An appalling story from the nearest city to my home...evidence of a sick and twisted mind at work.
I felt that I had to share this as a public service...thank you, BBC.
It's official, Bosco is the most calm, easy-going and chilled dog I have ever lived with. For the last little while we have been entertaining family visitors from the UK; people whom the big black dog has never met. They arrived while he was outside in his pen (all two hundred square feet of it) worrying a bone or two. As a consequence, the old boy (well OK, young boy) was rather surprised to find two complete strangers in his territory when he emerged in his usual enthusiastic way to be allowed back into the house and deck area.
He has never failed to welcome a visitor to our home. He will (rather satisfyingly, I have to admit) bark impressively at anyone who uses an unconventional approach to our house - notably our latest electricity meter-reader who seems to feel that he can wander through our garden as he sees fit - or people he sees walking up to the front door. A bit of a woof here and there to advertise his presence is something we are comfortable allowing, although within tight parameters. Being surprised by two strangers in the back garden (HIS back garden of course; he's pee'd on it), therefore, I would have understood if we'd had a huff and a puff of indignation - but no.
What DID happen was more interesting than that. Surprised he certainly was, however with our immediate encouragement and maintenance of a relaxed approach to the situation, his surprise subsided quickly. What remained was something neither my wife nor I had ever seen before: Bosco backed away from our visitors. His hackles raised a little and he took several steps back before walking behind me and staying there.
Our visitors have their own dog and are very familiar with having one around, so they were not remotely nervous about meeting our big friend. But he was, for the very first time - and he's been surprised by people before - unwilling to say 'hello' to them up close. Gradually he warmed up to the woman, but he was definitely unhappy about and unwilling to engage with the man. This went on for some time, and it was more than thirty minutes before he felt safe enough to make a tentative approach to the our male visitor, who, it must be said, was very keen to make Bosco's acquaintance.
I wondered: what was Bosco telling us? What was there about this man - whom I have known all my life - at that moment, which was making him uneasy? I have an affinity for the idea that we all possess and project a certain energy; energy which varies depending upon our mood, health and who knows what else. Something invisible happened between Bosco and that man, something I could not detect but which I think I can reasonably deduce, based upon a lot of other pieces of information which dovetail nicely with his reaction.
Animals have no axe to grind, no political correctness to observe, no human social niceties to worry about. They just react to things as they experience them; honestly and without thought for how it makes them appear. The just do it (and I must admit that the occasional panic-stricken leap into the air when the stick Bosco has unwittingly stepped upon moves suddenly and unexpectedly is one of my favourites). It's a simpler way to be and and instinctive way to be - perhaps we would do well to allow a little more of that kind of thing into our lives.
I had to get past the reporter's fishing for a dramatic quote but the end of this clip is just golden...
The recent hiatus in posts has been the direct result of a visit to this beautiful part of the world by my brother and his lovely lady. Their visit ends very soon and so more news of Bosco and his walks will ensue - rest assured that he has been ingratiating himself very successfully with our relatives...
This is where the trouble starts...
'Shake it up Bosco" may not have the same ring to it as the title of a rather well known song by a rather well known 60's group from the city which I grew up almost alongside (no I don't mean that I was a major conurbation, I mean that I grew up within a few miles of Liverpool, but I was trying to be economical with my text, but now that's all gone totally out of the window because I've had to explain myself - see what I mean?). I didn't use that well known title simply because I wanted to avoid a run-in with the famously aggressive copyright lawyers who work for a certain Paul McCartney (whose brother, by the way, used to live quite close to me, and occasionally turned at up at my old rugby club). So I am steadfastly going to avoid using the phrase 'Shake it up baby' in this post....Damn.
Godzilla with a ship in his mouth. Really.
This morning we have been in Norrish Creek...well I wasn't, but Bosco, as you can see, clearly was. Our positions relative to the river - at least in my mind - were intended to remain so.
Me: dry. Bosco: wet.
What a naive fool I am.
"I've just had an idea..."
It soon became clear that the big black dog had other ideas. In this picture a look of malicious intent can be observed in its early stages as it crosses his mind and his face, in that order.
And so it begins. I'm not sure if I am alone in this experience, but Bosco seems to derive a disproportionate amount of satisfaction from delaying his enthusiastic shaking off of water until I am within spraying distance. What is this about? It seems so deliberate - I am assuming that it constitutes some kind of unconscious pack bonding behaviour (like yawning), but I can't figure out why a pack would want to slow down the drying process by covering one another in water...see my problem?
These pictures were taken, of course, before he made his final approach and when I had nowhere to run, ambushing me with a good shimmy which caught me all up one side...
It almost looks like he's moving...
He looks happy with that one... some of it must have hit me without me noticing...
I like this one because it looks like he's surprised himself in mid shake (it's in the eyes)...
And just to finish with, another golden oldie from the hit parade: "The tracks of my deer(s)".
This tree, right here, this tree...yep...is the symbol of spring for me. Not because of its appearance - in fact I'd be very happy to agree that it's actually rather unremarkable to look at. It's green, vaguely tree shaped (the picture is of a young one) and that's about as far as it goes as regards looks. The thing about this tree is the scent it gives off: it's amazing - it permeates the air in the spring months and has come to be the herald of the season. It was only last year that I discovered where the rich, sweet smell all around me was coming from. So...it only took me ten years to find that out - that may warrant an entry in the 'Walking Around With Head In The Clouds' section of the Guinness book of records. The tree secretes a waxy, oily substance from its leaves (you can see that the leaves are quite shiny) and it is this that carries the scent. After a few weeks, the leaves remain but the pleasant smell fades - which is probably a good thing because otherwise knowing me, I'd probably get fed up with it. But here's the question: what tree is it? For reasons which are doubtless entirely my own fault, I can't seem to find it described - not even in my small book all about trees. I haven't found anyone who can tell me, either, and this exasperates me because the darned thing is all over the place, and someone must know! Can you help, using my (modest cough) rather clear photograph here? Thanks in advance.
We were on the relatively 'new' (at least for us) trail which runs alongside Norrish (or 'Suicide') Creek today. It's an easy trail, quite flat and for the most part a decent, rock-free surface, although it does have its moments. Here we can see Bosco perfecting his 'Catalogue model' pose, looking into the middle distance in what he feels is an enigmatic way. In reality, of course, as you had probably already guessed, he is simply taking a breather after chasing a stick half a dozen times. After all, he's 102lbs, and all that sprinting takes it out of a large dog - just a little.
This is looking from the trail North east towards Nicomen Mountain - or at least the lower slopes of it. One of the features of living out here is that with views like these, and especially when framed by the camera, I could be in Switzerland, Austria, Colorado...although on balance I am very, very happy to be right where I am. I think Bosco likes it here, too.
I'm including this because it seemed like a good idea at the time, and even though it no longer does, I want to (strikes a dramatic pose and adopts a Laurence Olivier voice) honour my artistic integrity... Yeeesss...
It's a photo of what I think is iron ore - it certainly is very dense, sounds metallic when I hit it with something solid (such as my head) and is rusty...anyway...it's all over the place out here. This large stone marks the spot I reach when I am keeping to a schedule and at which I know I need to turn around and head back to the truck.
You'll thank me one day for these details. Possibly...
I call this one 'Fissure and Chips"...no actually I don't. I'm just being silly.
The 102lb dog takes off like a black furry bullet. Somewhere in this picture there is a rascally stick just askin' to get chased, picked up (chewed a little bit on the way back) and...and...
*David Attenborough voice* "The dismembered branch, having been taught a lesson it shall never forget, arrives back at the point from which it was originally launched..." You can see here, actually, that the stick has indeed got some attitude (staring Bosco down) and is cruisin' for a bruisin'...
"Well...aren't you going to throw it again then?"
"Got it! Got it!"
The end of the end of the perfect walk...Bosco, as always very keen to share everything with the pack, graciously allows me to wear most of the river water he has been accumulating within his coat - this is the first shake - you can imagine how it progresses from here on, to a thoroughly soaked pair of jeans.
Time to continue catching up with the videos I have been making of our walks. I'm not sure whether or not to widen the use of video (although I would never stop taking still photos) - if so I'll have to take a little more professional approach to doing so, I think. If you have any opinions (i.e., do you like/prefer/dislike videos as opposed to text and pictures?), please comment.
This was the expression I swear I saw today! This took place as we successfully ticked off a Coyote while we walked near to the Fraser River.
Fortunately, the lovely, fit - looking wild animal saw us coming a hundred metres away, and decided that discretion was the better part of valour. He/she trotted calmly (and a little huffily) off in the general direction of 'away', pausing every twenty seconds or so to stop and check out just what we were up to. The Coyote was clearly keeping us very much in view for a reason, and I began to wonder if there may have been pups somewhere out of a sight.
Bosco, not having picked up a visual connection (he was otherwise engaged with his toilet necessities when I first saw the Coyote), came across the scent trail a minute after I saw it, and promptly went quietly crazy. Hackles rose, and the nose was rammed downward as he tracked the other animal's movements for the next fifteen or twenty minutes.
It was fun to watch: Bosco with his nose in the dirt, tail and hackles held high, while the Coyote watched impassively from a safe distance. Of course, Bosco never looked up (nose firmly engaged; eyes switched off) and so never found the object of his investigation - even when the lovely thing began to 'yip' and howl.
As we got a little too close for comfort, he/she disappeared into undergrowth in a very purposeful manner - pretty sure that there is a den in there somewhere...
Coyotes, in my experience, are not scrawny, runty, scruffy animals. The ones which live in my area all seem to be well fed and (at least from a distance) in excellent condition, similar to the one pictured here. They're beautiful animals, and when living in proximity to humans, simply trying to survive despite us being - very destructively - in the way.
A lot of people seem to fear them, hate them or at least dislike them - personally I don't get it. I look at it (and I know that I'm simplifying the issue, but I believe it is very simple in truth) from the perspective that WE invaded THEIR territories - it's up to us as the more adaptable and intelligent (allegedly at least) animals to do our best to co-exist in peace with them.