Every Saturday morning, Blondie and I accompany HairyFace on the weekly trash run to the Convenience Center to dispose of recyclables and household rubbish. It’s something we always look forward to and get excited about. Volt has not been able to go with us because there is only so much room inside the little extended cab S10 pickup that Hairy uses to haul trash (and dogs). NiceLady tries to distract him with a treat and attention as we load up and pull out, but Volt often cries and bays his disappointment. When we get back, he meets Hairy at the door and prances around, “My turn, my turn, take me for a ride now.” Sometimes Hairy has business in town and will take Volt with him as he heads that direction.
There is a buffer zone between our “yard” and the tree line above the yard. HairyFace calls that buffer zone ‘Copperhead Country’ because he is more likely to encounter Copperheads (and other snakes) here than anywhere else; other than up in the virgin forest. This area is sloping, has a few scattered trees, the ground is covered with dead leaves (Copperheads like dead leaves because their coloring provides the perfect camouflage), and fallen branches. The ground is littered with big rocks, boulders and outcroppings. All make a great playground for snakes.
One afternoon HairyFace announced that he was headed up into Copperhead Country to do some bush-whacking. That’s like weed whacking, but includes saplings and honeysuckle vines along with large weeds. I told him he needed to stay as far away from snakes as possible. I was once bitten, repeatedly, by a Copperhead and spend a day in the doggy hospital and many weeks of recovery. It’s not fun, it is best to just stay away from them!
NiceLady bought us an outdoor dog bed called a Coolaroo. It’s kind of like a miniature trampoline except without the springs. We all like it.
This morning HairyFace went out to exercise Jasper. Jasper is a foster dog who is here for Behavior Modification: he was pretty wild. He’s doing better. He has been a total jerk toward Blondie Bear, though. She invites him to play, but he just wants to mount her. He has been neutered, but I guess old habits die hard for some. Blondie tells him off and gives him the cold shoulder for the rest of that session. As usual, Blondie went with HairyFace to work with Jasper … she keeps hoping …
Jasper REALLY wanted to come out and play.
HairyFace puts Jasper on a tether. Sometimes the other end of the tether is fastened to a tree, at least while Hairy has to focus on cleaning out the pen and getting him fresh water. When its play time, Hairy holds the loose end and they can walk around the yard together: it’s now a 20 foot leash and Jasper has some freedom to bound and run. If Blondie is in the house (or if Jasper does not know Blondie is in the yard because she’s hiding) Hairy lets Jasper drag the tether around behind him. Jasper can easily scale our 5 foot perimeter fence, but while he’s dragging the tether he “thinks” he’s dragging something around that would keep him grounded.
Today, when HairyFace finished cleaning the pen, he found Jasper on the Coolaroo with Blondie.
Blondie seemed to be okay with that too. That’s a first!
Since they were getting along so well, Hairy decided to proceed with a yard clean-up. When that was done he went to see if Jasper was interested in playing ball or going for a walk. But jasper had sniffed out Hairy’s treat hiding place atop the lumber pile and was doing his best to climb up and snatch the cookie. He could not be dissuaded and got rowdy when Hairy tried to redirect him into playing ball, so Hairy put him back in his pen and gave him the cookie.
Then he let Volt and me out.
Jasper and I don’t have any issues. I don’t play with him because I don’t like rough-n-tumble play. I like to run. So HairyFace keeps me inside while Jasper comes out to play. But I can walk past his pen or stop by to say hello and there is no friction between us.
Not so with Jasper and Volt. Volt is fine. Volt will stand up to Jasper if Jas gets mouthy, but he never initiates a disagreement. He does, however, come around in hopes of stealing some of Jasper’s food if he’s outside when Hairy feeds Jasper. So Jasper has flagged Volt as a threat and gets nasty any time Volt comes near. So we make sure they remain separated.
I took up position on the Coolaroo. I am The Big Dog, that is my right.
Blondie and Volt lined up to wait their turn.
It was a nice morning and I had every intention of being here for a good long time. It’s going to rain later, and Hairy was working hard to get all his gardening, mowing, and trimming done before the rain moved in. So if we were going to be cooped up inside later, I wanted to lounge in the fresh air for a bit.
Volt was getting pretty insistent about getting a turn too. He wasn’t rude, just asking, “Cochise, when do I get a turn? I’d really like to have a turn too.” But he kept after me: kinda pesky-like, you know?
It was about time for my morning bowel movement So I decided to give the Coolaroo over to Volt and went off to search out the perfect place to do my business.
HairyFace was working in the garden. Blondie decided to go watch him. When she got there she spotted a pair of butterflies doing some sort of areal dance (or perhaps battling one another, with butterflies it’s hard to tell). For a good while they were just inches the other side of the fence and Blondie stood and watched, mesmerized.
By the time Hairy noticed all this and got out his camera, the performance was about over … and it started to sprinkle.
Blondie decided to take shelter in the barn. A few sprinkles don’t bother her much, but it felt like it could become more, so she was playing it safe. I went up on the back porch and started calling Hairy to come let me in. I do NOT like sprinkles. Volt came with me. HairyFace did not: he kept working even though it was sprinkling.
I kept calling – getting more insistent. Volt left.
Turns out he joined Blondie in the barn. At least it was dry in there. They watched as Hairy performed his mystical ministrations with snippers and zip ties.
When Hairy finished up in the garden he came up to the house.
Blondie stayed out in the barn. The sprinkles stopped after a few minutes and Blondie went out on patrol.
Things had barely gotten wet so HairyFace went back out to do his mowing. Volt and I elected to stay indoors and guard the house against thieves and fiends. Someone has to do it!
Blondie took up position on the Coolaroo and supervised Hairy’s yard work. Jasper got excited by the mower and began running vertical laps in his pen (it’s amazing how he can do that!), and Hairy spent a few hours tending to the lawn.
He got all the mowing and trimming done (at least what he planned to do today, there is always more) and got Jasper out again for his afternoon play session … but he was all revved up and that was not going well, so he went back in quickly.
Then it started raining for real, so HairyFace and Blondie joined Volt and me in the house. I’m guessing no one will be lounging on the Coolaroo this evening. Oh, well … there’s always tomorrow.
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