29 October 2008

And You're Supposed To Be The Smart One

This morning it was cold. Very cold. Snowy cold. Boss Lady was up fairly early and decided we needed to make a morning trip to the grocery store for some cupcake supplies. (Too bad the stupid grocery store didn't have all the necessary cupcake supplies.) She warned me that it was cold out. She put on her warm fleece jacket. She explained that she had to be toasty warm before going out in the snowy cold. She put on her warm felted wool hat. She told me not to blame her if my toes got cold. She looked around for her gloves. She reminded me one more time just how winterish the temps were. Then she slipped on a pair of purple crocs. These are non-fleecy lined, very full of holes, great for the swimming hole crocs. And she warned me about the cold toes.

28 October 2008

Um, I Think You Forgot Something

Last night, directly after her supper, Boss Lady randomly decided to hop in the car and drive to Rutland. She kindly invited me along. She told me it was just a ride, no adventures involved. We sped over the bypass and pulled into Michael’s. Boss Lady got out of the car and went inside. She told me she’d be “right back.” Unlike the last time we were in this scenario, she actually exited the building fairly quickly. Apparently, the purpose of the trip was to rescue her assistant manager, who had managed to lock his keys in the office. On the drive home she skipped the bypass route and instead followed a couple of the lower, town roads which led us to a nice view of the lit up city in the dark. Then we were home.

Um, I think you forgot an important aspect of this trip. Where’s my Ben&Jerry’s Ice Cream Cone?

25 October 2008

The End of a Friendship

Last night while Boss Lady was busy interwebbing in the toasty warm living room, I was busy attempting to stave off the boredom that has crept upon me whilst Boss Lady was busy having fun without me (see: Trip to Burlington that Did Not Involve A Dog.) In other words, I was chewing. Consistent with my recently earned title of Very Good Boy, I was chewing on one of my specifically designated toys, Spinner, rather than the yummy looking coffee table. Now, I’m not sure I’ve formally introduced Spinner.

Spinner meet Loyal Readers. Loyal Readers meet Spinner.

Spinner has been with me for the better part of 4 years. Spinner is one of the few toys that I consistently enjoy without managing to actually destroy it or becoming dangerously possessive of it. Spinner is also one of the (very) few toys that can serve multiple purposes. Spinner’s primary roll is that of a chew toy. And a fine chew toy it is. However, due to it’s rubbery sproinginess, Spinner can also be called upon to perform heroically as a throw toy. Boss Lady can throw it for me to chase, or I can throw it at Boss Lady to demand her attention. In contrast, Mr. Green is only good for throwing. A Broken Mr. Green is good for popping, but popping can hardly be considered chewing. Mr. Green simply does not hold up to chewing. Bone, on the other hand, provides wonderful chewing, though he is sadly inequipped for throwing. Even the mere dropping of Bone raises worried cries from Boss Lady. Based on these unique qualities, Spinner and I have an unmatched relationship.

Sadly, Boss Lady has recently noticed that my constant and unflagging attention to Spinner is taking it’s toll on Spinner. You might have noticed that one end of Spinner looks distinctly destructed. Last night help, either.

So, there I was, contently stretched out across the living room floor, studiously gnawing on Spinner when I felt the need to pause and give Spinner some gentler attention. I started licking Spinner. Boss Lady noticed and wondered aloud exactly what was I doing. Why was I licking Spinner? No sooner had she posed the question, then I began gnawing even more fiercely than before. I was quite actively attempting to finish removing that destructed end so as to slide off all those spinning sections.

Boss Lady wondered aloud again. “Colyn, why are you working so hard to destroy Poor Spinner? What has he ever done to you to deserve such ferociousness? Nothing. That’s what he’s done to you. Absolutely Nothing. Quite the opposite, really. He’s been naught but a wonderfully loyal friend. He has stood by you for 4 years and all you do is destruct him. It really isn’t very nice. What are you going to do when you have finally succeeded in destructing Spinner? You know I haven’t been able to find a replacement Spinner for you.” Duly chastened, I set aside Spinner for a few moments. I think I might have to contemplate the best way to go about the ending of this fine friendship.

24 October 2008

We Should Do This More Often

Last Thursday evening Boss Lady came home from work and announced that she needed to remember to go out and gas up the car before morning. Boss Lady and Boss Lady’s Mother planned to go to Burlington Friday and they would need a full tank of gas in the morning. So, after she relaxed and had supper, Boss Lady decided to go fill up the gas tank. She thoughtfully invited me along.

I hopped in the car and enjoyed the ride to the gas station. I sat in the car looking out into the dark around me while she pumped the gas. There is always the possibility that a ride in the car will end with a fun adventure, but I was pretty sure there would be no adventure that evening. I was fully prepared for Boss Lady to turn around and go back home. Instead, she announced we were going to Ben&Jerry’s for ice cream. Or, rather, we would both be going, but only she would be getting the ice cream. I considered it somewhat rude of her to make such an announcement, but there wasn’t much I could do.

When we arrived at Ben&Jerry’s, she told me to wait in the car and she would be “right back.” I should really know better than the believe her when she says that. She went inside. I waited in the cold, dark car. And waited. And waited. Finally, after what seemed like forever, she exited Ben&Jerry’s with a half eaten ice cream cone. When I inquired as to the length of my wait, she informed me that she could hardly go into Ben&Jerry’s without visiting Annie’s Book Stop, which happens to share the building. As happens whenever she walks into a book store, she completely lost track of time and nearly forgot I was even waiting in the car. She apologized, but I just gave her a blank stare. Then I asked for some ice cream, but she told me no.

I anticipated she might have some trouble driving and eating ice cream, so I decided to enjoy the ride home with my head strategically placed on her left shoulder, my nose just inches from that ice cream cone. She didn’t seem to appreciate my closeness, but I didn’t care. She left me sitting all by myself in a cold, dark car while she enjoyed ice cream and books. I deserved a little ice cream.

During the ride home, she made quick work of the rest of the ice cream cone. And she didn’t let me help her. But, just before we pulled into the driveway, she reached over the back seat with the last little bit of the cone and offered it to me. Mmmmm. There were the last drips and dregs of double fudge chocolate ice cream. Yummy sugar cone goodness. MmmMmmm. It was good.

Last night when they returned from Burlington, I sidled up to Boss Lady and inquired as to whether she maybe needed to go gas up the car again. Wouldn’t want to run out of gas on the way to work Saturday, eh? And maybe a little side trip to Ben&Jerry’s was in order. Sadly, she replied that a quarter of a tank of gas would be plenty for her to get to work for several days. Besides, her new diet does not allow for too many Ben&Jerry’s ice cream cones.

20 October 2008

Colyn The Moose, VGB

Do I seem different to you today? Maybe I look different? You might call it a new and improved version of myself? You noticed? Why thank you. Thank you so much for those kind and polite words.

Yes, it is true. I, the lowly Moose, have been granted a title. Boss Lady has long dreamt of us being able to earn an Important Title. She’d be happy with a CGC, thrilled with an RN. Thus far, though, we’ve failed miserably. It’s not my fault, really. I mean, I can only do so much with what I am given. And the Boss Lady ain’t what you’d call Grade A Prime. But, I've forgiven her and we’ve moved forward with fewer dreams of strings of capital letters trailing my name.

The events that unfolded yesterday, though, rekindled Boss Lady’s hopes that someday we’ll work well enough together as a team to be recognized by those Big Important Dog People. You’re wondering what it was we did yesterday, aren’t you? I didn’t think it was really all that big a deal, to be honest.

We went for a hike. Not even a grand hike; we only went to Pine Hill Park. I’ll have you know I lobbied hard for Moosalamoo, and when it was obvious that wasn’t going to happen, I lobbied again for Shrew(WooHoo!)sbury. But, that didn’t happen either. Something about the great likelihood of a prevalence of gun-toting men in the woods. And, when it comes right down to it, if my options are around the block on a 6-foot leash or around the hill on a 20-foot leash you can bet I’m going to choose the latter. Pine Hill Park it was.

The Boss Lady and I haven’t visited Pine Hill Park in awhile. Last summer, and all through the winter, we spent quite a few weekends exploring Pine Hill Park. This summer, though, Boss Lady has been much more willing to explore points farther from home and less crowded. Pine Hill Park’s greatness has been much publicized of late and with the publicity have come more people and more dogs. Not all of whom are as well behaved as me. *cough cough* So, Boss Lady wasn’t exactly thrilled at the notion of hiking Pine Hill Park on what would most likely be one of the last beautiful Sunday afternoons of the year. She fully expected the place to be crawling with off leash dogs. But, when it comes right down to it, if the options are a place crawling with gun-toters or a place crawling with off-leash dogs, she’s gonna choose the latter option every time. Plus, there was the added bonus of the brand new suspension bridge completed just last weekend. She really wanted to see it.

So, we loaded up the backback and convinced Boss Lady’s Mother that hiking was a much more fun way to spend the afternoon than cleaning the gardens, and off we went. And just as she expected, there were lots of cars in the parking lot. We didn’t even get into the woods before we encountered other dogs. A couple with 2 dust mops pulled in directly behind us. As Boss Lady was unloading me, the couple parked right next to us (even though there were plenty of other spaces) and unloaded their dust mops. Boss Lady was somewhat concerned by the proximity of these other dogs, but I mostly paid no attention. We all approached the trailhead as a group, despite the fact that Boss Lady was moving as quickly as possible in an effort to put some distance between us. I moved along side her in near perfect heel paying no mind at all to those yapping dust collectors.

As soon as the trail split, Boss Lady took the trail less traveled. She knows it’s less traveled because we less often encounter other hikers on this trail than on the others. Just as we got out of sight of the trailhead (and those other dogs), a mountain biker came racing down the trail towards us. This, also, was expected by Boss Lady. The mountain bikers were just as likely to want to enjoy a last nice day as the hikers. Boss Lady quickly called me off the trail and down-stayed me. I don’t like bikes. Not when I’m running alongside, and not when they’re racing by me. They’re menacing monsters and I’m inclined to attack first and ask questions later. The biker approached quickly, slowed as it reached us, and then stopped to talk when it turned out the rider knew Boss Lady’s Mother. I, being the good boy that I am, mostly held my down-stay. I wriggled a little. And crawled a little. And whined a lot. But, I didn’t bark. Or lunge. Nor did I bark or lunge at the 2nd bike that flew by while we were talking to the first. Boss Lady was impressed and praised me highly.

We continued on and encountered 5 more bikers. For each and every biker I calmly down-stayed off the trail and patiently waited for the biker to pass. Not once did I bark, or lunge, or even seem more than acceptably curious about the bikes. Boss Lady didn’t have to squat down next to me to hold me in place. She didn’t have to get pulled flat on her face when I tried to eat the bike and she tried to restrain me. She didn’t have to tell Boss Lady’s Mother to stand between me and the trail to shield me from the bike. She just had to tell me to down-stay. Did I mention she was impressed?

It wasn't until the end of our hike that we encountered our first off-leash dog. The trail we were on came out at the pond, and somebody else was already there. That somebody else’s dog was off leash and not particularly interested in sharing the pond with me. It also wasn’t particularly interested in obeying it’s owners request for a recall. Fortunately, we were able to detour away from the pond, and the dog, without incident. And, while I wasn’t as nearly perfectly heeling as during my encounter with the dust mops in the parking lot, I was far from out of control. I even managed to give Boss Lady my attention several times. As soon as we were out of sight, and hearing of the other dog, I calmed right down and continued without worry. Boss Lady was impressed once again. Avoiding an off-leash dog is usually much more of a hassle and involves disjointed shoulders.

Just as a further test of my good-naturedness, we encountered 4 more hikers on our way down. At each encounter I happily heeled to Boss Lady and didn’t show any interest in bothering the hikers. Usually I really want to run over and say hi. Many hikers do not find the prospect of a 90 pound GSD running full speed ahead towards them pleasant. Many hikers do find the sight of a calmly heeling dog quite impressive. I’m proud to say, I was one of the impressive dogs yesterday.

When we finally made it back to the car, Boss Lady informed me that our hike had turned out to be one of the least stressful ever. She then told me I had officially earned a new title: Very Good Boy. You may feel free to address me with this new title at all times.

And, yes, we did find the suspension bridge.

19 October 2008

I Do Not Approve Of This

Yesterday was a wonderful day, weather wise. Bright, sunny, temps in the upper 40’s. Boss Lady even had the whole day off. We thought and thought about what to do for fun and decided there was no better way to enjoy the afternoon than by playing outside. Crunching through frosty, brightly coloured leaves. Reveling in the last bit of autumn glory still clinging to the trees. Celebrating the fact that we could run and play while wearing a sweatshirt and barely break a sweat. Yes, indeed, autumn is the best time of year.

And, while I have admit I did enjoy the afternoon, it might have been even better had we actually left the front yard. Because, you see, I was tied to the Boss Lady’s Mother’s flowering crab tree and Boss Lady was busy raking leaves. There were a lot of leaves in our front yard. We’ve got a sickly Maple tree, the afore mentioned Flowering Crab, and a couple Box Alders. They’re all naked at this point. While Boss Lady was busy raking, I was busy nosing about and enjoying the fresh air.

Enjoying it I was, up until Boss Lady lost me. There she was, just finishing up the last pile of leaves, when she realized she wasn’t sure where I was.

Colyn? Colyn, where are you?

Wait a minute, does that pile of leaves have ears?

Colyn! There you are, you Silly Boy.

If you think for one minute that I voluntarily climbed into that pile of leaves, then you’re smoking crack.

When Boss Lady was finished subjecting me to goofiness, she decided she’d better transport all those leaves down to the garden. Knowing from prior experience that the easiest way to accomplish such a task was piling everything onto a big tarp and dragging it, she set about finding the tarp in the cellar. Fortunately, it was surprisingly easy; our cellar is not exactly known for being well organized.

Whilst she was busy hunting up a tarp, I was busy getting bored. And Ted was busy being annoying. Downright obnoxious, really. I found it necessary to let him know exactly what I thought about his behavior.

At some point in the tarp finding process, Boss Lady thought it might be fun to put me to work. You know, make me earn my keep and all that. I’m a big strong dog, she thinks to herself, so why not have me help her pull the leaves down to the garden. I’ve got a harness, even if it isn’t a true pulling harness. And I’ve got plenty of energy. She’s pretty sure we’ve got a rope that will work. And, indeed, it turns out we have all those things. So, with no warning or consultation, I quickly found myself hitched up rather like an Ox.

That was the end of the easy part, though. I took one step hitched up to that mess and promptly decided I wasn’t interested in any of this pulling business.

A whole lot of popcorn and coaxing later, She’d convinced me all the way down to the garden. Boss Lady then dumped the leaves next to the compost pile, and *let* me drag the empty tarp back up to the front yard. We did this twice more and all I have to say about it is I think I should’ve gotten more popcorn. Really, who ever heard of a dog pulling a tarp full of leaves. I’m pretty sure this was not in my job description.

At least she rewarded me by playing tug.

And, as if it was necessary to further prove that these humans are a little crazy, they have allowed an asexual bum to take up residence on the front porch. I’ve been instructed not only to not bark at it, but to actually be friendly with it.

15 October 2008

Channeling Fred

Look, I’m not stupid. I know how this game is played. You take a bowl of food out of the fridge. You tilt it up and pour stuff out of it. There is a very good chance some of that stuff is going to end up on the floor. I’m just sitting here waiting for that very good chance. And, yes, it does increase that very good chance if I tilt my head the way you are tilting the bowl. No, it is not amusing to tilt the bowl as much as possible just to see how far I can tilt my head. I don’t know why this process confuses you so much.

07 October 2008

Do As I Say, Not As I Do

“You know, you can’t bring that stick home.” I’ve heard that a million times. Usually after I’ve discovered a branch that I insist on carrying while we’re hiking. Boss Lady is averse to the bringing home of sticks. She tried it one time, only because I carried the branch for about a mile. When she realized what a mess of splinters I made in the back of the car on the ride home, she immediately informed me I would never be allowed to bring home another stick.

“I’d really love to know what you’re thinking when you’re carrying that branch? Just what is it you plan to do with it?” That’s the standard follow up question after she tells me I can’t bring the stick home, no matter how far I carry it. I’ll let you in on a little secret: I’m not usually thinking about anything. I just like carrying sticks.

What I’d like to know, though, is why, if I’m not allowed to bring home sticks, Boss Lady’s Mother is. She’s got a nice “y” shaped birch branch that appeared in the front flower bed several days ago. I tried to steal it, and was quickly instructed not to touch it. Now, we don’t have any birch trees in our yard. And the neighbors don’t have any birch trees in their yards. So, the only way this branch could have reached that flower bed is if somebody brought it home. And if I’m not allowed to bring home sticks, then why is somebody else?

I’d also like to point out that Boss Lady’s Mother’s obsession doesn’t stop with sticks. For several years she has had a minor obsession with moss. She wants to cover a perfectly good chair with moss, and put it out in the yard. So, while we were hiking on Sunday, she harvested moss from a rock and a rotting tree. Then Boss Lady found a “nifty” tree skin. I didn’t know trees had skin, or that they could shed. I thought only snakes shed skin. But, we found birch bark that was in perfect tree shape even though all the tree had rotted out of it. Boss Lady insisted on carrying it home.

Boss Lady’s Mother is also obsessed with rocks. Several times during our Sunday hike, she noticed nice, flat river rocks that would be perfect stepping stones in her flower bed. She also noticed a few interestingly shaped stones. Boss Lady’s Mother particularly likes stones with unique shapes. So much so that she once snagged this stone on an outing.

But, I can't bring home a plain old branch?

03 October 2008

Fall In Vermont

It is now fall in Vermont. That time of year when the weather returns to comfortable temps, the trees dress up in their gaudiest clothes, and tourist season begins (we recommend a 12 gauge or a 50mm.) That time of year when the days get shorter, you harvest the last of the veggies from the garden, and everybody pulls the winter clothes out of the attic. The time of year when the cluster flies invade your home. They crawl through every crack, fly through any opening, and even hitch rides on the family pet. They’re gross. They’re obnoxious. And they multiply like rabbits.

The flies have been particularly bad at Boss Lady’s place of employment lately. They hover and attack in droves while she’s eating lunch. They buzz and annoy while she completes paperwork in the office. They drive her very near the edge of sanity. Boss Lady finally declared war on the flies, and she promised no quarter. Sarah Palin may shoot wolves from low flying planes for sport, but Boss Lady hunts flies with electrified tennis rackets for fun.

Several years ago Boss Lady’s Father received this weapon as a gag gift. It looks like a small, short handled tennis racket with wire strings. It is powered by several batteries and when turned on, the metal strings are electrified. It is the perfect tool for hunting flies. No need to wait for the fly to land on a hard, flat surface. no need to stealthily sneak up and quickly strike. Just gently swing your electrified tennis racket through the air and touch the fly. Then watch it fry, complete with audible snapping noise and visible spark. Oh, it’s grand fun.

Now, some people may allow as to how such a weapon takes away from the time honored sport of fly hunting, but Boss Lady is of the opinion that it simply provides more opportunities to perfect one’s technique. You can use the gentle, swooping swing. Or a high powered smack. You can come from above or below. You can even circle your prey before sadistically dispatching it. Perhaps it should be an Olympic Sport, judged on the creativity of your swing.

Boss Lady has had intentions of bringing this fine fly hunting weapon to work, but she continually forgot it. Today when she sat down for lunch and was immediately dive buzzed by three flies, she said enough is enough. She rolled up several pieces of paper and commenced to swatting the old fashioned way. She began with wild swings and lunges, which only served to make the flies laugh and tease her. She quickly settled into a hunting crouch, though. She focused on one fly at a time, and watched it zoom the room. She didn’t let herself lose track even when it flew against a dark object. She waited for it to land, snuck up on it, made sure she was within inches and struck. Pretty soon she’d killed her three attackers. They were immediately replaced by four more. In dismay, she continued her pursuit. For each fly she killed, it seemed two more appeared. In frustration she baseball batted two right out of the air. She mortally wounded several others, and then crushed them under foot. In all, Boss Lady bagged eight of the little buzzing bastards, and was able to enjoy her lunch in peace for the first time all week.

Ah, yes, fall in Vermont. What a wonderful time of year.