This week has so far been dominated by the persistent arrival of droplets of H2O by way of our friend gravity. It's soggy out there, especially after another heavy dump of snow on Sunday began to melt, making the paths and trails less fun to traverse than usual. I thought I'd cheer myself up with pictures from last week, when cold bright weather was gracing us...
A friend shared this with me: I just had to do likewise. Enjoy!
Since we live in the Northern hemisphere, and it is officially winter, some snow has been falling and making the world white and slippery. This has alarmed and taken by surprise all the local news channels, who have been carrying the shock/horror/can you believe it? story of wintery weather in winter for several days now.
Dogtastic, however, simply posts some pictures which I hope captures the beauty of where we live and how nature does her stuff.
Well, I've been sick and I've been busy and if truth be known, a little lacking in enthusiasm. However, I haff return-ed. Almost, anyway.
I just came across this absolute pearl which I'd not seen before. Very funny, full of observations which strike close to home, and I hope you'll agree; well worth the short read. I wish the author all the very best!
As I think you will likely agree, dogs are more than merely a useful animal to have around.
I don't believe that dogs can 'love' in a human sense; my belief is that it's one of those emotions that we as a species project onto them in an almost hopeful way. As humans, most of us want to be loved, and the attention that we receive from dogs is often interpreted as love. It doesn't, in the grand scheme of things, matter very much, I suppose - unless it leads to humans expecting more from a dog than they can feasibly give, and I'm afraid that is probably not uncommon.
One of the gifts that dogs give us, I think - something that transcends mere companionship - is the instinctive level at which they seem to bond with us. There's something indefinable about the link between a dog and a human that I have never experienced with another animal, although I suspect that the same might be true about the great apes, elephants and cetaceans.
We utilize a dog's instincts and senses in ways that benefit us in so many aspects; thus we have seeing eye dogs, hearing dogs, dogs to detect illnesses and seizures, etc., etc. Their instincts are perfectly attuned (in most cases) to working with their human pack members, whether it be in some highly trained and formalized role, or in a loose, informal pack (family) environment.
But somehow, there's more, something I can't adequately describe. There's a quiet dignity about some dogs (Bosco being one of them), a calm awareness of mood, health and state of mind. For me, these qualities are what make a dog special, and what makes having a dog so important to me.
The attached link will take you to a video of a very old dog that is using these instincts in ways which bring joy to people at one of, if not the most important times of their lives.
I don't agree with everything that is said in the video, but I thought that this was worth sharing for two reasons: first (because this is a blog about dogs) to demonstrate that therapy dogs are out there and can be of tremendous help and comfort to those in need, and secondly to highlight the place of Hospice in our civilization.
Do yourself a favour if you are unaware of what a hospice is or what it provides: find your nearest hospice and at the very least check out their website. They provide an amazing service at moments where the word 'care' in its purest sense means everything.
...of the day (for Bosco). We're talking of course about the daily walk, which, if you're new to this site (and it looks like more and more people are joining in) is always held in a countryside setting where the big black dog can run, sniff, poo and pee to his heart's content. Oh, and get wet - he gets wet quite a lot actually.
Over the Christmas holiday I've mostly been taking it easy (I know, I know; I hear you ask how I can take it any easier than I do already) and not spending as much time online as normal. Partly this is because my son bought me a slightly older flight simulation game, upon which I have been saving the world from the Nazi hoardes by way of my trusty Spitfire. Partly it's because I have tried to spend time out of the office (even now I am sitting at the dining table with my laptop rather than hammering away on the desktop) and to be 'around' in the house for anyone foolish or strange enough to enjoy my company. There's also been work days of course - both paid (working for the local district) and unpaid (writing my novel), and so attending to the websites has, I must admit, slid a little down the priorities list.
Now, however, fortified by huge amounts of food, moderate amounts of alcoholic beverages all temepered by an overwhelming sense of guilt and self-loathing (which lurches into my thoughts each time I pass a mirror and witness the physical wreck I seem to have become), I have returned to bother you with my ramblings.
The following pictures are not my own - they were indeed taken by my gorgeous daughter who came with me on the walk with Bosco on Christmas morning. The BBD (Big Black...oh you get the idea) had been his usual perfect, patient and calm self during the frenzy of present unwrapping, and had even waited very quietly for his slightly later-than-usual walk. I keep saying it, but I have never known a dog like him.
To the photos - and I apologize in advance for any sightings of yours truly, looking rather like a clothed paciderm.
This has been our first full year without Buckley since we brought him home with Bosco. The BBD has coped magnificently and if anything he seems more content and relaxed now that he has the humans all to himself. It's the silver lining to the cloud of losing a lwonderful young dog who had become our companion and cherished pet.
As the year draws the blinds and puts out the lights, I would like to thank you all for continuing to follow my simple little blog and putting up with my nonsense. Thank you so much, and may the next year be even more enjoyable than you hope for!
Just a heads up; for the first time in a very long time I have added a walk to the 'featured walks' page...
Winter has announced itself (clearly not paying attention to the people who tell us that it hasn't officially started yet) with temperatures in our back yard down to minus twelve, and this week, a couple of inches of snow.
It's an odd thing here in this part of Canada (a country famed for its cold winters); so very many people complain loudly about the prospect and the actuality of a snow event. Personally, I still love it when we get snow - it transforms our surroundings, gives kids an excuse not to go to school ('snow day!') and a very good excuse to play OUTSIDE, and is all round, in my book anyway, good fun.
Bosco shares my enthusiasm for the cold white stuff. His brother Buckley used to flip his control spring and go berserk in the snow, much to Bosco's restrained bemusement, but the big black dog still loves to run about in it, chase snowflakes, chase sticks (that, apparently, will never get old) in it and eat snowballs when given the opportunity.
Today was just such a day; the snow wasn't deep but was still crunchy to walk upon, and seemed to be providing Boz with some very interesting sniffing opportunities. I do love it when he can get his nose stuck into tracking or exploring - I think it's good for his brain, and it's fun to watch.
Thankfully, after forgetting to do so for the last two days, this morning I remembered to take the camera with me. Some of the results are below...
A week or three ago we took ourselves off for a few days 'off the grid', in a tiny cabin halfway up a mountain. No electricity, no running water (in fact, much to our surprise; no water at all!) and a composting toilet. Despite being a little disappointed with the presentation of the cabin, we achieved our goal of removing ourselves from the modern world for a short time, and slowing down the pace of life considerably.
Bosco came with us (of course) but steadfastly refused to have his picture taken except in circumstances where he came out as a dark blurry object.
Despite this setback, I've decided to share a few photos of our surroundings...