Over the weekend our valley filled with smoke from regional wildfires. Nevertheless, the dogs and I walked twice a day, and sometimes I carried the camera. The pictures here were taken Sunday, Aug. 23.
Mike left early Friday (Aug. 21) to attend the memorial service for his mother in Camden, Arkansas. He met sons Murray and Yancey at the Little Rock airport and they drove from there to Camden.
But – that isn’t my story. I stayed behind to take care of the dogs. And no one knows better than Bess and Nellie that I’m really not a dog disciplinarian. With a few whimpers, a push of the snout, or a soulful look, I can be had. We walked twice a day. We ate more than that. And I became adept at eating out of many dishes so that both dogs got a fair share of the lickings.
Walking the dogs has practically become a two-person event because Nellie lags behind while Bess is up ahead. It may surprise you to know that I am the fast walker and keep Bess in sight while Mike walks more slowly behind with Nellie. Especially on the return, Nellie slows way down, but we notice that if we put a leash on her, she steps right along.
Well, the other day as we were on the return side of our walk, Bess spied a jogger with dog up ahead and she was there! She took off running, and I whistled for her – an exercise in futility. After she and the stranger greeted, she continued running on down the road instead of coming back to me. Whistling was useless. As I continued at Nellie's moderate pace, I couldn’t imagine what was going through Bess’ dog mind to make her run like that, but then it occurred to me that we seldom blow the whistle during our walks. We whistle for her at the back door. I realized that the whistle drew a mind-picture of the house and that was likely where I would find her. Sure enough! When I got home, there she was. “Why did you want me to come here,” she seemed to ask. I commended her for coming home. I mean – what can you do?
That wasn’t as upsetting as what happened with Nellie. She and Bess went out Friday night after supper. Bess came back; Nellie didn’t. I assumed she would be right along and didn’t worry. Some minutes later, the phone rang. “Do you have a white shorthair,” the caller asked. “She’s in my back yard.” The man was really a neighbor located across the field from us, but in order to expedite matters, I drove there. As he escorted Nellie through the gate of his fenced yard, she took took off running across the street and into another back yard. From there she disappeared. I realized she was upset and just didn’t recognize me. I drove back home, got the leash, and headed out on foot. As luck would have it I found her half a block away and had no trouble getting her home. I should have kenneled her at that point, but I didn’t have the heart.
Then we had another adventure Sunday morning. As usual, Bess was a bit ahead while Nellie lagged behind. Lagging is one thing, but she wasn’t coming at all, so I turned back to “encourage” her. I saw her struggling somewhat in the middle of a weed patch, so I approached her to see what the trouble was. She was in a patch of puncture weeds. She would try to chew them out, but when she put her foot back down, she just picked up more. I had no choice but to pick her up and carry her out of that area. She hates to be carried, but it had to be done, and I was grateful I could do it. Once I cleared her feet of the puncture weeds, I discovered the soles of my shoes were just a solid mass of them.