Thursday, June 5, 2008

The Dog Days of Summer?

After a beautiful month of weather in May, we've been hit hard with real summer temps (hello mid-90's and high humidity) for the last week or so. As a result, my attention span has dwindled to that of a two year old, so it's looking like blog topics may be real lazy for a little while. With that in mind, I've taken some inspiration from SillyMonkey's blog, by raiding my photo archives for dog antics. We've had plenty of misbehaving dog stories over the years, even if only a small portion of them have actually been captured by a camera.

We have a fig tree in the back yard, and it didn't take Ophelia and Jack long to figure out that they really like the taste of figs. Between them and the birds, Smithy and I don't actually get to eat many figs ourselves! Here's Jack's impression of a giraffe:

Jack actually has a long and notorious career as a troublemaker, and one of his less-flattering-but-printable nicknames has been Anxiety Boy. He's had separation anxiety problems in the past that medication and re-training only put a slight dent in. (He's also fear-aggressive with new dogs, but that's a story for another day.) So, in the wake of his anxiety and stress, there were many, many times that I came home to scenes like this. This is an old picture of Jack and the late, great Blue, my first Great Dane, in (an old incarnation of) my kitchen. Frankly, there were a lot of days that I just didn't want to come home.

Yes, that's a homemade dog gate that Smithy constructed in order to keep Miss Blue confined, but it looks a little like Shawshank in the pic!

Here's the beginning of the devastation to the kitchen floor:

(Yes, we've tried crating, medication, and several trainers and behaviorists...)

Then there are the harder-to-capture dog moments, often tying in with behavior and body language. For all her statuesque grandeur, Blue could be quite the alpha bitch bully to the other dogs. We all -eventually- learned how to manage a multi-dog household, especially one containing 'she who must rule the world'.

And we managed to have a good time...

(black and white photos by Louis Cahill, see link to the right)

Even though I could do without a lot of the dog-related drama, I would hate to live without a dog!


Silly Monkey said...

Totally! Life wouldn't be as full without them.

Those black and white photos are awesome. So are the dogs.

I love the fig story. Mine would be doing the same thing. Dakota's mission when he's outside is to pull off all the canna buds before they bloom. I worry that he'll swallow one because they are the size of walnuts and could choke him.

How old are your guys?

Miss Janey said...

How funny! MIss J is working on a similar post for tomorrow! And the fig tree pic- looks remarkably similar to scenes from Miss J's front yard. Junior LOVES the figs. AND the tomatoes.

And yes, the trouble they sometimes cause, Miss Janey cannot imagine life without dogs. Ever.

Love the photos.

Great Dame said...

Thanks. Yep, even with a tree right here, figs are hard to come by in our yard. And I'm trying tomatoes again, but the same thing happens with them too. Every now and then I'll be outside with the dogs and realize that I smell that very distinctive tomato flower pollen all over someone's coat!

My friend and neighbor, Louis, took the b/w photos several years ago at a friend's studio. Blue had been diagnosed with an unusual form of cancer, so I asked Louis if he would do a photo session, just for fun, so that I would have a record of me and her. He's a wonderful friend, as well as a really talented photographer. I'm hoping to have him do a session with me and Ophelia soon too.

I've been 'the crazy dog lady' on the block for a while now; it's been a 3-dog household for YEARS. Blue passed away nearly 4 years ago, Jack and Lucy were a part of Blue's 'empire'. Ophelia came along right after Blue passed away. Thankfully, *I think* our worst destructive antics are over for a while: Oph and Jack are nearly 5 yrs. old, and Lucy turns 8 in August.

Even though they drive me crazy sometimes, I feel fortunate to be a dog person, and I hope I can always have at least one of 'em around.

Silly Monkey said...

Awww, we all need a friend like Louis. :)

I'm probably the crazy dog guy to my neighbors. The woman across the street has three dogs and 13 cats (I have three of each), but I think three of her dogs equal one Dakota, so I'm probably seen as crazier.

Sam said...

Ohhh, my sister in separation anxiety. Jack will always hold a place in my heart..I think he's Strider's long lost brother.
Our hallway has never been quite the same, since he de-tiled the floors and removed most of the trim.
I love those photos of you and Madame Blue :)