After dodging the bullet several times thus far this winter our area of NY was finally hit with snowstorms, one last week and the latest one that turned into a true Nor’Easter.
Needless to say our pooches haven’t had to deal with the depth of snow we are now experiencing. When the snow first started to fall last week they enjoyed romping in the fresh fallen snow. As time went on they began to tolerate having snow and even started finding “poopsicles” which further amplified their enjoyment of the snow.
But yesterday’s snowstorm (the Nor’Easter) seems to have already dampened their spirits. First of all, there was no walk yesterday, the snow was too deep so we took them only as far as to the mailbox (we sit 200 ft back from the road). Then to add insult to injury, there was a 2nd round of snow overnight.
Morning of 02/14/2014
So we have about 20 inches of fresh snow on tap of the 6 inches which remained from last week. Their “dog-a-trail” (the path we shovel for them in the yard so they can do their business) hasn’t been completed shoveled since the new snowfall and they seem confused as to why they have to squat and have the snow touch their butts. Since all 3 were desperate they have resorted to “pottying” in the path since there is no other choice.
Fiona on the “dog-a-trail”
At the end of the “dog-a-trail”
Giving up and squatting cuz there was just no more “holding it”
There is a light at the end of the tunnel (sort of)…temperatures are supposed to rise over the next week but only after we have another snow event go through tonight. Who knows, if the temps rise fast and/or we have rain, the dogs may have to learn to swim!
As Fiona has gotten older she has become more sensitive to sounds…thunderstorms, high winds and the house creaking, settling.
With this recent cold snap (very recent as of last night) she is beside herself. Despite the walls of our house being concrete blocks our inner walls, ceilings and roof are wood. A couple of years ago during a cold snap we noticed Fiona would get agitated as the house contracted in the cold. However, last night was the triple whammy-the high winds, the house contracting from the cold & the CO detector went off-….for some unknown reason after I went to bed (she followed me into the bedroom) the CO detector in there went off, levels were fine but we wondered if the high winds were forcing gases back down the chimney since it only went off once. But that started it, Fiona freaked out at the high piercing sound. Fred told me she then started pacing. He tried taking her out but she ran from him as if trying to get away from the noise of the wind. Then as the temperatures plummeted the house started to creak (loud popping noises actually.) When he came to bed Fred mentioned Fiona had been shaking and going to her safe places for the past 4 hours (in the bathtub, in the corner of the living room behind the furniture).
I got up and gave her a Benadryl which seemed to help, then invited her up onto the bed with us where she laid getting her belly rubbed for awhile. When my alarm went off she followed me into the kitchen and is currently under the computer desk because (you guessed it) the roof creaked again. I feel like a mother with a sick baby, don’t know what to do to soothe her and keep trying different tactics without only temporary success. On top of it all I have an evening class to teach today so I won’t be home until early evening leaving Fred to have to deal with Fiona’s anxiety (and we all know “dads” just don’t’ have the same level of compassion at times as “moms”). I have instructed him under NO conditions is Fiona to be let out loose (as we normally do) because I am concerned she will run in an attempt to flee the “big bad house.” I can only hope this cold snap won’t be as long-lived as predicted but I think that hope is in vain.
Fiona in warmer weather!
The “bed of honor”
With 3 dogs needless to say we have several dog beds around the house; 2 in the kitchen with a crate that Gypsy feels belongs to her exclusively, 2 in the living room in addition to the couch which Phoenix feels is his while Gypsy sleeps under the dining room table (we have an open floor plan and the dining room is just off the living room forming an “L”) as well as 3 dog beds in the bedroom. Gypsy and Phoenix like to sleep under the bed while Fiona likes to sleep on our bed (one side or the other OR across the foot of the bed warming both sides for our feet).
Despite all the available places to sleep there is always a competition to see who can claim the bed between Fred’s chair and mine in the living room. Fiona thinks this is her place, Gypsy thinks she should have priority and occasionally Phoenix gets in the act to claim the spot too.
Last evening I had to chuckle to myself as Gypsy was laying on the bed, Fiona then faked her out acting like she wanted out, when Gypsy got up Fiona doubled back so she could lay down on the dog bed. Later Phoenix got off the couch to get a drink of water, Fiona followed him into the kitchen AND he doubled back to claim the “bed of honor”. We don’t know what the attraction of this dog bed is but it sure is the place to be in our dogs opinion.
So, I was traveling for work earlier this week (YES, I FINALLY GOT A JOB AFTER 8 MONTHS OF UNEMPLOYMENT!!!!!) which meant Fred was home alone with the dogs.
Normally Phoenix will lay on the couch, the floor or a dog bed but Saturday evening while I was sitting on the LaZ-Boy he came over to me and started nudging my knee. Since the dogs had just finished dinner I presumed Phoenix was trying to tell me he needed to go out. So Fred took all 3 dogs out, Fiona went into the brush between our house and the neighbors, Gypsy wanted to walk further back on the property (now that we are down to 4 inches of snow from the 12 inches we had on Tuesday, spring-like temperatures on Saturday—the winter solstice—and again today, Sunday) and Phoenix just stood on the step of the porch. A bit later I got up to go to the bedroom to change into my lounging PJs; when I came back the LaZ-Boy was occupied! Phoenix had climbed up and made himself comfortable, head on the armrest, legs tucked under him and eyes starting to droop closed as he started to doze off to sleep. Apparently he didn’t want outside but wanted me to get up so he could sleep on the chair. I chuckled and Fred came back to the livingroom wondering what was so comical, told him he had to see it to understand. When Fred looked Phoenix opened his eyes and wagged his tail. In my absence Phoenix decided he would sit where I normally do and wasn’t ready to relinquish the chair back to me.
Fiona, on the other hand, missed me as well. BUT Fiona will “share” the chair with me, meaning she likes to lay on my legs while I sit in the chair—her lap time. Friday evening she was on my lap for the majority of the evening, same thing Saturday morning which is not normal. Usually she will climb up for a short period then decide it’s time to lay on her dog bed—not this weekend, she was into some SERIOUS lap time.
You may wonder what Gypsy did; well, she just wanted belly rubs and for me to pay constant attention to her when I first got home. She did do some snuggling when I went to bed on Friday because, you know, she is our “snuggle puppy.“
While doing dishes last night my mind wandered and I recalled an incident with Fiona and a skunk which happened early in 2013.
I put Fiona and Gypsy out while I got breakfast ready then went to bring them in after I put their dishes down. Gypsy came right in but Fiona, well Fiona was busy with an animal that came to visit. First, out of the corner of my eye I saw a black nose. Hmmm, one of the cats in the neighborhood must be visiting, strange that neither Fiona nor Gypsy made a big deal about this by barking I thought to myself. Upon looking closer I thought I didn’t recall seeing a black and white cat around the neighborhood, certainly not one with white down its back. WAIT A MINUTE!!!! WHITE DOWN ITS BACK—THAT IS NOT A CAT!!!!! There was no telltale odor from a skunk. Image my panic seeing Fiona nose to nose with a skunk! Trying to stay calm so the skunk wasn’t frightened I started to call Fiona to the door, very quietly. She looked at my like “but I’m making a friend here” and proceeded to go around to the skunk’s rear end to sniff. OH LORD, DEAR JESUS NO! DON’T LET IT HAPPEN!!!! goes through my mind. The skunk just stood there and let Fiona sniff at it. FINALLY I was able to coax Fiona back into the house BUT the skunk followed her up to the step. Calmly I let Fiona in and closed the backdoor.
I still don’t know how it happened that there wasn’t any spraying of anyone by the skunk which I dubbed “Flower” (like the one in Bambi). All I can say is I was relieved and glad that Fiona had made a friend instead of an enemy. I am also amazed that Gypsy didn’t incite any adverse reaction from the skunk either. We haven’t seen Flower since then (at least not to my knowledge unless Flower visits without my knowledge). All I know is we make sure we have the makings for the de-skunking solution on hand “just in case”.
We walk daily, 1-2 miles depending on which direction we turn at the road. Yesterday was a 2 mile walk, we didn’t think it would be that long but the weather (temperature and wind) were favorable to a nice stroll so rather than turn around after 1/2 mile we continued down the road. Not that we were given much of a choice, when we reached the spot that we thought we would turn around the dogs kept going straight. When we stopped and said “time to turn around” no one paid any attention, Fiona looked up at both of us and whined a little so we relented and kept going. A couple of houses down the road one of their dogs ran out to the road and barked at us, we had seen this golden before just never saw her run (she is missing her front “passenger side” leg). She stayed on her property and once we passed she turned around and went back to the house. On our return trip past the same house we heard a bark, this time it was the black lab that resides there. He made a bit of a fuss (his owner was outside with him, I think he was making a show for the owner’s benefit.) Phoenix wanted to cross the street and say “hi” but I think he wanted to say hi to the owner not the dog. One thing you need to know if Phoenix thinks he is the welcoming committee for the neighborhood; he feels he needs to meet any and everyone he sees on our walks. Being part hound, Phoenix also bays, not just barks. He has started baying at other pooches he sees walking when we are out for our exercise, then he keeps looking back over his shoulder at them until they are out of his line of sight.
As if seeing the neighbor dogs wasn’t enough, when we got home the chickens were over visiting. Luckily we have learned to listen for the rooster to determine where he is from where we hear the crowing so nobody was let off their leash although Gypsy would have LOVED to get and give some exercise by chasing them. Once again it is sunny out today and the forecast is for fairly mild temperatures, needless to say the chickens are out of their coop and this means the pooches will be happy because they get to watch them again.
Just short postscript to the chickens being out today, Gypsy wanted out (it’s been a while so I thought she might need to “pottie”. She ran up the back hill into the woods, not thinking anything of it (she chases squirrels up trees) until I saw chickens start running back toward their own yard. Don’t worry, she was a VERY good girl and came back when I called rather than chase after the chickens.
I wondered why suddenly all 3 dogs wanted out. Luckily we now do a quick check of the yard before letting Fiona and Gypsy out loose because we are having a “chickenpalooza” day, perhaps one of the last of the year since once the snow flies I don’t think they will be able to make it over to our yard.
Anyway, it isn’t easy to see the chickens now that the leaves are down when they are in the woods but boy can the pooches see them.
Gypsy was staring at something in the yard so I followed her line of sight and there they were, in the woods, just behind the garden plot. Once out Phoenix spotted them and it didn’t take long for Fiona to see them either. The 3 of them watched as the birds made their way to the compost pile, did some scratching then worked their way back toward their own yard so everybody came in. Just a few minutes later there was clucking on the side of the house so Gypsy ran over to the side window to jump up and look out because now the chickens were near our cars under the lilac bush, coming up to the outside water bowl (we’re nice neighbors, it is so convenient for them that there is a water bowl they can drink from) before going back into the yard to scratch for bugs. Really, it is sort of fun having the chickens come over to visit/look for bugs. The dogs LOVE to watch them and they haven’t had many ticks/fleas this year because of the chickens. Over this summer the chickens have been over so often all we have to do is say “Palooza” and Phoenix comes from where ever he is to look.
Well, now there is clucking in front of the house so let “Chickenpalooza” continue!