Sunday, May 30, 2010

Sheyenne River Valley

The girls and I went camping for Memorial Day weekend at Fort Ransom State Park in North Dakota. It's a quiet, peaceful place nestled in the Sheyenne River Valley, which is quite pretty. We hit a weekend of record-setting heat though (97 degrees yesterday!) so came home a day early. I turned on the air conditioner and all three of us crashed!  
Fortunately, the air was dry so it cooled down at night which made the evenings quite pleasant and comfortable for sleeping. Early mornings were lovely as well, and we did a little exploring. We even saw a bald eagle - a rare treat. The entire area is a bird sanctuary, and I enjoying the chorus of brown thrashers, western meadowlarks and morning doves as I awoke each morning.

The girls enjoy camping and love to sleep in the tent, but the first night we were there Dee Dee was clearly frightened of something and wouldn't get out of the car. At first it seemed to be the tent, as she wouldn't walk in that direction, even to get her supper. But when I carried her to the tent, she eagerly went inside. The only thing between the car and the tent was the firepit and a lawn chair, and to my knowledge, she's never had a bad experience with either of those before. Oh, to get inside her little head sometimes! I never figured it out, but after that first night, she was fine.

North Dakota doesn't have mountains, canyons or coastline, but there are some hidden treasures waiting to be explored, and you don't have to contend with crowds. The Sheyenne River Valley is one of them.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Selective Hearing and Slow-beying

Mothers Day has come and gone, and I got my free sundae from our local Dairy Queen which offers dog-dish treats and recognizes dog-mamas.  Taking my girls to the park, breaking up squabbles, comforting them during a thunderstorm are just a few of the things that make me a 'real Mom'.    A few years ago we had some friends from out of town spend the night.   They were intrigued - and quite amused - as they observed me interacting with the girls throughout the evening, particularly when the neighbor dog showed up on our doorstep wanting Princess and Dee Dee to come out and play.  Later on, when Dee Dee started getting out of sorts, I told her to go to her kennel.  My friends exclaimed,  "They're just like a couple of kids!" 

Yes, they are like a couple of kids - in many ways.  Just like kids, they have selective hearing and often slow-bey when I tell them to do something they don't really want to do.   That's especially true of Princess.   If she's outside and I tell her to 'come', she will walk verrrry slowly towards me, stopping to sniff every blade of grass and go potty several times along the way.    She reminds me of a toddler who comes up with reasons why they shouldn’t go to bed yet and then – once in bed – needs several drinks of water followed by a couple more bathroom visits.  Anything to delay the dreaded bedtime!

A few days ago the girls were playing in the back yard when I went in the house for something.   I came back a few minutes later and called them.   Dee Dee came running, but Princess was no where in sight.   I stood on the back deck and called her name over and over.   Nothing.   The thought crossed my mind, 'Well she is getting pretty old.  She probably can't hear me - poor girl.'    Just as I turned to go back inside and grab my keys to go look for her, I happened to glance down.    This is what I saw.     She was hiding under the steps, obviously hoping I wouldn't blow her cover.  I gave her a little poke in her furry 'behind', and she made a mad dash to the house as if to say, "I'm coming!  I'm coming!"  

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Bedtime Routine

Dogs love routine, and so do I.  That makes us particularly well suited for each other.  But I do laugh at how little it takes to create a routine with dogs.   Do it twice, and it's a routine.   That's assuming it's something they like, of course.   Like a bedtime snack.  I often have a glass of skim milk before I go to bed, and one night, a few years ago, I gave the girls some too.   I'm sure it wasn't more than 1/3 of a cup.   They liked it.  So (and this was my mistake) the following night I did the same.   The next night I was brushing my teeth and noticed that they were both out in the kitchen, quietly waiting by their bowls.   I decided to ignore them, but they didn't move.    They weren't barking or whining or anything, but they were persistent and I finally caved and gave them some milk.  Wellllll .... that sealed the routine, and now they expect (and get) their drink of milk every night.

But then came the night when Princess wasn't feeling well.   I can't remember what had happened, but she was limping for some reason and had crawled into her bed early.   Dee Dee, however, waited by her bowl as usual.   So I poured a little in her bowl, and - not wanting to show favoritism - poured a little in Princess' bowl too.    I could see her out of the corner of my eye, and she was in a dilemma.   She wanted her milk, but she didn't want to get out of bed.   So ... (now, please don't think I spoil my girls when I say this) .... I brought her milk to her.    The next night she still was having some pain, so I brought the milk to her again.   And ... you guessed it ... we had a new routine!     Dee Dee gets her bedtime drink of milk in her bowl in the kitchen, while Princess gets her milk in bed - brought to her by me.    Last night, just for fun, I decided to put her milk down next to Dee Dee's and see if she'd come get it.   I peaked around the corner and there she was, in bed, with her head arched way up - towards the kitchen - waiting for her milk to be delivered.   And of course it was.    Sigh.  I do wonder sometimes who the alpha member of the family is.   I'm pretty sure it's not me.