Saturday, June 20, 2015

Keeping Time

Summer is just about in full swing. Flowers are coming up, the hummingbirds are back and there are scores of butterflies who come to visit what is so far in bloom.

Heath, the new English Shepherd puppy, has filled the vacancy well. He surprises me everyday with his intelligence and personality. At only 12 weeks, he is, of course, housebroken, has a solid "sit", "down" does various tricks already, is well on the way to a good "stay", closing cupboards and the back door for me, though not yet on cue, puts his toys away, sticks with me like a shadow and has been 24/7 entertainment. He's been good around the ducks, watching but not chasing, loves to visit the leppie calves, would LIKE to chase the chickens but the Maremmas aren't allowing it (luckily) although he has made himself useful already in helping me to round up 4 chicks that escaped from the brooder. In addition to that, he has killed 3 or 4 bugs in the house for me and has brought me a baby bird that died from falling out of the nest, and has killed a mouse and brought it to me as a treasure. 

Unfortunately, after receiving high praise, he, being an over-achiever, brought me a live potato bug later that afternoon. At that I was horrified, shuffling as quickly as I could around the kitchen island with Heath and his 'gift' to me, in hot pursuit. Not a pretty picture.

Everyday brings laughter as he thinks up something new. His mind is always working, you can almost see the wheels turning. It's been an incredible blessing to me, since losing Cider. My days which before were almost unbearable because of pain and loneliness, are so much better. He has been a great distraction and gets me moving more than I would if he wasn't around. It's amazing how quickly you can move when you suddenly realize you don't see the puppy and there are strange noises coming from another room. He has brought life and joy in abundance and it's infectious.

He learns like a little sponge and is very intuitive. There are days when we play hard and do lots of things, then there are days like today, where I am in so much pain, I can hardly stand to move and even laying here, I'm aware of how much my joints are hurting me. He naps quietly near my bed and occassionally stands with his feet on the bedside asking me to lift him up. He showers me with kisses then happily lays across my body while I run my fingers through his soft little fuzzy coat. He communicates every thought with his eyes and his body language, even his walk. It's uncanny how easy it is to understand him. When he's really excited about something and wants me to get up, his little tap tap of feet on the floor is a thump-thump. Not too hard to pick up on the difference!

Today I while I lay here writing, he jumped down from the bed and left for a little while. I could tell he'd gone outside because I could hear the magnets on the screen door click.  He returned at top speed, sliding around the corner on the slick linoleum and wood floors then picked up speed on the straight away by the bed and accelerated once again on the carpet, not crashing into any walls or furniture until his last tight turn. Thumpity-thump-Whump!!  He happily barked at me, wagging tail and bouncing on his front feet. I got up and followed him outside where he showed me that he'd taken his stuffed "froggie" out there, and had learned to croak it, so we had a session of throwing the big tennis ball, the froggy and doing some sit stays. He was overjoyed.

We went to town last week. A 4-hour one-way trip. Even though he only sees TheMan in the early morning, and again after work, he is always happy and excited to be around him. He was so thrilled to see him all day, he had to sit on the console of the truck where he could be constantly touching him. Note the leg over TheMan's arm.

There was pitiful crying and anxious watching of the door when TheMan would exit the truck to go in one of the shops. Until his return, I was ignored for this pose.

His appreciation to see TheMan return to us safely was shown enthusiastically.

There are about 4 times a day, he feels he needs a hug, so he asks to be picked up and he sits back in my lap for awhile like this...

It just doesn't get any sweeter!

The Maremmas have spent most of their time out with the sheep, only coming in for occasional foot and ear checks as the cheat grass, or foxtail, is at a dangerous phase now, due to the drought.
Things look like late August or September around here. As usual, they are doing a fabulous job of keeping the sheep and their lambs, the calves, the laying hens, and (21) three week old chicks safe from all comers.

Heath has wisely chosen them as role models….

 Throughout the day, he practices his new skills, such as putting his toys away in the toy basket…

Then he rests up for a new day.