September 23, 2009

LucyThe Trouble With Squirrels

Let me just say that I think squirrels are just about the dumbest animals on this earth. I’m not trying to offend the animal world, but it amazes me day in and day out the ways they put their lives in danger. Take, for instance, today. Monty, Quillette, and I are walking along, minding our own business when a squirrel, on the right side of the street, decides to run across at the very moment we’re walking by. Are we just supposed to ignore him?

I think not. We all lunge forward, which is probably why Gretchen’s back hurts tonight and my neck hurts (from the pull back on the leash). Still, if you knew, I mean if you KNEW that three big predatory dogs were walking by would you risk your life and run right in front of them?

It’s unbelievable, and trust me, I could tell you story after story about their nonsensical escapades. It’s like they see us coming, turn to their rodent buddies and say, “Okay, watch me. I’m going to fall from the branch of this tree, right in front of those big dogs, scurry under their legs, and race up that tree right over there!”

Okay. I’m getting carried away, but that’s probably because the only sign of autumn around here is the voluminous increase in squirrel activity in our neighborhood. Gretchen tells me they’re collecting nuts and hiding them in secret places for the spring so that when they wake up from their dormancy, they’ll have food. Again, I say how stupid is that? They live in the city where food is abundant all around them all year long!

Alright. I’m stopping. But let me just say one last thing — if I ever catch a squirrel, I’m going to sit him down and have a talking to him. “What are you thinking?”

We saw a lot of squirrels today and a lot of dogs. Gretchen came back from teaching with Monty and we all went for a walk (Monty, Quillette and me).  Yesterday was hot, but today was hotter even though it didn’t say so on the thermometer. I think it was because of the humidity, so while we usually average about 6.5 miles a day, today we only walked 4. Well, Gretchen walked 4. What with my running and playing chase, I most likely did double that, but I’m not complaining.

Well, I’m not complaining about the play time. I will complain about the heat. Gretchen promises it will be cooler tomorrow, but I’m not going to hold my breath.

So let me begin. After our walk, the three of us stayed home while Gretchen walked over to pick up Gemma who, if you look closely at the photos, got a new cast on her broken toe. No more orange, this new cast is green and it looks mighty fine. Because Gretchen felt sorry for Gemma, she walked Gemma back over toward our house (though they didn’t stop by) and picked up the boys (Oshi and Perrito) next door. Gemma was happy to see some canine friends, but once again, those squirrels made for some serious leash macrame what with Gemma racing after the varmints and Perrito in hot on her tail. Still, they made it to the park whereupon they posed, surprisingly, for some photos.

3 dogs and a castOshi on the move

what's that?triangle dogs

With these three dogs, it’s really hard to get them to all look at the camera all at the same time. Oshi is always looking back toward home and Perrito is looking for new friends, while Gemma is wondering if there is something she can chase all the while knowing she really can’t chase anything with that heavy anchor on her leg.

Still, they had a nice walk albeit slow because of the humidity and heat hence the hanging tongues.

hot doghanging tongues

Gemma dropped the boys off at their house and Gretchen walked her back home where she flopped on her bed tired from the adventure of it all.

Next up was Bella who didn’t notice the heat for the first 30 minutes. Gretchen said they had to have a serious training session as Bella was all over the place with energy. To burn some of it off, they made their way to the tennis courts where finally the heat and the endless games of fetch even got to Bella.

fetch timedrop it

Gretchen said that Bella does a much better job than I do of dropping the ball once she retrieves it, but that I’m a better retriever. I didn’t take offense. I know I hold onto the ball and I shouldn’t, but a guy can’t be perfect all the time, can he?

At one point, Gretchen found another tennis ball on the court and tossed it out to see what Bella, who already had the first ball in her mouth, would do. Bella was heard to exclaim, her mouth full of ball, “Wa I do wit thith one?”

what I do?

Eventually though, all the energy drained out of Bella and she flopped down in the shade and just chewed on the tennis ball for awhile. Doesn’t she look like a deer?

chew timeDeer dog

After their romp, Gretchen tried working on Bella’s commands again and this time she was spot on. She heeled by her side, she sat when commanded, and when a squirrel raced by, Bella ignored it.


What was she thinking? That shows some serious restraint…restraint I certainly don’t have. Good job, Bella!

Bella was happy then to get a drink at Bradner Gardens and even happier to go back home where it was cooler and she could rest. Gretchen then moseyed on down the street to pick up Saber who was sound asleep on his back when she arrived. Funny boy. She brought him back to our house where the four of us — Monty, Q, Saber, and I — tried to muster up some energy in the ever-increasing heat.

It's hot!cool roll

Monty took a little while to engage in the play and once he did, he tackled me, which sent Quillette into a barking frenzy. With that, Monty was put inside and once Gretchen got Q to obey, she went inside, too. That left me the only one left to entertain Saber.

tug of warchewy

Saber may look all innocent, but trust me, the boy can be a pest. I mean look here. I’m resting in the shade and what does he do? He bite me in the bottom to see how I’d react!


Eventually, Gretchen came to the rescue and let Monty and Quillette back out after they’d settled down. Of course, by that time I was racing around getting Saber to chase me and Quillette and Monty, too tired to engage, just watched from their corners of the yard!

chase timemonty watch

barkerfinally a break

And then Monty and Q hung out on the deck while Saber and I rested some, too. Monty, as is his style, sniffed Quillette’s ears. You can see by the expression on Q’s face, she’s tolerant of our friend’s weird habit.

sniff sniffweird friend

Monty and I escorted Saber home, though along the way we stopped at the school and helped a student receive a reward. The reward was walking Saber and let me tell you, this kid thought that was the absolute best reward his principal could offer him. According to Gretchen, there might be more rewards in the future and I might get to be involved. We’ll see, but for now, Saber got all the attention of an 11 year old boy and they were both very happy about the new relationship.

3 happy pups3 cool dudes

After Saber went home, Monty and I walked over to pick up Wilson. Thrilled to see us, Wilson, Monty and I walked through the park and met up with Lucy (the dog in the first photograph at the top of this page) and we got to do a little romping and fetching. Lucy’s kind of shy, but eventually, she got into the act!

Wilson beggingme and monty

happy guyhanging

After our visit with Lucy, we headed towards Monty’s house where we dropped him off for some cool water and a bit of rest. Along the way, we ran into Lulu who was off to the park for a romp. Wilson and I joined in. Well, I joined in the romp. Wilson enlisted anyone he could find to throw the ball for him!

Lulu chaseI'm flying

can't touch this

let's play fetchwill you throw it for me?

But we soon all tired out — that heat, humidity, and long day finally got to us all — and that’s when Gretchen really snapped the photos.

hot dogwhew

cooling offthat was fun!

I sure hope tomorrow is cooler. If it is and if I get to bed soon, I hope to have enough energy to catch me one of those squirrels so we can have a good talking to!

Good night!


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