Monday AM: It’s Zeke’s annual check-up. He remembers the six-inch needle from his last appointment. He’s not welcoming John, the GVW (“the Greatest Vet in the World”). Zeke weighs in. He’s up another 5 pounds, peaking at his all-time high. GVW’s scorecard on Zeke sets off vicious attacks: Family v. Dad. It’s you! He only sits next to you at Dinner! You are feeding him table scraps! Do you realize you are shortening his life!” Dad Growls in response.
Wednesday AM: GVW sends an email. He’s never sent an email to me before, but he needs to send this one. Zeke’s stool sample shows no evidence of worms. Vet Code Translation: He’s fat, but at least he’s clean. All is not lost.
Thursday PM: It’s bedtime. Zeke’s laying next to me. He looks up and stares. What’s up Zeke? He tells me he’s depressed. GVWs lack of bedside manner cut deep. GVW and the Family fail to grasp nature’s natural cycle like Mary Oliver and I do: summer falling to fall, to be following by what will follow: winter again: count on it. Same with weight. Down in summer. Up in the Winter. Down in summer. Count on it. It’s a bloody cycle. No need to overreact.
Thunder that is still too far away for us to hear presses down on Ben’s ears and he wakes us and leans hot and chesty first against M., then against me, and listens to our slow, warm words that mean we love him. But when the storm has passed, he is brave again and wants to go out. We open the door and he glides away without a backward glance. It is early, in the blue and grainy air we can just see him running along the edge of the water, into the first pink suggestion of sunrise. And we are caught by the old affinity, a joyfulness — his great and seemly pleasure in the physical world. Because of the dog’s joyfulness, our own is increased. It is no small gift. It is not the least reason why we should honor as well as love the dog of our own life, and the dog down the street, and all the dogs not yet born. What would the world be like without music or rivers or the green and tender grass? What would this world be like without dogs?
~ Mary Oliver, Long Life: Essays and Other Writings
Photograph: Gary Choronzy at Pooch Doogie Photography
18 months old.
Say hello to Hulk.
Read and see more here: My Modern Met
“Wagging her tail a mile a minute, Miss P became America’s top dog Tuesday night by winning best in show (out of 2700 dogs) in a big surprise at the Westminster Kennel Club. At 4, Miss P is a grand-niece of Uno — in 2008, the immensely popular hound barked and bayed his way to becoming the only previous beagle to win at the nation’s most prominent dog show. Miss P, however, didn’t let out a peep in the ring. “She is a princess,” handler Will Alexander said. A quiet one, too. Not your normal, everyday, vocal beagle, as most owners can attest. Instead, it was the packed crowd at Madison Square Garden that seemed to loudly gasp when judge David Merriam picked her in a dog show world shocker. Only a half-hour after her win did the 15-inch Miss P, a breed known as “big beagles,” started making a noise. And that was only because her people were giving her treats…
Canadian-born Miss P lives in both Milton and Enderby, British Columbia. Her call name is short for Peyton.”
~ Ben Walker, Beagle Miss P Wins Westminster Dog Show
Image Source: nbcnews.com. Thanks Susan.
Few have looked closely at exactly what happens in a sniff. But recently some researchers have used a specialized photographic method that shows air flow in order to detect when, and how, dogs are sniffing… The sniff begins with muscles in the nostrils straining to draw a current of air into them — this allows a large amount of any air-based odorant to enter the nose. At the same time, the air already in the nose has to be displaced. Again, the nostrils quiver slightly to push the present air deeper into the nose, or off through slits in the side of the nose and backward, out the nose and out of the way. In this way, inhaled odors don’t need to jostle with the air already in the nose for access to the lining of the nose. Here’s why this is particularly special: the photography also reveals that the slight wind generated by the exhale in fact helps to pull more of the new scent in, by creating a current of air over it.
This action is markedly different from human sniffing, with our clumsy “in through one nostril hole, out through the same hole” method. If we want to get a good smell of something, we have to sniff-hyperventilate, inhaling repeatedly without strongly exhaling. Dogs naturally create tiny wind currents in exhalations that hurry the inhalations in. So for dogs, the sniff includes an exhaled component that helps the sniffer smell. This is visible: watch for a small puff of dust rising up from the ground as a dog investigates it with his nose…
We might notice if our coffee’s been sweetened with a teaspoon of sugar; a dog can detect a teaspoon of sugar diluted in a million gallons of water: two Olympic-sized pools full.”
~ Alexandra Horowitz, Inside of a Dog. What Dogs, See, Smell and Know
A remarkable true story of a blind hiker, Bill Irwin, and his 2100 mile journey of faith along the Appalachian Trail with his Seeing Eye dog Orient.
How do you know which way to go?
I don’t. I just follow him.
How does he know?
God leads the Dog. Dog leads me.
SMWI* = Saturday Morning Work-Out Inspiration
This week’s cover of The New Yorker is Mark Ulriksen’s “A Walk in the Snow”:
In his recently published book, “Dogs Rule Nonchalantly,” Ulriksen explains his predilection for painting man’s best friend: “Dogs give you their undivided attention,” he writes. “They watch your every gesture, read your every emotion, listen attentively to every word you say—until they hear the rustle of a bag of chips being opened.” Or, in the winter after a snowstorm, until you open the door to go outside.
Be sure to check out several of Ulriksen’s images of dogs here: Mark Ulriksen’s “A Walk in the Snow”.