Paying It Forward

Ugh.  You ever have those mornings where you wake up and want to slap the happy Good Morning! grin off of every one of your damn tail wagging dogs?  I woke up like that today.  They’re all bouncing around yelling “It’s Saturday!  It’s light outside!  Let’s go for a walk!” and I’m all surly, hair akimbo, snarling “What the f*ck are you so happy about, you stupid shits?”  I apparently forgot to latch Winter’s crate last night so he was leaping on and off the bed with inordinate enthusiasm and the only reason I got up was because my fantasy of giving him a good swift kick when he was in mid flight, and imagining him crashing through the bedroom wall and then the exterior house wall, and then bouncing and rolling for like a mile through the pasture on every rock and sharp thing out there from the force of my anti-morning rage, was becoming a little too satisfying.

Then whilst I am trudging along the back of the property with a scowl on my face so serious it’s actually giving me a headache, the stupid mutts take off after Imaginary Creature and the bastards actually swim the ditch and are racing through the blueberry fields, all having simultaneously gone deaf.  I finally convince them all to come back by using my Come To Jesus Voice and we get up to where the property meets the public dykes and for the first time in as long as I can remember, we encounter Another Dog.  Fortunately I manage to football tackle TWooie and pin him in the mud, but the rest of them go flying down the dyke to jump all over the dog’s owner and bark and yodel (ENDER) ferociously at the dog itself, some big houndy looking thing who totally takes it in stride.  On a normal day, I would just continue laying on top of TWooie, apologize to the dog owner and make a joke.

But I’m GROUCHY today so I holler at my dogs to F*CK OFF AND LEAVE IT and of course every single one of them forgets they ever learned anything, ever, and continue to smear mud and coyote poop and rabbit guts or whatever the hell else is on their feet all over the lady and bark in her dog’s face.  I finally haul TWooie to his feet and stomp back in the direction of our property (hunched over like Quasimodo because TWooie is short and I’ve got him by the collar, because OF COURSE I neglected to bring the Emergency Bad Dog Needs A Lesson Leash), the rest of the pack sort of meandering in my direction, reluctant to leave their new best friends, and continuing to ignore me swearing and yelling at them.  I get about 50 feet down the path on my property when the lady appears with her dog, striding right at me.  And because today I am the Biggest Asshole in the Whole Entire Universe, I actually said to her:

“THIS IS PRIVATE PROPERTY.”

(WTF is wrong with me?  Who SAYS that??)

She blinks at me for a moment and says “I’m just trying to help.” And I turn into SATAN and reply “You keep coming is not helping.”  Which is true, in all fairness, because if she had stopped at the property line and turned back, my dogs would have eventually left her alone and come back to me.  But because today is Food Lady Super Bitch day, it comes out all snarly and she throws up her hands and turns and walks away.

I’m such a jerk.  Really, I need one of those medi-alert bracelets that says “Requires Strong Coffee, STAT” to absolve me of my assholiness.  So if you’re reading this and you know the lady, or you ARE the lady – gawd, I’m sorry for being such a douche this morning.

Bah.  Stupid today.  I can’t believe I shit all over that poor woman.

Kind of like this heron is shitting all over everything.

Wouldn’t that have been a pretty photo without the truckload of poop shooting out of its ass like an AIM-9 Sidewinder?  It’s so tack clear, in focus, nicely blurred background…

Tack clear.  IN FOCUS.  WTF, how did I manage that with my infamous limpdick F4 with the dying motor?

I didn’t.  I took it with my brand new F2.8 70-200mm USM ii.

(!!!!!)

I took these at about 4PM yesterday, shortly before it started getting dark, with only a hit of sunshine in the sky because it was mostly cloudy.  And they were in focus!

I was shooting in MANUAL, adjusting exposure and metering on the fly!

From across the pasture!

My dogs are beautiful through the lens again!  I can see their EYES!

Addy’s not even funny looking in this photo!

I don’t even hate Ender in this one!

It’s like discovering photography all over again.  It’s amazing.

It all came to be when a blog reader – whom I will not “out” because I didn’t ask this person if I could or not – contacted me and said they’d had some good fortune this year and after reading about how all my saved pennies for a new lens would be going to the Wootie’s doG Damned Knee fund wanted to do something nice, so bought me the lens I could not afford.  It is one of the single most amazing things that has ever happened to me, and I am beyond humbled and grateful.  I still kind of can’t believe it, even when it’s in my hot little hands and I’m shooting with it.

Sometimes the people in the universe are magical.  Let us all give thanks for that, just for a moment.

There is no way I can ever repay this person for their amazing generosity, but I am a big believer in putting kindness back out into the ether, so as my way of paying it forward (and also atoning for being a giant asshole to the random dog owner this morning) I am going to offer a free photo shoot to the first THREE dog owning readers (local only – ie the Lower Mainland) who contact me, who have dogs over 10 years of age.  Because everyone with an old dog deserves to have nice photos of their aging best friend, but aging best friends can be expensive best friends, so paying for photo shoots can be tough to justify.  So if you have a senior dog, and you’re in the Lower Mainland, and you are one of the first three people to contact me, I will photograph your dog(s) for free sometime in the next couple of months.

:)

Also, I’ll give you Ender!

What?

Now, if someone could just get Wootie away from his Guard TWooie, we’ll get to work fixing that knee.

Don’t you forget about me

damfamily

There are no other photos in this post, because the weather outside is frightful.  It started off this morning snowing when we got up, which was awesome, so we rushed outside to play in the white stuff.  The snow turned to ice balls and then to rain a couple hours later and it’s been raining coldly ever since.  Now the ground is still mostly frozen, with puddles of slowly melting frozen mud sitting on top of it, very slippery – recipe for a cruciate tear.  Which, for those of you who do not follow us on Facebook, is what Wootie was diagnosed with earlier this week.  Le sigh.

“Full tear, left knee” Dr. B told me, flashing me his highest wattage “Please Don’t Punch Your Vet In The Face Today” smile.

Poor Mr. Noodles.  He’ll probably die of grief when he realizes he won’t be allowed to climb on my bed after the surgery.

He’s getting around on it just fine – mostly limpy/sore looking in the evenings.  When he’s out there tearing around after his soccer ball, you’d never know there was a thing wrong with him.  So he also came along on our afternoon constitutional.  We all played some ball for a bit and got super muddy, then we walked through the back of the property through the long wet grass to soak some of that mud off.

Tweed does this thing that drives me crazy when we’re out walking, which is to walk just a little behind me to the right, and repeatedly nudge or bump my hand with his soaking wet head or nose.  In the cold weather it annoys me because it makes the fingers of my gloves wet.  In the summer it’s gross because I’m hot and sticky and so is his nose, just compounding the hot and stickiness of it all.  It’s also repetitive and irritating, and sometimes I whip my hand away and snark at him to STOP THAT.  When I turn to glare at him, he is always smiling up at me hopefully, and I always feel a little ashamed of myself.

I don’t anthropomorphize my pets*; I know what he’s doing, he’s harassing me for a cookie, which are in my right hand pocket.  He’s always done it, although he knows I almost always only give out cookies to reward behaviours – and not THAT behaviour, tyvm.  The older he gets, the more insistent about it he’s become, like he thinks he deserves free cookies by virtue of aging.  He’s probably right.  More and more, I do give them to him freely.  How many more free cookies are in his future after all?  He’s in fantastic shape, but he is going to be 15 this year … he can cookie all he wants, probably.

But sometimes it feels like he’s saying “Hey, don’t forget about me lady.”  Don’t forget to give me a cookie.  Don’t forget I’m following you, loyal to your pocket, connected to you.  Don’t forget about me.  Don’t forget.

Because we do; we do forget.  I forget myself when I snap at him to stop poking me with his wet face, making my wet fingers uncomfortable.  I don’t walk around all day thinking about how old he is, how we won’t have a forever together, how one day I won’t turn look down to see his face grinning up at me, open mouthed, eyes meeting mine and then glancing purposefully at my pocket.  I live in a world that is not consumed by thoughts of my aging old friend.  He needs to remind me sometimes.  He needs to remind me not to take him for granted, not to forget.  I need him to do that for me.

We were walking out on the property a couple of weeks ago when a small flock of 4 snow geese flew overhead, honking like a bunch of grunty toys.  We were heading North, they flew South, behind us and away, their honking receding in the wind.  We kept walking, and then I heard them coming back.  There was one at the head of the flock, two behind it and to the left, one behind it and to the right.  They looked unbalanced – broken, like a fighter jet with a missing wing.  Their honking increased in frequency and intensity, and then I heard another snow goose answer.  It was coming from the other direction, wings pumping hard, neck straining.  Don’t forget me.  They crossed paths right above us, and the lone goose stalled in the air, banked sharply almost upside down and took up its place in the formation, on the right. A perfect “V” once more, and they all swept off again, goose noises fading to silence.

Tweed, my wing man, taking up his place at my right.  Where he belongs.  Making me whole.  Silently reminding me he’s here.  Don’t forget me.

Thank you Tweed, for the reminder.  One day, all I will have of you are memories.  Thank you for helping me to remember to make some.  Have a cookie.  Take the whole damn pocketful.

Happy New Year, friends :)

(*totally untrue, I anthropomorphise my pets ALL THE TIME.  For example, everything Ender does to annoy me is calculated and by design, I’m sure of it)

Betwixt and Between

What a weird time of year.  When I was a kid, it meant a post-Christmas let down of adrenaline.  When I was a young person, it meant planning for a knock ‘em out New Years Eve.  Now I’m old and it just means we’re getting dangerously close to another year older I’m going to be.  Boooooo.

It means my doggies get older too.  Mr. Woo, the perpetual puppy, appears to have developed arthritis or something in his hip.  Seriously?  Is he going to get a walker next and yell at kids for treading on his lawn?

Don’t touch my Wootie Stick, got-damn whippersnappers.

He goes to see Dr. Bowra on Monday to see what’s what and how we can fix ‘im up.

This is my brother.  You will fix him, or I will fix YOU.

(why does Wootie ALWAYS have his lipstick out in sitting photos??)

I get to use all my saved pennies for a new lens on Wootie’s hip or whatever (you can see him sitting funny on his left there, if you can take your eyes off his, er, “little Woo.”)  Which means you’ll just have to put up with crappy photos that aren’t always in focus for a while longer :(

Although it can still catch Ender being BAD!

No wonder nobody likes him!  He also does this to ME when he is really excited too – also in the ass.  I’ve had him almost a year, and I’m no closer to really liking him than I was when I got him.  I think maybe sighthounds are just not the breed type for me.  I feel terribly guilty at the thought of rehoming him, like I’ve failed … but he might be happier if he lived with someone who didn’t, you know, loathe him.  He drives me bananas.  I read all these Italian Greyhound forums where people describe their iggies’ behaviours and they all sound like Ender, and everyone seems to be really amused by these antics, all of which make me want to punch him to death and use his skinny little backbone as a toothpick.

I HATE the peeing.  He has to pee every 9 seconds, and pretty much only when I’ve gotten comfortable in a chair somewhere, of course.   Which ticks me off, so now he has decided to stop asking and just pee wherever.  he wears a belly band all the time and doesn’t care if he pisses in it.  And he sleeps all nested in my bed clothes, which means they frequently smell faintly of Ender pee, because no belly band in the world can completely contain the odour (and believe me, I have tried them all.  Expensively).

He’s not cuddly because he’s all legs and elbows which are usually kicking me in the face.  He is selectively deaf and has the retention abilities of a goldfish.  The only time I really like him is when he is running freely somewhere contained (ie where he can’t go yodel at recent immigrants on the road) as he looks so happy and free.  Maybe I’ll set him free in a forest somewhere.

Unfortunately he is really fast, so he’d probably just run back home and beat me to the front door.

Dexter’s a fast one too.  Fast enough to roll thoroughly in a dead salmon before I could catch him.  On Christmas morning.  Merry Christmas to me.  And to poor Mr. Woo, whom I yelled at initially based purely on instinct and experience when I first whiffed the smell of rotting fish going trotting past me.

Whut?

(He got a bath for Christmas, which he immediately ruined by getting as muddy as he could)

It’s like the dog-owner version of coal in the stocking.  Bah dumdog!

Unfairly accused, bad hip and all, Wootie doesn’t let nuthin’ get him down.  He’s still a world explorer (ie hunter of strangely-landed thrown hockey balls).

So for Christmas I got a broken Wootie, and a dead-fish Dexter.  Oh and non stop photos on Facebook of my parents in sunny Mexico.  Best gifts ever, huh?

Fortunately, I have this :)

She is too damn cute.  I was trying to strip the bedclothes today (because Eau du Ender Pee) and she was up there tugging the sheets back as I tried to take them off the bed, and growling ferociously in tiny little voice.  She makes me laff and laff and laff some more.

Even if she also won’t share her Fae-Stick.

F*ck off.

Anyway, that’s all the photos I managed to get today, thank you lens.  I’m back to work tomorrow and as usual, working New Years Day, so I won’t be likely to post again before then … so, Happy New Year friends!  New adventures, new stories and hopefully, new in-focus photos ;-)

Looking forward to it!  Spring is looking forward – er, sideways, at something else altogether.

ETA:  I forgot the worst part … I have to FAST Wootie in case he has to have sedated x-rays.  If you never see another post, it’s because he ate me.