June 12, 2009

The Hazards of Summer

On Thursday night, as Gretchen and I were walking through the tall grass toward the agility arena, Gretchen got stung by a bumblebee. It stungfriends her twice before she could flick it out from under the tongue of her shoe and for the rest of the evening, while I practice my jumps and weaves, her foot throbbed.  Luckily, she didn’t have an allergic reaction, but she made a mental note to put some Benadryl in the glove compartment of the car as well as some in her dog walking backpack in case I got stung or one of the dogs we walked suffered that stinging fate.

As with most mental notes, she forgot and we headed out today on our work of walking Friday dogs without Benadryl in the backpack. Our first walk of the morning was with Monty and Quillette, two of my best friends in the whole wide world.  It was a cool morning so the plan of going swimming had to wait. Instead we headed up to one of our favorite views of the city at Bradner Gardens. You can’t really see the city in this photo, but you get a sense of the city behind the gardens. We, of course, aren’t paying the least bit of attention to the view. There was a the possibility of another dog up the street, which made Quillette and me very alert. Monty could have cared less about the distractions.

We had such a nice long walk that the next best thing to do was to nap in the sun on the back porch while Gretchen cooked in the kitchen. parkEventually, though, she had to walk Oshi and Perrito so she left us in the house with sufficient treats, and retrieved the eager boys from next door.

They all went to the park and instead of playing in the grass, they hung out on the jungle gym, another hazard of summer.  It’s hard to tell, but the boys walked up a cat walk (curious name) and posed for the photograph about four feet off the ground.  Gretchen thought they were high enough to discourage any jumping.

Oh, she has much to learn.

While Perrito found his spot in the shade, Oshi contemplated the risks of finding solid ground again.


to jump or not to jump

Luckily, right before Oshi decided to go for it, Gretchen put down her camera and got the little guy in midair.

There are unknown hazards in the summer, I tell you. Lots and lots of unknown, unpredictable, unforeseen hazards!

Gretchen decided to stick to the ground for photographs and walking. Perrito, for one, was quite content with that decision.

happy ground

But even the ground can present hazards. For instance, on their way back home they ran into Theo and Dexter, two small but very loud dogs. At first everyone was a bit standoffish, though Theo and Dexter kept up the announcements and introductions. But then, as everyone settled down, it became a tangle of leashes and tails!

the meeting1the meeting2

By the time everyone got untangled, it was time to go home. Both Oshi and Perrito were hot and tired and went straight for their water when they walked into their front door.

Another hazard of summer is that the days become very full. Not only is there work, but friends and family all want to visit.  Gretchen had a lunch date with some friends and so she decided to ride her bike up to Teabiscuit’s house to offer her a solo walk (without me or Monty following), but after huffing and puffing herself up to the house on the hill, Gretchen realized she’d forgotten the house keys. So she rode all the way back home, picked up the keys, and hopped on the scooter this time to high tail it to Teabiscuit’s house. Only now her time was crunched and there was no way ‘Biscuit would get an hour walk in between Gretchen’s scheduled lunch date.

While we may not see timing as a hazard, it can be for it makes you stressed and worried when you’d rather be just laid back and calm. So Gretchen decided to give two walks to ‘Biscuit — a short one before lunch and a longer one after lunch. But when she got to the house, who was there? Jessica, the Friday nanny who also happens to be Quillette’s mom. Hard to follow?  Jessica had let Teabiscuit out earlier in the day and so they decided she’d be okay until Gretchen came back after lunch to walk her, which is exactly what she did.

But here is where timing is so interlinked to fate. First, they went to the park to play fetch, Teabiscuit’s favorite game.


But why is ‘Biscuit running away from Gretchen’s camera? Because there was a young boy playing catch with his Grandpa and Teabiscuit ADORES children so she headed right over to the boy in hopes that he’d throw her ball, which he did!

boy and ballfetch2

But eventually, Gretchen figured Teabiscuit was hot…

hot dog

…so she decided to take Teabiscuit down to the lake. Remember those twists of fate, the timing of the unpredictable? Here it comes.

Teabiscuit was really, really happy to go to the lake. She fetched the ball in the water and she fetched it on the lawn. Over and over again.

water fetchwater fetch2

land fetchlast water fetch

Sound like a perfect afternoon?  It was until they headed home and Teabiscuit stepped on a bumblebee. If Gretchen hadn’t forgotten the keys, if she’d headed out earlier, Teabiscuit may never have stepped on the bee. But there it is…the hazards of timing, the twists of fate.

Poor ‘Biscuit. She lifted her leg and when she walked, refused to put weight on it. Did Gretchen have Benadryl? Nope, so she lifted up Teabiscuit, carried her dripping wet all the way back up the hill, and waited to see if Teabiscuit would have an allergic reaction. Gretchen and Jessica searched for Benadryl at Teabiscuit’s home and Gretchen called the vet to get all the details straight. Still no allergic reaction so they held off on finding some Benadryl. Teabiscuit curled up on the couch under a pink blanket and slept the rest of the afternoon.

By the evening, she was back to normal, which made all of us very happy.

In the meantime, what about Quillette, Monty, and me? Well, we’re waiting for our afternoon walk, which eventually comes with a trip down to the lake for SWIMMING!!! Monty was thrilled…


Quillette got in (with me swimming like crazy in the background), but she hung out on the shore for awhile, too…

she's inwatching

Monty loves to swim, but as I’ve reported before, he’s not very good at it.  He did really well at first…you can see him motoring out past Quillette to get the red buoy…but when he turns around, he goes under briefly freaking Gretchen out a bit…

good fetchgoing under

He always pops up and he always makes it back to shore, but there are a few moments of HAZARD HAZARD HAZARD blaring in Gretchen’s mind. It all turned out well in the end. We now have Benadryl in our work backpack along with other items we might need for some emergency first aide…like falling from heights and getting water out of big poodle ears!!!

Be careful out there,


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