Monday, March 31, 2008

A Den With a View

Providing shelters that are wind and water resistant is a continuing struggle, especially since much of my land is on a slope. For Millie I used an old stump, and tarped around it. This made a small shelter that Millie loves. It's open on both sides so she can see down toward the woods or check out someone sneaking up on her to take pictures.

These pictures were taken in the middle of a hail storm. We are all grateful that I got my shelters back up and running last month!

Saturday, March 29, 2008

When You're Small...

What do you do if you are very small and it's cold and wet and you hate being wet?

You hang out in the dog shelter. It's dry, and with any luck the dogs will have missed some tasty food items. If you are very lucky a warm dog will be in there, and you can snuggle up.

Friday, March 28, 2008

It's ... Spring?

It's unusual to have snow in late March in the Pacific Northwest lowlands. This year the weather has been cold and occasionally snowy since the first day of spring. Today it outdid itself. It has snowed, hailed, snowed, hailed, snowed, rained, snowed.

Jesse, napping on the snow-covered pillow, recovering from some serious digging for moles.

Ursa keeping dry in her shelter. Notice the chickens taking refuge in Jesse's crate. Charlie keeps watch in the background.

The geese are the only birds not disgusted by the weather. Geese seem impervious to weather.

I'm hoping for some warm sunshine tomorrow!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Nunnery Protector

Another dog sighting from my correspondent in Greece:

I found this particular Big White Dog at a nunnery high in the Koziakas mountains (Vitouna Convent) where we went to scout some rocks.

The nuns are not very tall, and the dog is very big, but they seem to get on quite well.

The place is so beautiful, I'd have no problem becoming a nun and merging into the setting in my old age.

- Annie

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Hannah Talks

Hannah never ceases to amaze me. Border Collies are active, intelligent dogs who need a job. Hannah came from the local shelter with a torn cruciate ligament. A year after that was fixed she broke her pelvis. No herding, agility, or other active sports for this BC!

Border Collies need jobs. So Hannah invents jobs for herself. She is my Door Dog, letting me know whenever another dog is thinking of wanting in or wanting out. It is her job to predict what I will do next, where I will go, and to precede me.

Hannah is a very vocal dog, something she learned from Jesse the Samoyed. Samoyeds woo-woo and talk prettily, which is encouraged because their barks tend to be sharp and penetrating. So Hannah does what Jesse gets praised for. Her voice is nowhere near as pleasant, and I have to admit to spending much time trying to get her to be quiet.

Lately I noticed she has a special bark for going outside. Completely different from her other barks and vocalizations. This morning I realize what it is. She is saying "Out". Her bark has been shaped into the English word. Today she got it clear enough that even I could tell exactly what she was saying. Out. She only uses it at the back door, when she wants Out. 

At a time when I am learning to communicate telepathically with animals, my BC is learning to speak English. We all have our jobs to do.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

May I Help You?

Six months ago Alex the African Grey died unexpectedly. This morning I discovered a site about a Arielle, a macaw who speaks English fluently.

This made me think of Santi, who has been my friend longer than most humans. A Greater Sulpher Crested Cockatoo, Santi is a force of nature. He came to me while still a chick, and now lives with my mother. He has always communicated freely with humans, dogs, and other birds. One of my favorite stories is from when he was living with me in Seattle.

Santi loves being outside. He was in a large camillia tree next to my porch, and I was sitting on the steps reading. It was a sunny day, and the street was quiet. The phone rang. I ducked inside, grabbed the phone, and came back out. Santi was gone.

During the two minutes I was out of sight Santi climbed down the tree and walked across the road to visit the neighbor working under his car. He sauntered quietly up, crest raised, until he was next to the neighbor, his beak by the man's ear. Then he said "Hi! What'cha doin'?"

When I got down the stairs I saw a young man standing next to his vehicle holding Santi on one arm and rubbing his head with the other. They were still in conversation. There was a group of people around them. Santi was delighted to make new friends. He knew more people on the street than I did.

Every one on the street knew that story by the end of the day.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Berna the Protector

Berna was 5 months old when I got her. From the moment of her arrival she adored Ursa, the now 13 year old Caucasian Ovtcharka. I worried that as Berna grew up this would change, as Ursa is and always shall be top dog. Berna is now 3, and still thinks Ursa is the coolest thing ever. Here she has placed herself between Ursa and the other dogs, so Ursa can gnaw her bone in peace. Instead of challenging the old girl Berna protects her.