As you folks are no doubt darn sick and tired of hearing, I’ve spent a lot of time at the cottage this summer. (And I’m going up again in a couple of days! Nyaa-nyaa!)
When I was a youngster, well before my folks built our current cottage, I loved spending chunks of the summer at my cousins’ cottages. Two of my aunts and uncles built adjoining cottages on a lake only 45 minutes from where we lived. I had loads of fun there, fishing, swimming (nearly drowning) and playing with my cousins.
As it was for me back then, for Sons #1 and #2 a large part of the allure of the current cottage was the chance to spend time with their cousins. Each of my five sibs has at least a couple of rug rats of their own and the age groups mesh reasonably well. Chances were, if we were sharing the cottage time with one or two other families, they’d have playmates with whom to swim, explore and get into trouble.
Now, my sons are in their 20s, as are most of their cousins. What with jobs, girlfriends, boyfriends and busier lives, they don’t get together at the cottage as often.
Fortunately, this is not the case for Benny and his cousins. He’s enjoyed spending time with, primarily, three pooches belonging to one of my brothers and two of my sisters. In the pic below, you'll see that he took up surfing this year. (As always, you can click the photo to see a larger version.)
But back to those cousins.
There’s Calley, brother Karl’s dainty, pretty, King Charles Cavalier Spaniel. Looking at her, you just know she’s a girl. It’s easy to picture her as Lady, in Lady and the Tramp. Even easier than picturing Ben as a tramp.
Wasn't lying, was I?
Calley is Ben’s size and he adores her. Well, he’d like to adore her. If she let him get with adoring range.
For Ben, adoring range occurs when his nose is from zero to one millimeter from her naughty bits. She tolerates it/him for a few seconds before doing the doggie version of slapping his hands. Fortunately, Ben’s a pretty good-natured pooch and deals well with rejection. He shrugs it off and tries again another time. Usually within a few seconds.
Luckily for Calley, sister Lisa’s dog, a big, lovely Bernese named Oona, is also at the cottage a fair bit and can share Ben’s affections.
That's her. Thanks to Hilary for the pic.
Oona doesn’t quite know what to make of Ben. Which puts her squarely among the majority of those who’ve ever met him – four-legged or two. I think she just might regard him as a furry mosquito, one who jumps instead of flies. He’s forever leaping up to give her kisses. Every once in a while she lifts a massive paw to swat half-heartedly but I’ve yet to see her make contact. I suspect she secretly loves the attention.
But Ben has spent most of this summer bonding with Duncan, sister Theresa’s big, stolid (and solid!) sheepdog. In his last life, I’m pretty sure Duncan was a tree. His gait is ponderous. Despite being euchred several years ago, every once in a while Dunc gets frisky and will try to hump any animal or human that he thinks is presenting. In the pic below, Dunc is considering logistics while Ben is busy draining the lake.
We’ve all learned to look around warily before bending over, especially when we’re on the dock. Duncan also has a signature move that cracks us all up.
When he wants into a room, he will approach the door, lower his head until the crown is just touching it, and wait.
Head bowed, apparently studying something on the floor, he waits. And waits.
He knows eventually some human is going to wander along and open it. All of us have had to deal with opening a bedroom or bathroom door and walking into Duncan’s face.
Ben adores Dunc. Yes, it’s true. Ben’s an equal opportunity pooch and is not afeered of showing affection to another male, jumping up to deliver kisses to Dunc’s face or sniffs to his naughty bits.
As much fun as Hilary and I have had this summer, I think Ben has trumped us. The grin doesn’t leave his face ‘til he sleeps. Which is about all he does for a couple of days after returning home - resting up for next time. Which, did I mention, is coming in a couple of days? (Neener-neener!)