Archive of ‘Wordless Wednesday’ category
We are trying to do more with our weekends than errands and re-watching episodes of Sherlock. Now that the temperatures are habitable, we have no excuse to keep the hibernation going. Hiking is an activity that eases our sedentary guilt yet doesn’t take us too far out of our comfort zones.
Miquelon Lake Provincial Park was the perfect location for shaking out our winter bones. Less than an hour away, it is open all year round and contains several pet friendly trails of decent length.
Though the signage was excellent the trails were not well maintained, which meant we were trudging through slick snow almost the whole way. What would be an easy walk under dry circumstances, turned into a trap for weak ankles.
That didn’t stop us from having a good time. We ended up following some impressive deer tracks most of the way around the loop and Shiva had a good time filling her nose with the fresh scent.
We intend on returning once the ice has fully melted, perhaps even turn it into an overnight camping trip. But then, there are so many new parks to explore this year, I am reluctant to tie myself down just yet.
The only thing I know is, Shiva isn’t picky. Her disappointment at returning to the car was obvious. Poor little puppy. We’ll get back out there soon.
I don’t know about where you are but here winter has been taking its time getting the heck out. April looks very much like January. But I am so desperate for spring, even with the ground still crusted with ice, I am soaking up the signs of the greener season where I can find them. Mostly in the light.
I never would have been able to take the above photo a month ago. It was far too dark. Even though the creek bed remains icily still, there is hope.
Just look at that grass! Real grass! Sure and it’s brown but we can see it! From this part of the world, that is something to celebrate.
It is so bright, people are letting their dogs remain outside just a wee bit later. Which means I could snap this picture of our friendly neighbourhood pit bull. And I mean that sincerely. This beautiful girl was all butt wiggles and play bows when we walked by. If Shiva hadn’t been with me, I probably would have knelt to say hello.
Yes, these trees will look much fresher when they have a new spring wardrobe. Yet, I still smiled at the way they blanketed this yard. In the dark days of early March. I never even noticed them.
It may not appear so to those who live in southern climates, but in this part of the world, it is clear things are improving. When there is light, there is anticipation. Before too long, there will be leaves and pretty petals to photograph. I believe!
What do you see as a sign of spring?
Our neighbourhood is in an older part of Edmonton, just across the river from downtown but far enough away that it has more of a quaint aura. It is filled with late 19th century homes and small, local businesses that house artists, documentary film-makers, pretentious restaurants that are only open three days a week, organic food shops selling everything from local coffee to high quality pet food, and – of all things – image consultants. We are also lucky enough to have a small veterinary office less than five blocks down the road, right next to an artisanal bakery and a diner that advertises five-dollar breakfasts.
Until last week, I never noticed the cat that lives inside the vet clinic. I don’t know how I missed him as he sleeps in the window of the office right by the sidewalk. But now that I have found him, I can’t resist an opportunity to pass the clinic to say hello.
Neither can Shiva.
When we first saw him lounging on top of his comfy furniture, I made her sit away from the window for fear she would scare him off. However, being a kitty who lives in a pet hospital, he seems to be accustomed to dogs and instead of darting away, he leapt down to the door in order to greet her.
I was stunned by how intrigued he was by her and how calm Shiva was in return. I never would have let her get so close if there hadn’t been a door in the way but I have a feeling even without the partition they could be good friends.
Shiva has always adored cats. Unfortunately, she comes on too strong and most of them despise her in return. I am so glad she has found a quasi feline companion. Even if their affection must be tempered by glass.
It may be March for the rest of the world but in Edmonton Winter has stuck in its tent pegs and is refusing to leave. Lest it give even the appearance of moving, the unfriendly season has sent us one of the coldest weeks we’ve had this year so far. It has been so frozen, my eyeballs had frostbite.
Alas, there is nothing for it but to march on. And I mean this in the literal sense. The walks Shiva and I have embarked upon lately felt much more like patrols than our favoured leisurely adventures. We are soldiers, out there to get a job done and nothing more.
The only problem with this, other than numb thighs and brittle eyelashes, is that the Sheevs still needs to be tamed. Even if it is minus ridiculous outside, her brain demands entertainment and her body craves exhaustion. Unfortunately, this also happens to be my least creative and most unmotivated time of year. The span of weeks from February to April often see me weeping into my pillow and begging for mercy. If not for Shiva’s frenzied drive for the tug toy, I don’t know how we’d make it through with our sanity intact.
As it is, I am only just attached to reality by a wayward shoelace.
Okay, that’s not true. There is something else other than my footwear – which, frankly, doesn’t even have laces – enabling me to keep my brain from cracking. The more Shiva tugs, the more relaxed she gets, and the more relaxed she gets, the more she looks like this:
Shiva only rarely keeps her mouth open. I can tell she isn’t a fan of the feeling by how often she tries to correct herself when she pants. It feels strange to her, like she is leaving herself vulnerable. So when she is too tired from a frenetic game of tug to care? It is adorable. She looks like a completely different dog.
Sometimes, a little more manic than others, but this expression always makes me smile. Dogs, they remind us what is important in life. It sure as heck isn’t the weather.
What a goof. How did I ever live without her?
“Oh, you nutter! What are you doing in the road? Don’t ya ken you’ll get hurt? Get over here you silly arse!”
I am pretty sure this woman and I are meant to be best friends. If I see her again, I am inviting her out for a beer.
Okay, maybe not. But in my mind I totally will.
“I know that dog. I know it! It’s a jack! No, a whippet! No, it’s a something that looks like a Jack and a Whippet but is something else! I know it”
It’s a Shiva. Don’t feel bad. I don’t know what she is either.
“Them dogs are always sniffin’. What do you reckon they smell?”
They smell the earth and everything beneath it. Every beetle, every worm, every speck of life, alive or dead. If you were to sit and look at this spot all day, every day for a month, you would see hundreds, if not thousands, of people, broken toys, dogs, plastic bags, cats, rabbits, food wrappers, children, leaves float, walk, slide, and prance over this pile of snow. Everything you would see in those 30 days, a dog smells in one moment.
“I really like this sweater. It makes me look like a cougar with a wine problem but I don’t care. It’s my I-don’t-give-a-damn-if-I-look-like-a-crazy-cat-lady-because-I-am-awesome-anyway sweater.”
I should have asked her where she bought it. I could use some of that attitude.
“When I grow up, I wanna be a puppy!”
High ambitions, little girl. Don’t we all?
When I got home from work today there was a happy surprise waiting for me. My birthday had come early and our awesome prize package from Planet Dog, won during Kol’s Notes’ wicked Advent Calendar for Dog Lovers event, had finally arrived! I had forgotten all about it until I saw the familiar brand label on the box.
Shiva was pretty excited herself.
Despite the fact that I have seen these toys in stores all over the country, I have never purchased one for Shiva. I love the concept behind them; treat-releasing toys are something I am always looking at for my starving puppy. They are perfect for working her mind and her body and often give me a chance to read a book for several minutes while she occupies herself with snarfing every last crumb. Nevertheless, when I felt the texture of the Orbee Tuff line offered by Planet Dog, they never seemed all that… Tough. I doubted their ability to stand up to Shiva’s gaping maw.
See those jaws? They are even bigger than they look on camera.
I am glad to say that I was wrong to doubt. Though the material is quite flexible, the rubber holds up well. After a few bouts of rough play, the ball is still without any noticeable teeth marks. Granted, they are not chew toys and are not meant for a full frontal assault. We are still going to be careful. But, so far, Planet Dog gets a Shiva lick of approval.
I am looking forward to testing out the Snoop this weekend when I have some time to put the Shivster’s brain to the test. For now, I am content to watch her run all over the house, knocking over wine glasses, in pursuit of a dog’s real best friend.
The rubber ball.
Thanks again to Kol’s Notes for offering such a cool prize!
I love this dog. It is that easy. She isn’t super smart and she ate all of my shoes, but I love her just the same.
Only love gets me up at five-thirty every morning. Only love prevents me from crying when the thing I just pulled from her mouth smells ranker than a teenaged boy’s hockey gear. Only love has me sighing and washing my hands in the snow before carrying on with our walk.
She is crazy and annoying and destructive. She makes me worry and she keeps me up at night and she gets peanut butter on my clean work pants.
She changed my life. She helped me discover a new passion. She gave me more confidence than I’ve ever felt and she taught me patience, something my mother never thought possible. She makes me a better person. She isn’t my “heart dog”, whatever that even means, but she is my first dog, and she always will be.
I feel sorry for all those people who don’t get it, who have never been lucky enough to love a dog, who treat them like disposable toys. Or worse. Dogs aren’t easy to understand and they often cause trouble. But they have so much to give. It is only our loss if we choose to ignore or shove them aside.
I love this dog. It doesn’t even matter if she loves me.
I realize I haven’t talked much about how we spent the holidays, despite the fact they were the busiest we’ve had in half a decade. Even though I was anxious leading up to our trip, things were almost peaceful. The hardest part was being Shiva-less and PH-less for four whole days. Luckily, I had someone to keep me company as I suffered in the Southern Alberta sunshine.
Oops, I’m sorry. That’s my dark, snow-covered yard. We’re not going to be seeing anything cheerful there for a while. Below is where I spent the period between Boxing Day and New Year’s.
Do you see that? It’s grass! Real grass! I’d almost forgotten it existed. What a difference a five hour drive makes.
Who is that adorable creature on top of the grass? That, my darlings, is my second favourite dog in the whole world. His name is Rikki and he is a ridiculously cute retrieving champ. He was also my little shadow while I stayed in my parents’ home. I won’t lie. He made up for any homesickness I may have been feeling.
Love. This. Dog. Can you blame me? I threatened to sneak him home in my pocket on several occasions. He might have fit, too.
Alas, my parents love him too much to let him go. However, I have offered my dog sitting services for the next time they travel. My fingers are crossed they will take me up on it. We already know he gets on well with the Shivster.
The Cat can just deal.
Not that Rikki is perfect. I mean, he only fetches and knows the names of all his toys and puts himself to bed at night by pulling a blanket over his head. He only is friendly with strangers and has a solid recall and sports the cutest freckles in the whole world. Who would want to live with such a beast?
I hope my sister is reading this. This is me officially calling dibs.
This is also me outside in a light sweater without a toque. In December. Magic.
Thanks to everyone who left advice and sympathy yesterday. I reckoned I wouldn’t be alone in my battle to defend the cat’s food bowl from the greedy jaws of the dog. I am still not sure what our future strategy will entail. It might be an attractive configuration of ceiling-high DIY baby gates – because Shiva will jump anything less than eight feet – ex-pens, and a good old-fashioned booby trap. Tar and feathers would make her look quite fetching, don’t you think?
I kid, I kid. No matter what we come up with, however, I promise there will be follow-up. And photos.
Speaking of the dog and pictures and strategies, Shiva given me cause me to worry about another aspect of her life. After almost six weeks, her injury should be entirely healed. The stitches were removed ages ago and the cone is a distant memory. Unfortunately, I noticed this evening that the area is still looking a bit too raw for my liking.
When I say raw, it looks like she has been scratching the heck out of the scar tissue during the day enough to make the area bleed. I am sure it itches like a bad mosquito bite and I can’t blame her for doing it but it is giving me some serious anxiety. The more she scratches, the more irritated the skin will become, and the slower it will heal. We obviously need to prevent her from doing any worse damage.
My PH’s suggestion? Clothing. A t-shirt, to be precise.
I never thought I would be the kind of person to dress up my dog in my own clothes. Who does? I figure if I am going to do it, I may as well make it an old SPCA t-shirt so she can support a worthy cause at the same time.
As it is slightly too baggy around the waist, she is also rocking the early nineties side-knot. Maybe I’ll have to get her one of those wicked t-shirt clips, just to make it even better. One in every colour so she can match her outfit.
Do they still make those? I hope not.
I am wondering if I need to make her a pair of puppy pants. Because if she is going to wear a shirt being bottomless just seems… Unseemly.
Let’s hope the scar heals before I lose all sense of normalcy forever.
*I realize this post isn’t much less wordy than usual. I am just too lazy to come up with a different title. There are more important things to worry about, like how I am going to fashion Shiva a skirt out of an old pair of jeans.
Almost four weeks after Shiva’s injury things are starting to return to the nutty speed to which we are accustomed. All that lazing around has caused the Tornado to lose some muscle mass but she makes up for it in sheer energy. I have a feeling it won’t be long until our girl is a beefcake again.
She got to play a rowdy game of tug for this first time in too long this last weekend and even though I have yet to capture a non-blurry action shot of her, I couldn’t resist snapping a few. Her joy at playing her favourite game with her favourite tugger was infectious.
I could watch the two of them play like this all day, every day.
Before you ask, it has nothing to do with the way Shiva relaxes enough to nap afterwards. Not at all.
I will deny it till my dying day and beyond. Life just isn’t the same without the insanity. I can’t believe I’m saying it, but it’s good to have her back in action.