Sunday, February 12, 2006

about dogs

Mmmnnn! Interesting smells!

Ooooh, yum,yum,yum!

We have just enjoyed two spendid days of sunshine yesterday and today. In sheltered spots where a hillside is exposed to the warmest sun for most of the day, the snow has become soft and mushy. In the tracks left by the loggers, dirt is showing and you can see the water running underneath.

In my walks, I notice that where I struggled through huge drifts of snow last winter, I'm walking on relatively firm footing this winter. Where water tends to run off, on creeks or on rivers, the ice cannot be trusted at all. Even standing water has ice that is very thin.

The dogs have their own ideas of what is fun on our walks. They run off into the woods, not following my linear route at all, nose down, huffing in the scents. Misty's tail is always up like a little white flag: here I am! Molly's enthusiasm ebbs and flows with the likelihood of food. Her stamina peters out near the end of our walks and she tends to stick closer to me, unless Misty raises a really excited cry, or Molly notices Misty is intently following a scent at that specia,l very attentive, brisk pace, which means: this is hot, this is really, really hot!

Tasha tends to keep her eye on me, constantly herding the other two, which they try to sidestep when coming back to see how I'm getting on. Tasha keeps an eye on the comings and goings of the other two, crouches down to wait for them to pass, then rushes forward to nip them about the ears and face. They don't like it much and once in a while some growling takes place, but most of the time, they wait her out, (will you quit or will you piss me off?) or dodge around her (forget about your nipping game, I'm too busy right now.) (I notice the dogs communicate very well with body-language.)

Tasha is the only one of the three who consistently rolls around in the snow, rubbing the whole length of her body in it. Is she smelling something in the snow and wants it on herself, or is she leaving her scent there as a message for the next creature who comes along: I was here? Sometimes when Misty sets up the excited yipping, Tasha will get swept up in the enthusiasm and low to the ground, dash off to check it out.

Right now, there is a mysterious attraction about the barn, up in the loft. Misty and Molly return to it again and again. From afar, Misty senses something and she's off, dashing into the barn, yipping and yipping, sometimes almost whining with expectancy. Of course, Molly rushes in, ever hopeful. While Misty gives up after a while and runs out to catch up with me on my walk, it takes Molly a little longer. She seems to take her time more, enjoying the sensory exploration (mostly smell, I think) of whatever it was that attracted Misty's attention. Meanwhile, the coons, or whatever it was, have safely climbed up the timbers in the barn, well out of reach. I will be able to hear Molly snuffling, and snuffling and snuffling, for a long time, after Misty has left the barn and is running around in circles outside.


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