Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Pooch Plunge

Here's how it started.

I saw an ad for a fund-raiser for Nashville Public Television (NpT). It said bring your dog and swim all day at Nashville Shores. It sounded like fun. I can't remember the exact date, sometime in September. The forecast called for rain that day and organizers (basically) wimped out at the last minute and postponed the thing. It was stormy that week so I'm sure they thought no one would come. Anyway, they forgot to call me and Stella so we drove thirty minutes only to find a sign at the gate that said they'd rescheduled it to October 17. Come back then, it said. The weather cleared and we went walking at a different part of the lake that day. We splashed but we did not plunge.

The morning of October 17 it was cool and rainy. I checked the (Nashville Shores) website to make sure the event was still on and it said that it was. Seems I should've checked Twitter or the NpT website - two weeks earlier. We missed the memo. Again, we drove thirty minutes and again they were closed. Not a dog in sight.

So we broke in.
It just seemed like the thing to do. Trespass. With a Pit Bull.

We took a walking tour. We shot some pictures. We saw two deer and chased a few geese. We barked our asses off at some little concrete fishermen. We did not support public television (that day), nor did we plunge.

Next year.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Weekend escapade

There are a couple of ways to get Stella's undivided attention. One of those ways involves messing with her personal stuff. It didn't take long for her to figure out that if I take her crate apart, it's something serious. While I'm sure there were visions of corn dogs dancing in her head it turned out, we had a party invitation from my old friend Marian and Stella's soon-to-be friend Belle. This involved a three hour drive from Nashville to Knoxville and an overnight stay.

When we arrived, we all met up in the driveway for introductions. I'm happy to report that initially, things went well. We'll revisit that word, "initially" in a little while. Stella was excited but well-behaved and Belle being the smaller of the two, was a welcoming (and tolerant) hostess. I say tolerant because once inside, Stella managed to round up and begin chewing on every single toy in the house. Rather than engage in some unladylike physical confrontation, Belle chose the high road and raided Stella's food supply - knocking back two zip-lock protected servings in under five minutes. Her execution was brilliant.

The following morning we put both dogs into the back yard hoping they might play together. I should add, we don't have a fenced in yard so Stella's never been left outside alone before. She's not clear on what to do so she spent much of the next hour crying at the gate and feeling abandoned by her pack which (technically) she was. After breakfast, we decided to bring the dogs back in and go for a walk at a nearby greenway but when we went outside we realized that Stella had orchestrated some type of escape. Before I had a chance to be thoroughly traumatized by this little piece of news, Stella came barreling around the side of the house to reunite our pack. Belle meanwhile, romped around the neighborhood for the next hour smelling stuff, hunting squirrels and all manner of hound dog activity. An hour I spent, mostly thanking God that my own dog hadn't run off in a strange city.

Here's a photo of Stella and her new friend Belle looking slightly pitiful but very well-lit, prior to their offense. Saturday was National Pitbull Awareness Day. We missed the parade (if there was one) but feel free to help us spread the word; Pitbulls are precocious and grand.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Stick Hunter (the underwater edition)

So..I guess her eyes are open right? This isn't an illusion created by the camera either. She stayed under the water searching for something like six or eight seconds (it was all I could do not to call out her name). She finally came up with a stick and ran like hell in every directions before she finally slung it out of reach and went back in for something else.

Today we took neighbor Judy to a doctor's appointment at local hospital where people were using Stella to soothe a crying baby from a third floor window. Eventually the baby and her grandparents came outside to meet us in person and Stella (after some random craziness) licked the baby pretty much from head to toe. Shame I didn't get a picture of that. We also passed some time with a mom whose son was getting his second round of chemotherapy. She actually gave me an idea about getting Stella a job as a sort of indirect therapy dog - because moms and other family members need some support occasionally too. I wonder if you have to be certified for that. I guess it wouldn't hurt to just go back up there and ask.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Crash and Splash

Not having had a great deal of experience with dogs, I had no idea they could (or would for that matter) run at full speed through standing water, biting it continuously the whole way through. I tried to capture this sport on film but was unsuccessful in my attempts. Something to do with her running and my laughing. Oh, and four-foot rooster tails of rain water splashing all over me and the camera. While those variable affected my performance, they only served to enhance hers.

Now that we've been using a thirty-foot leash for training purposes, this field is one of Stella's favorite places to walk when when it's been raining. It's like a giant Slip n'Slide. Sometimes, instead of attack mode, she'll get running and throw herself into the ground chest first, skidding through the puddles all the way to the end. Turns out that leash has some entertainment value as well. She was pretty much wet the entire month of September.