Saturday, November 2, 2013


I noticed Shade limping last week after an outing with all the dogs.  She didn't limp until we got back home.  I figured it was just a sprain but, one can't be too sure.  She was making loud licking sounds after we all went to bed every night since I noticed the limp.  It was so loud last night that I got up and inspected her knee where she was licking.  I felt all around her knee and could find no swelling so I'm sure it's a sprain.  She seems to feel pain at the end of the day after the outings and also when going down stairs.  I've been leaving her home so she doesn't have to make that high jump up onto the front seat of the 4 wheel drive Chevy truck and, also the very high jump necessary to get her to the deck of the boat when it's beached.  So, today I thought I'd take just her with me to the Wildlife Management Area.  This way she would "walk" with me instead of tearing around chasing Chestnut in her relentless search for squirrels. 
The woods were beautiful and in full color, at last.  I enjoyed walking with my favorite friend and she seemed to enjoy being with me because I noticed she kept looking up at my face as we slowly moved along.  I selected those trails that seem to cause one to have high expectations for a grand view just around the corner.  Love trails like that.  Oh, there usually isn't any spectacular view around the bend but, it's good to let one's mind ramble about it.
One pathway lead to another and then another keeping all the views new, and Shade was having a great time.  We dropped down to the creek and I found a totally new section of water we had never been to.  It was very beautiful and I'll not soon forget the memorable moments there today with my dedicated best friend.
I didn't want her running as that would put a lot of weight on her knees.  This was the best thing I could do for her - bringing her here offers gentle exercise without violent stress on her joints.  I think that she will be her old self in another week.
I tried to figure out what all the dried up flowers, grasses and seed pods were that grew along the stream.
I took one step out onto a rock in the water through the weeds on the creek shoreline and instantly received a fleece jacket full of cockle burs.  These things are horrible to deal with when they get embedded in a dog's long hair.  Fortunately Shade didn't get in them.  Only, I the human, did. (Look closely and you'll see tiny hooks at the ends of the spikes that protrude from the fruit of the plant)
I have no clue what the following grasses and weeds are, rather were.

I sat down on a rock and just enjoyed watching Shade explore the area.  People who don't spend quality time with their dogs have no idea what they are missing.  I think that some folks keep a dog on a chain for the sake of "just having a dog."  How sad!
Shade is a very emotional dog and sensitive too.  She appreciates these times out here with me.  I know because all I have to do is murmur her name in a low voice and she'll raise her head and look my way, all the while wagging her tail.  Then I'll extend my hand toward her and hook my finger in a "come here" sign.  Nothing further need be said.  She'll hurry to me at a trot.  Think of that for a minute.  Think about what she feels to cause that.  It's a beautiful thing to have in one's life.  Just a dog? Hardly!

This is really a pretty place, especially with the Fall colors and the fallen leaves on the rocks.  I guess there's no reason for anyone to visit here and that fact keeps it clean an free from human debris.  
Sweet Shade - the water is ice cold and she loves it.  She won't lay there for long but, she loves the coolness of it.  To her it's unique and different - out of the ordinary of her daily life, and she revels in it.
To give her these moments costs me nothing but some personal time, and some gas but, it's worth it.  If I'm going to be responsible for her life and happiness then I need to offer up a few hours a week to her well being.  She repays me with her total dedication and, she wakes me up most nights growling or barking at some mystical visitor in the yard that I have yet to see.  She's worth the trouble.
I have no idea what that thing is in the above shot.  It looks like the sweet bread I made over a fire on a boy scout outing when I was a kid

Then it started to rain.  Shade hates the rain and she looked up at me as if to say, "lets get to the truck."  And, we did that.

Shade does not have the long legs that a pure bred lab has.  She's part chow and has legs that are a bit short for her weight and power.  It's just how her lot was cast.  I have to be careful that those legs stay strong and her weight in line.  The weight thing is difficult to control living here as there is no place to exercise her on a regular basis.  I'll complain about that till I die.  We got home and she laid down for an hour and when she got up she was not limping at all.  I think that a few more gentle outings will do the trick, and about ten pounds shed even better.
The wind was was up mid afternoon and there is still a brisk blow out there now at 8 PM.  The temperatures are dropping a few degrees and tomorrow is to be around 55 degrees tops.  It's going to be cool on the river.  Shade will be inside where the temps are 70 degrees and I will be out there before sun up in 48 degrees.  What's wrong with that picture?  I love it.