Wish I'd Said It

Weeds are flowers too - once you get to know them.

- A. A. Milne

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Sticks & Pups & Play (#165)

Yep, another excerpt from Walking With Benny.

3-26-08

Last evening’s walk was a misery. A wind-whipped rain (one degree colder and there’s another word for it) made me glad for my hood. My gloves were soon soaked and do not retain heat at all well when wet. By the time we returned, Ben was shivering and needed to be toweled off. (Don’t feel sorry for him. Within seconds, he was playing tug-of-war with the towel.)

So I was pleased to awaken to a sunny day that was a couple of degrees on the happy side of freezing.

Last night’s rain was still frozen in the shaded areas, so I had to tippy-toe for part of the walk but the sunshine and warmth made up for that temporary discomfort. The birds were still singing their fool heads off except, of course, for the gulls and crows. They can’t sing a lick. They screeched and cawed their fool heads off though; sounding just as happy, if a trifle less melodic, than their kin.

I joined them occasionally, in a dignified manner. My caw has promise but I think I’ll retire my screech.

Ben is learning the Joy of Sticks. He seeks them out now, especially when I’ve stopped to do something boring like listen to a set of rapids or try to spot a calling bird. His favourites are moist and heavily barked. These shred easily and really, what good is a chew if it doesn’t make some kind of a mess? Like most pups, he was gifted in this area. At eight weeks of age, he could turn a single tissue into 273 pieces and distribute them throughout three rooms. In less than a minute. The lad was a prodigy. And a bit spooky.

Anyway, for a goodly portion of our walks these days, he’s either happily carrying or happily destroying a stick. It’s quite comical to watch at times. He’s especially proud when he manages to snag a long one, a three-footer or so. Of course, it’s whip-thin but to look at this wee dog prancing down the path, head and tail proudly erect, you’d think he just broke a stick-carrying world record and he’s basking in the huzzahs of the cheering throng.

And then I lunge - as if to steal it - and the game is on.

My thunderfeet are no match for his limber legs and he knows it. He taunts me, scampering some distance ahead, then laying down for a quick gnaw while never taking his eyes off my lumbering progress.

I give up. I stand erect, lower my arms from their vaguely menacing, gonna-grab-that-stick position, and walk more quickly, not looking at him. I am obviously tiring of the game. He dances ever closer with the stick, alert for any untoward movement of mine. He suspects I’m likely feigning. I mean, who wouldn't want such a yummy stick?

Another lunge, a quick dodge, and he’s off again, grinning.

Maybe I’m too old and too clumsy to win at this game (although I prefer to blame my heavy winter boots and clothing) but you’re never too old to play, right?

23 comments:

Hilary said...

I'm glad that Benny has found sticks to be fun. He's going to need something new to play with as the ice chunks he uses for hockey pucks melt away.

I could picture it all.. like I've been there...

Reb said...

Never too old to play is the right attitude to have. Keep that and you never will be.

Frank Baron said...

Hilary, I think you're probably psychic!

Hear-hear Reb. Long live immaturity! :)

Bruce Robinson said...

Glad to hear the weather changed for you. We, here in the mid-Atlantic, had simarlarly cold, rainy weather this week.

By similarly, I mean 12 degrees north of freezing. fahrenheit. Yesterday, the rain let up. The air received some benefit temperature wise going to seventy-five.

Wednesday, one of the boys is going walking with me in the Upper Gunpowder River. There are rumors that the trout are both hungry and testy. If they are suicidal, too, I will bring them home for some talk therapy - during dinner.

Play hard!

Nita said...

Well, of course it was the heavy coat and boots that gave you a disadvantage in your game with Benny. I don't doubt that when the weather warms and you are less encumbered you will fare much better at the game. But then the sun might be in your eyes, or you may have to watch the need to avoid the sticks and limbs that have fallen, or Benny will be hidden in the shade. There's always something, those little dogs are scamps, but the game is never boring. Have fun, play long.

Frank Baron said...

Bruce, I hope a few of those trout decide to accept your kind offerings. And it's darned decent of you to invite them over for dinner later too.

Nita, the scenarios you describe are entirely logical. Thank you. It may be a year or more before I need to think up another excuse all by myself. ;)

Leah J.Utas said...

Play long and prosper, Frank.

the Bag Lady said...

Perfect description of a walk with the Princess. Oh, wait, that wasn't....

Frank Baron said...

Thanks Leah. I sure hope to. :)

BL, give Her Highness a treat from Benny. :)

Reb said...

There is something for you on my blog Frank.

Jo said...

Your walks with Benny make me laugh, I'm not sure who's funnier...I suppose the two of you are a package deal :)

Frank Baron said...

Well, Reb, I guess I'll have to wander over there and see. I hope it's a cookie. Oatmeal/peanut butter/chocolate chip is my favourite. With marshmallow. Oh, and butterscotch drizzled on top. This is so exciting!

Jo, trust me. Ben's funnier. I lumber with dignity. :)

CrazyCath said...

Never never never too old to play!

And Benny will be grateful for that. :0)

Frank Baron said...

I agree with your first part Cath and hope you're right about the second. :)

MagnoliaGirl said...

What a fun romp through the winds you and Benny are! Yep, never too old to play---

Frank Baron said...

Thanks MG. And I knew you'd be of the same mind. :)

Kappa no He said...

Cha Cha wanted me to to tell you to tell Bennie that fluffy mittens are also a great find, pink ones with bows on them that you can wear on your nose.

Frank Baron said...

Terrie, that sounds fine for a girly-type doggie of the female persuasion but I think Ben might be embarrassed.

Okay, I might be. ;)

Merry said...

I'm always afraid that one day one of my neighbors will videotape me playing "chase the dog-with-a-stick" in the backyard. They'd probably send it in to a America's Silliest Dog Owner TV show.

Much better idea to play that game out in the woods... out in the sticks, as it were.
snicker

Frank Baron said...

I grinned at that one too Merry. Thanks for stopping by. :)

Crabby McSlacker said...

Hmm, oddly enough my seventeen year old cat won't play with sticks.

Please stop making me want a dog! They chew on things and can't be left alone indefinitely and shed and bark and need walking...

Dang it, it's not working. I want a Benny just like yours!

Frank Baron said...

Hiya Crabby. Hope you're nicely settled into your new digs now.

Have to admit I'm growing pretty darn fond of the little rascal. If you talk yourself into getting one, let me know. I'll give you some pointers that may or may not help you remain sane. :)

Spider63 said...

Your stories inspire me to play with my dog more! My dog and I thank you!!