Sunday, August 23, 2009
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Saturday, October 11, 2008
At this point in the dotage of Pappy's blog, I'm a little embarrassed to mention how often I think of blogging (never) and expound on all my great ideas for posts (none). But one thing I've always wanted to know is what Pappy does while we are at work. Of course our bedroom, where Pappy hangs out, is way too puny for such extravagances as a webcam on an ongoing basis-- a Pappycam if you will. But for a couple of days...
So, as a coup de grace for the blog, last week I set up the webcam to do time lapse photography of Pappy while we were out at the office. I made some fascinating discoveries, like that Pappy routinely spends part of the morning flopped down on the floor by my side of the bed before moving onto his dog bed. Faithful ol' terrier. Here is a movie of his exciting exploits-- the secret life of dogs.
To all our readers, I leave you with this window on Pappy as a memento. Party on.
Nat and Pappy
Labels: pappy movies
Monday, September 01, 2008
Over the past few months I've been noting a painful twinge in my right wrist. At times it has been bad enough to keep me from doing things-- for example my kayaking while visiting Maine this summer was at a minimum. It's gotten bad enough that the sports medicine doctor looking after my achilles tendon recommended an MRI.
The potential causes of this affliction? It doesn't seem to be carpal tunnel, so I can keep blogging away. I can think of two possiblities-- Pappy or Pappy. Either his antics chasing after cats and lunging at dogs while on leash caught me at a bad angle, or I'm a victim of ball tossing. I'm pretty certain it was the latter, because we are talking about hundreds of hours of fetch. I would get a little bored from time to time, and would try my fast ball, then trick shots ricocheting off of trees, then the long bomb the length of the dog park, then the misdirection throw over the shoulder or around the back. I'm like the one man Harlem Globetrotters of chucking.
The MRI didn't turn up anything, so I've just been resting the wrist. I've been working at throwing with my left arm, but the results are pretty feeble and can end up just about anywhere within a 180 degree range. I have yet to throw behind myself, but I'm sure that's coming. Pappy got me a Chuckit ball sling for my birthday, but that doesn't seem much less stressful on my wrist than throwing. Occasionally I gingerly throw with my right arm, and it's pure bliss. Those were the glory days.
Sunday, August 17, 2008
Thanks to my tireless research last fall, I was able to pinpoint the source of the burrs all through Pappy's fur each time we would go out on a walk. Now that I am familiar with the evil weed, I can't help but notice that this summer there is a bumper crop growing along either side of the creek path. We're talking a gauntlet of six foot plants all along the route Pappy and I walk at least twice a day. And Pappy is every bit as captivated by them now as then, burrowing deep into the plants each time we pass-- thankfully the flowers haven't yet burr-ified.
It could be my imagination, but it seems like the plants are thickest in all the spots where I would stop to pick the burrs out of Pappy's face. Pappy and I might be the ideal distribution system for seeds.
Wednesday, August 06, 2008
So Pappy has been going off-leash as much as he ever has during this vacation in Maine. When we first started out taking off the leash he seemed so incredulous-- "you mean you want me to walk by myself?" Every few feet he'd stop and look back to check in. And when I beckoned to have him come back to have the leash put on, he seemed relieved. But more recently he's grown into his newfound freedom. He falls a little further behind and "forgets" to come along. And when I let him out into the unfenced front yard he no longer does his business and races back to the screen door to come in. He has started to amble down to the beach to lick spilled butter off of the rocks from the recent lobster party, or check out the spot where we dumped out the mussel shells. This morning I had to go looking for him, and he was whuffing at a poor passing walker on the road. Not all good.
But one thing he has enjoyed has been exploring the "back 40". Across the road from our house we have a patch of land shared with two other families-- about 30 acres of spruce forest and wetlands. The way through the woods is layer on layer of fallen trees and crisscrossing pointy branches, with occasional lovely clearings. Jungles wish they were as impenetrable as this. Pappy and I have made three excursions into the back 40, being unable to find the property markers and getting incredibly lost each time. He just loves it, racing back and forth and quickly recalling when I clap my hands. Of course I'm terrified that he's going to pick up some ticks, but so far so good.
Monday, August 04, 2008
Be it a swimming pool or a tidal pool, Pappy's favorite game is to drop his ball repeatedly into the water and then whine and angst until it's close enough to snatch out of the water. And then he drops it back in the water. Pappy's not afraid of swimming off of a shallow beach, but he is afraid of steep dropoffs and so won't go swimming after the ball. This video is of Pappy at my cousin's beach where they have a little tidal wading pool formed by some ancestor jamming a stick of dynamite into the rocks-- before the days of ecological correctness and greening.
Okay, so the other day Pappy was standing out on the rocks, drops his ball in the water, paws at it once or twice, and watches mournfully as it as the tide carries it away to sea. Now Pappy has been swimming in the bay since we arrived, but he has developed a flash neurosis and can only stand on the rocks whining about his lost ball while staring out to sea. I break out the kayak and paddle out after the ball. On turning around to return to shore who should I see paddling after me but our insane little seal dog, churning away in my wake. All I'm saying is that he could have saved me some trouble.
Saturday, August 02, 2008
Well, the beautiful view of the other day has disintegrated. The island weather has moved to the pole opposite crystal clear and beautiful-- suffocatingly foggy. Pappy has been pretty mopey for a couple of days as his paws healed from thundering around on the rocky beach, but seems to be on the mend. I've been painting away pretty happily, but our houseful of guests is getting a little stir crazy. So, I grabbed the bicycle, ditched Pappy, and rode into the village to sit at this picnic bench outside the library and filch internet access.
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
It was kind of sweet this morning when my wife went out kayaking. Pappy wandered out into the surf gazing after her, wandering farther and farther out. I called him back in and he ran up to the sea wall and just stared after her longingly, like a widow of the sea. Later when she was paddling back in I pointed her out to him, because my wife would have been charmed to see him pining away for her. Of course he just kept patrolling the beach like I was telling him to find his ball, even as she landed. He's brilliant, just not terribly cooperative.
Monday, July 28, 2008
After a grueling fourteen hour drive to Maine in rain that was also driving, Pappy was more than thrilled to arrive on our vacation. He seemed to recall the house from last year, and immediately started tearing around the yard and the beach like it was all yesterday. He went down to the beach, ambled into the water and immediately took a leak, laying claim to the entire Atlantic Ocean and everything in it. As much as it embarasses me to say this, bow down all you beach-goers.
Thursday, July 17, 2008
I got word today that a friend's Chocolate Lab, Ellie, passed away after an unexpected illness. When Ellie and Pappy got together, they were like ball-obsessed, pizzle-chewing bookends-- if you could find bookends that didn't look remotely similar. And this sad news comes just after hearing that our oldest dog park pal, Jojo, has been diagnosed with lung cancer.
We bring dogs into our families knowing that we're likely to see them race through their too-short lives, but still we're never quite prepared for the reality. Hold your dogs tight tonight. I know I will.
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
It's funny to watch owners at the dog park regarding the wading pool. There are the owners like me who are resigned that their active dogs need a cooldown to keep going in the heat. Then there are the poor schmucks with their beautifully groomed or thick coated dogs who are dying to dump the water out of the pool to keep from having to deal with ruined car seat covers and pets that end up looking like... well... Pappy. Rather than incur the approbation of the rest of us, they spend their whole visit to the dog park policing the pool and yelling at their dogs to get away.
And the wading pool is disgusting. Inevitably some owner starts his visit by dumping out all the muddy water and refilling it with fresh clean water. That lasts for about five minutes. Making the water all the more disgusting are dogs like Jack. On Sunday, Jack started his visit by racing over to the wading pool and arcing a stream of pee into it so that he can pwn all dogs who follow. Somebody refilled the pool, and a few minutes later Jack ambled by, lapped a sip of water out of it, and then re-peeded his previous effort-- I caught a shot of him as he was revving up to the big event. I don't mind. Pappy is pretty filthy all the time, and my philosophy is that he deposits more dirt than he takes with him.
Sunday, July 13, 2008
I'm getting old and I don't love visiting the doctor. My inclination is to ignore aches and pains as long as they seem like they might be getting better or at least aren't getting worse. Then I noticed a swelling on my Achilles Tendon last weekend, and that triggered my other response-- total hypochondria. I was suddenly convinced they would have to amputate my lower leg. On Tuesday the Doc pronounced sentence: "Achilles Tendonosis; no running for three to six months." Then he asked me questions about my routes because he wanted to start running along the Potomac, the $%*#tard.
I'm not totally bummed, because I had lost a lot of discipline over the past couple of years. I've been eating poorly and forgoing other exercise using the excuse "yes, but I run." So now I have to start exploring other activities-- the Doc has approved biking and walking.
So this weekend I came up with a great idea. My wife could drop me off at the dog park with Pappy, and then leave us to walk home. Seven and a half miles down Sligo Creek Trail after Pappy finishes with his ball chasing seemed like a good idea to me. Saturday it went very well. The weather was comfortable and Pappy seemed a happy camper the whole way home with occasional water stops. Today, Sunday, the same drill was fine up to the last two miles. My wife had walked out from the house to meet us, and Pappy was taking longer and longer breaks in the shade to examine some bit of greenery a little more closely. Finally I had to break out the ultimate incentive; I bounced his ball a few times to get his juices flowing, and hosed him down with ice water from my Camelback. Now we're home and he's happily vegging next to the air conditioning vent-- bliss.
Labels: dog parks
Saturday, July 05, 2008
One of the lessons I learned from the Charles Atlas ads in comic books is that skinny pukes get pushed around. This is a sad fact that Pappy has discovered over the years. While they were closer in size when Pappy first met Jack at the dog park, Jack now has a solid 30 pound advantage on the Papster. These days when they wrangle Pappy starts with a lot of lunging and juking around in flashing terrier style, but eventually Jack just steamrolls him. Then Pappy tends to focus on ball fetching instead.
But over the past couple of weekends a dog has been coming to the park who has revived Pappy's passion for wrestling. This dog is the very image of Jack as a puppy, and is oft referred to as Jack's Mini-Me. Pappy can't restrain himself from knocking this pup down over and over again, and the pup keeps coming back for more. I have the sense that Pappy's getting a little payback.