Wonderful Wednesday Personal Blog
For those of you who were waiting for the weekly 'Freki Fix', let's ruminate on Freki's list of accomplishments this week
Learned to get in and out of the bathtub by herself- just for fun. And to make tub cleaning an every day event.
Started a collection of house shoes behind the toilet. Because, who wouldn't???
Tried two or three more times to make friends with Dixie- by circling her closely and repeatedly while she walked across the yard. No score for this one. But isn't about to give up.
Barked and leaped at the mop the entire time it was performing its duty- decided housekeeping was exhausting and took a much-needed nap.
Hid in the bath tub from the vacuum cleaner and enjoyed splashing in the little bits of water left from an earlier shower. Clearly, playing in water trumps vacuum angst.
Discovered the delights, short-lived though they were- of an empty water bottle. Once it began to fray, it got tossed.
Has her bedtime routine mapped out with no problems going to her crate at night. Wish same could be said for the housebreaking.
Got stuck behind the tv and pulled the sound bar off the shelf. It was clearly time to rearrange the furniture.
Discovered a squirrel skull in the shrubbery along the fence and tossed it around until mom realized what she had. Mom is such a spoil sport.
Went to the city park where a hundred- ok, six- children were playing. Decided to make friends with the one who came to visit, but only after studiously examining the situation. Oh, and getting treats.
Started tracking exercises with treats in a nearby field. Learned the word 'track' very quickly and immediately drops her nose to the ground to see what she missed.
Decided dunking the tennis ball in the water bowl before bouncing it around the house was huge fun. Cannot understand why this upset mom. She obviously likes the mop.
Learned that ringing the bell hanging from the back door gets someone to open it for her. Very quickly learned to abuse this new knowledge.
Enjoyed a Saturday morning at the town festival. No problems with the noisy train or live bands. Strollers gave her a bit of a scare, but as there were oodles of them there, she soon got over it. Learned lots of people means lots of petting, and this is great. Is not fond of strange dogs. Need to work on this.
Nearly turned the side table over as she careened underneath it in one of her sporadic 'come-aparts'. Too much energy, too much speed, not a good enough turning radius. It was time to clean the table off, anyway.
Knows 'sit'. Is learning 'wait' and 'down'. 'Wait' is hard.
Spends most of her naps sprawled on an air conditioner vent. Loves the cooler weather.
Adores playing in water. The inside water bowl is on restriction after a digging spree left an inch of water on the kitchen floor. Again. Both outside bowls are full and the water always tastes better if it is waded in first. And scooping water with your face is sheer joy.
Did you know Ben does not have a tail? Neither does Dixie, because they are Pembroke Welsh Corgis. The Cardigan Corgi does have a tail, but the Pembroke does not. Not a great revelation to most of us, but to a little girl we met this weekend, this was a huge deal.
Rumor has it, the people who bred the corgi in the Welsh countryside hundreds of years ago were too poor to feed a large dog, so the corgi is necessarily a very tough dog in a small package. Also, dogs were often taxed unless they were needed to work the farm, so to avoid paying a tax on their family dog, their tails were docked to prove their working status. Or so the story goes.
This past weekend, we took Ben and Freki to our local town festival and walked the streets, socializing our puppy, listening to live bands, and just having fun. Ben is an old hat at this, but seemed a bit surprised to find he was not the center of attention. Freki hogged more than her fair share. However, that was after she realized Ben was enjoying being petted by innumerable strange people. And since she always wants whatever Ben has, once she realized it really was fun, she was quite the ham.
One little girl petted Ben, her hand in his thick coat.. I pointed out the differences between the two dogs- never miss a chance to educate- and she peered at his short, stubby legs and dense, red hair. Then I mentioned he had no tail. With a jerk of her head, she threw a questioning look to her mom, then took a step behind Ben, squatted down, her hands on her knees, and stared straight up his, er, rear. With astonishment, she announced, "His butt has no tail!"
Quite right, my dear. His butt has no tail. But he wags it just the same.
Freki speaks out:
It was a rough morning here at the MacRae casa. Mom decided the floors had too much dog hair, water and mud on them and dragged out the dreaded 'vacuum'. It has rained a good bit this week, and I guess humans just don't appreciate bringing the outside inside, though I liked it well enough. What I really don't like is the vacuum. The mop was a bit suspicious at first, but I decided to chase it after a bit. It makes no noise at all. Even when I bite it.
The corgis pay very little attention to the vacuum. I wonder if they are blind to the possibility they could be eaten by the voracious beast, or if its deafening roar does not alert them to its threatening tendencies. I have seen it chase and suck down a large clump of dog hair that bounded, terrified, ahead of it--to no avail. I refuse to be its next victim.
I watched this mechanical monster from the safety of the couch. Well, until it came into the living room. I must confess I cut and ran to the bathroom. Hiding behind the shower curtain felt good, but seemed a bit cowardly and I kept an eye on it from the safety of the rug. Especially after the vacuum showed its lack of bravery and went around Dixie. Then again, she has that effect on me, too.
I was, however, quite brave yesterday. We came upon a large flock of geese in a field during our long evening walk. Ben was quite excited. His short breed was originally used to herd geese, and I suppose he recognized his calling. I have herding instincts, too, and watched both Ben and the geese, wondering how to react. Mom didn't let Ben show off his ability to drive those geese, but you can bet I would have been right behind him. All the way.
Freki got a bath, and it was the worst 45 seconds of her life. Even though she cannot resist snorkeling in the birdbath or helping me water the plants (more on that in a bit), and my kitchen floors are spattered with water from furry Shepherd feet playing in the water bowl, a bath was just not going to be tolerated.
OK, so she didn't get a full bath. There was water and a tub and shampoo involved, but most of the 45 seconds it took to wet/lather/rinse her was me palming her muzzle, trying to make eye contact, telling her to stop freaking out. She did settle and got her 'bath', though her dignity swirled somewhere down the drain with the suds. But she was a soft, nice-smelling puppy when she went to the vet that afternoon.
Her post-purchase exam went well. The vet wisely gave her a cookie from the jar next to the exam table to kept her busy as he did his exam. She then pulled the lid off the jar and helped herself to another one. Smart girl.
My garden helper? She proudly totes the water hose in her mouth as we move about the garden, and shoves her head under the spray to check our progress. She then runs to the water bowl and stands with both front feet in it and drinks. Brave moves for a puppy who eschews bathing!
Other than the bath and the vacuum cleaner, she is fearless. She has no problem tackling Ben who outweighs her by 25 lbs. He is quite good with her and tolerates much. The vacuum, on the other hand, is best viewed from the lofty protection of the couch, regardless of how nonchalant Ben is around the noisy machine.
From a puppy who balked at the 3 porch steps the first time she saw them, to the brave, if somewhat reckless one who now ignores the bottom step both up and down, she sallies forth into each day with abandon. Go get 'em, Freki!
Ben turned 5 yesterday. He is so much fun and has become such a good 'big brother' to Freki. He got a new ball today, though, unlike previous balls which he popped within minutes of play, this one is tougher. He loves to chase balls, bumping them with his chest as he 'herds' them about the yard. It was rather hot outside today, however, and he left most of the playing to Freki who chased it as long as we kept it moving.
Ben, I know you weren't expecting a little sister in time for your birthday, but you are showing your kindness and spirit of fun by allowing her into your life. Atta boy!
I'm just going to list Freki's accomplishments Sunday :-)
She asked to go outside to potty 4 times during the night.
She insisted her crate was not where she wanted to sleep in between those times she asked to go outside.
Dragged dad's tennis shoes across the floor- twice.
Danced around the kitchen with my gardening sandals.
Ate with one foot in the bowl.
Drank with one foot in the bowl- with much messier results.
Waited patiently at my feet as I dressed for church.
Jumped on my off-white capris and left a footprint. My fault.
Got reprimanded by Dixie for being annoying. Actually, couldn't blame her.
Sat in the corner and rubbed her nose against the insult then hopped off to find something else to do.
Played in the bird bath.
Dragged the fountain out of the bird bath.
Tried to un-pot the rosemary.
Swung from the drapes.
Jumped on Ben's bed twice- once with him on it.
Played with new friends who came over to meet her.
Helped me walk by prancing between my feet, tugging at my pants legs in random directions.
Ate a pine needle.
Played with an ice cube. Spit it and a mouthful of water on the tile floor and skated a la 'Bambi on ice'
Helped clean it up by dragging a towel across the floor.
Slept on the couch with Ben.
See? I told you there was more fun and excitement ahead!
No, Freki is not a character in my next book (though her name comes from Norse mythology, after one of Odin's wolves). Freki is the newest member of the MacRae household. She entered our family yesterday and immediately stole our hearts.
Even at 8 1/2 weeks old, this sweet German Shepherd puppy seemed to meld seamlessly into our arms as we drove the 2 1/2 hours home, leaving her 3 siblings and kennel mates behind. She slept most of the way home, obviously feeling quite safe and content. We are amazed at how completely she became part of the family and how much she trusts and wants to be with us.
How did the Short Dog team respond? Exactly as we had predicted. Dixie, arthritic and 10 1/2 years old, does not want an exuberant puppy bouncing off of her. Freki's attempts at bumbling friendship have been met with a curled lip and one emphatic 'no'. Freki backed around the corner, sulked for a moment and went off to find better things to do. Dixie is ok with that.
Ben, once assured he is still mom's best boy, was eager to play. However, he tops out at 35 solid pounds of spring-loaded muscle. Not an ideal playmate for an awkward baby who just learned to navigate the back porch steps yesterday. They did have a bout of tug-of-war this morning, but he pretty much dragged her across the room.
Yes, it is a bit chaotic right now. We did, after all, introduce a new baby into the family Saturday, and the older 'siblings' were quite happy with the status quo on Friday. We used to have week end morning sleep-ins; last night we were up 4 times to take Freki out to potty and morning started at 6am. We used to have 2 dogs that cleaned out their bowls in 30 seconds flat. We now also have one who has to eat (and drink) with one foot in the bowl (and adds to the kitchen floor clean-up), and manages to finish in, oh, 10 minutes or so.
But we also have sweet puppy kisses, and a puppy who goes absolutely every step with us and sits patiently by our feet as we go about our daily chores. She is a wise dog wrapped in a puppy package, and is too cute for words.
What are our plans for her? Obedience work with an emphasis on tracking, and, hopefully, work as a search and rescue dog. During the next several weeks, she will be out in public every possible moment, learning about the world she is entering. 'Socialization' is the big word for raising a puppy who has confidence in every situation. Though her nature is to assess things before diving in, we want her to respond with thoughtful intelligence, not fear.
So, keep a watch for Freki and her adventures. They should be fun!
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