Sunday, January 09, 2011

Adventure Dog

It's been a week for Howie.

He went on runs through the park by the river with Bernie, and had a great time, burning off all the energy a dog builds up when his owners have cut back on their expeditions due to disgustingly cold fog and heavy gray skies.

After a day of rest, we took Howie and Sebastian over to the big park west of us, which features a huge flood basin, green with neatly mowed grass, adjacent to an almond orchard. We also took the throwing stick, so that they could expend energy chasing a tennis ball.

Before allowing the boys to run on the grassy bowl of the park, we make sure that they are pooped out in the weeds between the orchard and the park. But Sebastian would not poop. So we flung the ball along the verge of the orchard, hoping that Seb would get excited enough to drop his poo NOT on the grass of the park.

With the first throw, both dogs were totally focused on the ball. Fling, retrieve, fling, retrieve, fling ... and Howie was so intent on reaching the ball first that he failed to note an almond tree in his way. As he snatched the ball, his momentum took him broadside into the tree trunk, with a sickening thump.

I ran to him as he staggered to a halt, ordered him lie down. He panted, but seemed in no particular distress. He got up and walked fine, and indicated that he was ready for another ball. We let him rest, but about then, a dog who had been with his people on the far side of the park ran away from them -- straight towards us. He was a little, little dog, and it is a big, big park, so we watched without concern. By that time, Howie was on his feet and poised to run again, so we flung the ball out into the bowl of the park. Off our dogs went, and the little dog intersected them. All three dogs stopped to figure out who they all were.

One of the things I love about our dogs is that they are more interested in us than in other animals. I called to How, "Howie, ball! Get ball, bring!" And he did, with Sebastian beside him, the stranger dog trailing the bigger beasts.

The small dog, a odd-looking, but cute Australian shepherd/terrier mix was absorbed in our dogs, and they tolerated him, but really, knew they were 'way out of his league. The next throw, Howie was out in front with his brilliant speed, but he overshot the ball, and trying to grab it, stumbled and did a double somersault, finishing with a skid across the grass.


I gave him an Ascriptin that night (our vet cleared this).

The next day I enforced a rest for him, but the day after that -- yesterday -- he went for a walk in the woods by the river with Bernie and Alex and Lillian and Sebastian. Too close by the river. He waded right into the icy water and laid himself down. From there it was Crazy Dog Time, splashing and swimming and digging in the sandy bank.

Alex bathed both dogs when they got back, and Howie plainly stated this morning that he was ready to go at any moment; however, as you can see by the photo, Adventure Dog needed a Sunday Nap Day.


Wendy said...

Ouch, Howie!!!! LOL - loved this post. Don't you love it when they have this much fun?!??!

Aser said...

I love him having fun, but not so much when he wraps himself around a tree. He'll be 70 doggie years old in March! Slow down, old man!

Wendy said...

I hear you, Sand...but, he has NO IDEA that he is an old man :) He's determined to keep up with his younger counterpart!!

Cheryl said...

I hope I'm able to crash into a tree and walk it off when I'm his age. T and I both loved this story. Scritches to the boys!