, it was hard for me to choose a favourite. Would it be the consummate lab, Axelrod? Or the OCD Border Collie, Bandana? Naturally, my love for mixed breeds held out and it was Moonbeam the scraggly rescue who retained my strongest affection. I loved her version of humour so much that I was inspired to write a little “Shiva” tale based on one of Moonbeam’s letters:
Things Shiva Doesn’t Want You To Know, or “Why I’ll Never Be A Champion”
I know you are frustrated with me when I run around on the agility course like I don’t know what I am doing. You are worried I am stressed out or that I don’t like to play the game anymore. Neither of those are true in the least. I love jumping over obstacles! Even more I love running through those wooshy tunnels! Can’t you tell by the way I pass up treats in order to zoom through just one more time?
It’s not that I don’t know my job either. Please don’t insult me that way. We have been practicing for three years! I’m not stupid and I am way, way faster than every other dog. If I wanted, I could show everyone up, even those snobby Shelties, and be a world champion by now!
Here’s the thing: I don’t want to.
There is something about me you don’t know. Something that happened long before I ever met you. I’d tell you but I’d have to kill you. No joke! It’s a secret so big I had to be put in the Witness Protection Program for Dogs. Seriously! It’s a real thing! That’s how I ended up at the shelter and why they tried so hard to get you to take me home. They knew I’d live a life of obscurity in your care. No offence. This is why I was so anxious all the time that first year. I kept thinking I saw the guy who was after me. I had to bark and bark and bark to keep everyone away, just in case.
Then we started doing the agility thing and it was so much fun! For a while I almost forgot all about my past and how I had to remain unknown. When I learned from the other dogs how famous I would get if I kept at it, I realized I had no choice. I had to throw the match. And every other match. It’s the only way I can stay safe.
It’s not easy! Sometimes I still forget I have to be careful and I find myself actually following directions and flying over the obstacles like the superstar I am. But then the videos get aired and I get worried my cover will be blown. So next time I have to pretend I am crazy again. You have no idea how much it hurts to see those slow dogs win all the ribbons and all I get is a sad expression from you. My soul! It bleeds!
So now you know. Don’t tell anyone okay? It will be our little secret.
Okay, I am totally making this up. I can’t lie! The reason I run around so much is because it’s just so much fun! You should try it! Maybe then you wouldn’t be so frustrated all the time. Take it from me, life is too short.
Shiva (the Dog)
If you think that was amusing, you’ll want to read the eleven better accounts in the actual published book. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and you’ll probably never look at your own dogs the same way again. Don’t believe me? Find out what the other bloggers on the tour have to say!
One of these days I will quit forgetting that Shiva is a wackadoodle dog and actually jump in before she does something really stupid. I don’t know when, exactly. But it’s gonna happen. One would think after three and a half years I’d have very low expectations and just assume Shiva will choose the most insane path. She has no common sense, not even doggy common sense. She is predictable in her unpredictability. You’d think a gal would learn.
When walking with said wingnut canine, I like to find different ways to challenge her. There are only so many directions to go and after a while I think both of us get bored. Many things in the environment can be used like agility equipment. Rocks, trees, stone walls, and lamp posts are just some of the things I get Shiva to jump on or turn tightly around. It’s great practice. It also distracts her from scarfing whatever garbage she can find.
One of the items I’ve used a lot are park gates. Not the big fancy ones obviously but the lower ones set up to block cars from driving on the path. Kind of like this, only without the cattle grating in front of it:
Some of them are even lower than the one above and Shiva can jump without effort. Most of them are more like chains than actual metal gates. They are perfect for working on simple lead-outs or crosses. Since my jumps at home are too heavy to carry with me, they also serve as a way to get Shiva used to working in distracting environments. For all the good that does us.
ANYway, there is a gate at the end of a local nature trail that is much taller than the others. It must reach over five feet. When I stand next to it, the central bar comes up to about eye level. I am around 5’7″. There is also another bar underneath this one that is more typical Shiva jumping height.
The other day Shiva and I were walking down this nature trail and at the last minute, I decided to direct her to jump between the two bars and over the lower one. Nothing we haven’t done before. Unshockingly, she did it again this time without a problem. Easy peasy. I rewarded her and then turned to get her to jump it again in the opposite direction.
Well, she definitely jumped!
Over the top bar. The one that stands over five feet. She would have cleared it without issue too. That’s the crazy thing. But once she was up there she decided to try to land on the bar itself. Don’t ask me why. Shiva delights in defying logic and giving me weekly heart attacks.
Of course a bar is not a thing easily stood upon. Her feet slipped on contact and I watched my dog spill over the other side of the gate, legs splayed. It would have been hilarious. If she was someone else’s dog and I was watching the action on Youtube.
Shiva was fine. I type that a lot, don’t I? I mean, I am sure she has done irreparable damage that will give her chronic pain later in life but even after she awkwardly hung over the lower bar and scrambled for safety on the ground, she looked at me like she wanted to try it again.
What does one do with a dog like Shiva? Sometimes I am tempted to cover her in bubble wrap and plonk a helmet on her head before I ever let her out the door again. Then I realize she will probably just get the bubble wrap snagged on a tree branch as she decides to climb after a delicious-looking food wrapper that blew up on a gust of wind.
You have to laugh or you will cry.
Once upon a time…
Let’s travel back to September, 2009. Shiva had been living with us for about six months and nothing was going right. She had fears. She had destructive tendencies. She got into fights with the cat. She terrified anyone who came within 20 metres. Everyone looked at her like she was a monster. This was not the dog I dreamed of when I spent all those months before her adoption planning and researching and cooing at puppies. This was also not the dog the shelter assured me she was.
But the biggest stress of all was not the collection of shoes she ruined or our fear Shiva would one day bite someone. The most worrying issue was Shiva’s unrelenting separation anxiety.
Thankfully our neighbours were saints and had a very vocal Yorkie…
At this point we were essentially living as shut-ins. Aside from the unavoidable – and panic-filled – trips to work, I rarely left the house. We couldn’t take her anywhere with us due to her reactivity and I couldn’t leave her alone any more than absolutely necessary.
We had tried multiple things to help Shiva deal with being alone just a little better. She had her crate and her frozen-stuffed Kong. I also usually hid treats in different parts of her blanket to keep her occupied. I took her for an active hour-long walk every morning before I left and another hour-long adventure when I got home. We tried leaving for brief periods; I tried leaving from alternate exits; I tried leaving the television on. If there was a tip on the Internet, I tried it.
None of them seemed to help and our neighbours were growing even more concerned about the length of time she would spend crying. I worried we’d come home to find an SPCA vehicle in our driveway.
I felt like the worst dog owner in the world…
One day at work I received an email from my best friend. She knew our problems and had just listened to a radio interview with a dog trainer in her community. This trainer had mentioned separation problems and had several good suggestions that my friend shared with me. Many we had already attempted but there was one that was new.
Dogs need to feel safe, the trainer said. Create a space for them similar to a cave. This can be done by purchasing a soft-sided crate out of which the dog cannot see. The idea behind this was if the dog can’t see anything that causes anxiety, such as a bird through a window, then she will be able to relax and sleep.
It seemed like a good idea at the time…
A few days later we were invited out by some co-workers of my PH. They had tickets to a local dinner theatre and wanted us to come along. We hadn’t been out for pure entertainment’s sake for six months and we both really wanted to go. The night in question was a Saturday. I thought if we spent all day working to tire Shiva out, we might be able to enjoy a few hours stress-free while she slept at home.
As we made our preparations to leave I remembered the advice about creating a cave. We only had Shiva’s wire crate and didn’t have time to get another. In a moment of what I though was brilliance, I grabbed a large blanket and arranged it over the top. The sides fell straight to the floor. The only part Shiva could see through was the bottom of the door.
Crossing my fingers that this would be the trick, I held my breath and closed the front door of the house. It seemed too much to hope but when we met up with our friends I tried to think about anything but our poor dog at home.
Three hours later…
We returned home after a fun evening with our hearts in our throats. As I unlocked the door I am pretty sure my heart stopped beating completely. Unable to look, my PH was the first one brave enough to step inside. The sight was not a pretty one.
There was our sad, sad, sad little dog, standing in the middle of the living room with the wire crate cover over her head. The crate bottom was exactly where we had left it, several feet away. The blanket I had used to give Shiva comfort?
Inside the crate top, bunched up on the floor.
The look on Shiva’s face would have been funny if the situation wasn’t so gut-wrenching.
We still debate the possibilities…
How exactly Shiva was able to pull off this maneuver we still don’t know. The conclusion is that Shiva tried to pull the blanket through the bars of the crate. Since it was thick it wouldn’t have been easy so she would have had to brace herself and yank fairly hard. Somehow this violent jerking must have caused the latches to break, detaching the bottom from the top.
The same night the neighbours reported that Shiva had been much louder than usual and there had been quite a racket of clanging for several hours. They had been worried she was injured and knocked on our door to make sure everything was okay.
Clearly the concept of a cave was not going to make our dog feel any safer when alone. The advice I am sure was sound. It just wasn’t what our dog needed.
Three years later…
Shiva’s anxiety is not cured. But it is better than I ever thought it could be. There was no one method that worked. The only thing that did was time, which is not really what I had wanted to hear back then. We were lucky in that Shiva never got hurt during any of her more interesting bouts of anxiety. Not during the crate blanket fiasco described above, nor during the time she flung fish tank charcoal all over the living room.
It could have been a lot worse.
This post was inspired by a question posed on Something Wagging This Way Comes. Have you ever taken good dog training advice only to have it backfire?
This morning I uttered a phrase I never thought I’d ever hear come out of my mouth. My shame is so deep I think my forehead is now permanently attached to the ground. It isn’t easy typing with one’s head stuck to the floor.
Shiva and I were walking in a nearby park. Most of this space is marked as off-leash, which is amazing. However, some parts of the trail are only off-leash from October to June. This is most likely due to the public beach also within the park zone. Since we do our morning walking before the sun comes up, I’ve been known to slide a little on these rules at that time of day.
When we got to the gravel path the gate was still closed, meaning no cars could get in. I figured this meant we were safe. I unclipped the leash and let Shiva do her usual running and sniffing and munching routine.
I have a pretty strict rule for off-leash activities in technically on-leash areas. The moment I see a dog or a person or a rabbit or a big foot I recall Shiva and get the leash back on. No matter how approachable the person or animal appears. It’s common courtesy as well as being the law. Therefore, I have no excuse for what happened this morning.
As we walked along a glittery puff of smoke appeared on the road in front of us. Before I could register anything the magical dust took the form of a man with a dog on a leash.*
Shiva’s recall is around 95% in instances such as these. She’d already gotten her zoomies out and scarfed all the mud in our general vicinity; I should have been able to get her back. I didn’t even try.
Don’t worry. It gets worse.
Because Shiva is a Shiva, she sees the dog and kicks up a shower of gravel in her urgency to get to him. Finally I emerge from my stupor** and realize what is about to happen.
“Sorry!” I call out, jumping up and down like a cheerleader. “She’s friendly!”
As soon as the words were spoken I felt a vortex swirl around me and suck me into the earth. At least, I wish one had. Instead I had to stand there and face my idiocy like the moron I am. It didn’t help that the man was amiable.
“No problem!” he said with a smile. “He would love to play!” He unleashed his dog and we watched the two of them run around together, wrestling and growling and having a good time.
Even the sight of the two dogs rough-housing couldn’t make me smile. I had violated something I held very dear. I had become an MDIF.
Even Shiva is stunned.
There is no going back from here. Now that I’ve said it, I will forever be one of them, kicked out of every dog-owning club I’ve ever joined, banished from all good company.
That’s not even the worst of it. Truly, what bugs me the most, is that by becoming what I most mock, I have lost my right to complain.
Oh, the humiliation of it all!
Will you forgive me if I promise to never let it happen again?
*I swear. It really happened just like that. Maybe they were actually aliens sent down to study our planet. Maybe the dog was the high commander. Or maybe they were time travellers from a different dimension. Alls I know is they weren’t there and then they were.
**I bet the aliens drugged me so I wouldn’t tell anyone. Ha! Too bad for them I built up a tolerance to such things during my experimental phase. Er, I probably shouldn’t be talking about that.
All events illustrated in the story below are one hundred percent accurate. With the exception of everything that isn’t.
A duck’s life is a pretty good one. Especially for the ducks living around this particular lake. There are plenty of plants just below the surface to dabble on and plenty of humans with bits of bread to spare. It is also a peaceful existence. The only things a duck has to fear are cold weather, power boats, and dogs. The latter being more irritating than dangerous.
George the Duck has been living at the lake on and off for several years. Closer to migration time he likes to move to the larger wetlands a few blocks away but the small lake suits him well during late spring. It doesn’t matter to George that this body of water just so happens to be in the middle of an off-leash dog park. He isn’t scared of a goofy canine. Everyone knows they are all drool, no brains.
Sadly, most of George’s friends think he is crazy for choosing such an open holiday spot. They rarely visit and when they do, they rarely stay long. Which is why George happened to be alone the morning of our story.
The night before he had attended a big party over at the pond. The first ducklings of the year had hatched and George and his buddies liked to celebrate such occasions by drinking too much pond scum while quacking at the moon. He had probably remained out later than he should have, drunkenly flying home just before sunrise. As he hadn’t even the energy to crawl into his bed under the bushes, he ended up passing out on the shore.
A few hours later, when the park filled with excited dogs and tired people, George was lying in the same place. Trying to sleep off his hangover, he was completely unaware of the goings on around him. George opened one eye and groaned. Why are the leaves so loud? He closed the eye and shifted in the short grass. He didn’t think he had ever felt worse.
At least, that was his excuse for what happened next.
For some reason, he just couldn’t get comfortable. Maybe it was his drake instincts kicking in, but he couldn’t help thinking something was wrong. Frustrated, he stood up, intent on finding peace and quiet elsewhere. However, before he could move one webbed foot, a shadow loomed.
“Wheee!” George heard a voice cry. “I finally got one!”
He couldn’t hear much else after that, distracted by the two paws holding down his wings.
“Um, excuse me.” He cleared his throat.
“Oh yeah, oh yeah, I rock!”
As George’s beak was now flattened on the ground he had difficulty speaking. What was even more annoying is that he couldn’t even look his captor in the eye. Judging by the rudeness of the creature, he assumed it was a dog. He felt something cold and wet nudge him in the back.
“You can talk?” The voice above him said.
“Obviously. Now would you mind? You are standing on my wings.” He tried to fill his voice with as much disdain as possible. How were his friends frightened of these beasts?
“But, I caught you! I win!” The dog performed a quick little dance with her paws, stomping all over the duck’s feathers.
“Congratulations. What are you going to do now?”
George felt the cold wet thing again before hearing what sounded like sniffing. At least, that is what he assumed it was. Not being in possession of a nose himself, it was hard to say.
Exhausted, and still fighting off a migraine, George decided to use the one tool he had available in his present state.
“Quack!” he shouted. “Quack! Quack! Quack!”
The sniffing stopped and the dog loosened her grip.
“What are you doing?”
“Quacking,” he replied. “Quack! Quack! Quack!”
When the dog didn’t move any further, George lifted his head and began screaming.
“Quack! QUACK! QUACK!”
Finally, George heard another voice, this one human. He couldn’t understand the sounds as humans are an unintelligible species. But he could tell the noise got the dog’s attention by the shifting of the weight on his left wing.
“I guess I gotta go,” said the dog. “You’re pretty weird.”
With that, the duck’s wings were released and he collapsed on the ground. Luckily, nothing felt broken.
As he slowly made his way to the safety of the bushes, George shook his head. Perhaps the other ducks were right. A dog park was no place for a bird. Leave it to the squirrels. They are already nuts.
When I was a kid I used to play all sorts of bizarre imagination games with my sister. They seemed perfectly normal for an eight-year-old’s standards but when I look back as an adult, I see my sanity was questionable from an early age. One of our favourite games to play was – naturally – “animals.” We each chose a type of animal and then spent the rest of the day imitating the animal’s behaviour. It was outrageously fun, even as the rules of the game grew overly complex. I am pretty sure my mother hated it. Not only did she have to start interpreting our attempts at zebra noises but she complained we wore holes in our pants by crawling around on the floor.
A few weeks ago I read a post on Pawcurious that reminded me of our childhood goofiness. The always-entertaining Dr. V ruminated over the classic animal lover’s question: if I were an animal, what would I be?
More often than not, during play, my sister and I would revert to the same favoured species. She always chose to be a cat and I always chose to be a dog. A cocker spaniel dog, to be more specific.
Even though I am now an adult and no longer wear pants with holes in them, when I try to decide what kind of animal I would be, I still go back to the same thing I did as a kid. It seems a bit incongruous, I admit. I’ve never lived with a cocker spaniel. I haven’t even been around one since our first obedience class three years ago. And that guy wasn’t the friendliest.
Nevertheless, there are many things about the breed to which I can relate.
- Energetic and sporty, but can also enjoy a good lie-in. Much like myself.
- They can adapt to any climate or lifestyle. I live in Nova Scotia where it can be sunny one second and pouring rain the next.
- With their long, wavy fur, cocker spaniels require daily grooming. My hair is also wavy and it remains my biggest vanity. I don’t leave the house unless it is at least presentable.
- They are trusting and hard-working. I am the consummate people-pleaser.
- Their largest faults are their sensitivity (I hear that) and their ability to become pudgy if not kept active (ditto).
- If not properly socialized, cocker spaniels can suffer from shyness. Story. Of. My. Life.
Perhaps I am just drawn to the breed as cocker spaniels were one of the most popular dogs in my area growing up. I am not sure I would ever want one for myself – the daily coat maintenance is daunting – but I do feel a sort of connection with their sweet faces and large, dark eyes.
How about you? If you were an animal, what would you be?