Ziggy, JRT NBK

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??????????I love nature, I do. I live in a place that’s pure suburbia, but surrounded by woods. We have all sorts of regular wildlife making our yard, and the surrounding environs, home. Squirrels, racoons, rabbits, deer are all regulars. I had a coyote stop by my yard a few weeks ago. (That was a bit of a shocker since it was 10 in the morning, but s/he was a gorgeous thing, and the dogs were in the house so I simply admired it from 20 feet away.) We also have more varieties of birds than I can count. They love to nest in our trees, use our bird bath and, in the case of the hummingbirds, wage constant war over my flowers.

The trouble is, I have two terriers. NBKs. Natural Born Killers. Complicating matters is that bird-brain is a saying borne out of reality. Chickadees, in particular, seem…well, let’s just say they won’t be wining the Nobel Prize for science any time in the next million years. For whatever reason, these birds love to build nests where they shouldn’t. In my flower pots (where their eggs are soaked with cold water every other day even though I try to avoid watering the nest), in low azalea bushes and, this year…

I ask you, is this the face of a murderer?Zig computer

I saw the birds coming and going, foolishly hoped they weren’t really building a nest on the ground. Newp. The baby birds must have hatched today, because for more than a week, Ziggy has trotted right by the activity without twitching a nostril. But today, like a cartoon terrier stopping in its tracks, body all a-quiver, he stuck his nose right in the groundcover and hauled out the nest, spilling baby birds as he ran. Before I could stop him, one was…shall we say, unrecognizable when he spit it out. The other two were face down on the grass. Ziggy wasn’t eager to surrender his prize but I managed to cover the (possibly alive) hatchlings with the lid of my hose container and get him into the house. By the time I got back to check on the stranded ones…OH, NATURE! YOU CRUEL MISTRESS!

Of course, Ziggy was acting in his nature, too. I don’t fault him, I just wish he wasn’t presented with the opportunity. Every. Single. Summer. It leaves me nauseous every time.

Okay…so maybe he’s…sort of…SQUIRREL!

Ziggy Tree Climber cropped

Sorry Chickadees.

 

 

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In Loving Memory of Two Good Dogs

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Duke

On Monday, my sister-in-law’s dog, Duke, passed away. He’d been ill for a short while, and when the diagnosis came last week, it was the worst news. Advanced cancer. He wasn’t quite ready to go–he still menaced the rabbits in the yard, and brought Karen his tennis ball, still wanted to go on walks, albeit slower ones. But he couldn’t eat, and the day came when the tennis ball was ignored and the painful decision had to be made.

My heart aches for my sister- and brother-in-law, and for my nephews, who’ve lost a loyal and loving family member.

Woody

Woody

Their loss also brought back vivid and visceral memories of our first Jack Russell Terrier, Woody, the first dog I ever owned. We picked him out as a puppy when our son was 2, because, I rationalized, a boy needs a dog. But the boy didn’t get the dog. I did. Woody came with me everywhere. He was my shadow. He cuddled the boys because he knew they were special to me, and sat curled in the triangle I’d make of my legs every time I relaxed on the sofa. On leash-less walks he never wandered more than a few paces from my side, always in view—his view. Because, while I thought I owned him, he thought he owned me. He trained me up just right.

He got very suddenly ill, sepsis set in and within 24 hours of first recognizing he was sick, he was gone. But thankfully I was there at the end. I’d been working at my kids’ school, so I missed the first call, when his lungs failed and his heart stopped, but the emergency vet, angel that she was, kept him on life support and kept calling, so I could say goodbye. I petted him and told him I loved him. I wanted to be sure the last words he heard from me were ones I knew he’d understand:

You’ve been a good dog, Woody.

And you were a good dog, too, Dukie. May you both be chasing rabbits and squirrels to your heart’s content, and if, perchance, we  see you once again, you can be sure we’ll have treats in hand and a loving caress for our loyal companions.

Duke, d. April 27, 2014

Woody, d. June 7, 2005

 

THE DREADED PROLOGUE

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If you know anything about terriers, and Parson (or Jack) Russell Terriers in particular, you’ll know that they have very little sense of boundary. I love watching PRT races. The dogs bolt out of their starting gates and from there, all bets are off. They cross all five lanes, swerve, spin, stop in front of the other dogs, and sometimes run so hard they flip clean over. I think this is why I love the breed…I can relate.

Photo by Steve-65 via Wikimedia Comons

Photo by Steve-65 via Wikimedia Comons

I’m getting back to my first passion–writing. I had to abandon it for a while because, like the PRT, I’m contrary: I’m both hyper-focused and easily distracted. Now that my kids are off doing their thing, it’s time to return to writing and all that comes with it. Lucky for me that includes lots of stuff that will, hopefully, bump me out of my lane once in a while. If you’re here, I hope you won’t mind the occasional veer and maybe even a loop-de-loop now and again.