06 October 2007

Canine Instincts

The other day the Disreputable Dog and I were on our way for our usual evening walk in the woods. I was lost in thought, decompressing from the day, and wasn't paying particularly close attention to my surroundings when suddenly the Disreputable Dog came to a complete stop. His nose stretched up as far as it could, every muscle taut as the string of a bow, one foot paused in mid-step. This brought me to a halt behind him as well. "What's up?" I asked him. In response he tucked his tail down and turned heal back the way we came. I stared at him for a moment then followed suit. I thought perhaps he take another loop but he headed completely out and away towards home. I didn't question him - there's not a lot that gives him pause but I figure if he sensed something we didn't want to mess with he had his reasons. I tried to think of what would make him act like that - a young black bear or moose wouldn't make him react like that. I could only guess that maybe there was an old grizzly or perhaps a wolverine up the trail. But whatever it was, I wasn't over eager to find out after watching the body language of the Disreputable Dog.

So instead we headed over to the shoreline which has been abandoned by all the RVs and campers. The evening was so still that I could hear the rasp of teeth as a sea otter chewed on a mollusk, hear the clinking as it broke the shell open. The quiet, soulful eyes of a seal peered over the lip of the water starring at us while a playful group of young juvenile male Steller seal lions got up to mischief further up the coast. The Disreputable Dog was playful, tossing sticks in the air and sniffing at the dead fish, gallivanting through the fallen leaves as if he had gotten a reprieve, the cold nipping at our cheeks. I am grateful to the Disreputable Dog for his company, for his alertness when I am less then I should be, for his light playfulness at the end of long days, for always being willing to go on a walk.


  1. Maybe disreputable dog has earned a new adjective :~)

    The loyalty and attentiveness of pets is such a blessing. I know my life would be lonely without the two miscreants who race me to the food bowl every morning. I complain to them and about their neediness, but I like to be needed.

  2. Praise the Lawd for the wuppies! I have two that fill my life with joy every day. Your tour of duty sounds beautiful and very far from my high desert prairie... ain't no snow here!...YET. I was snowed in for 11 days last year, go figure.

  3. Your guardian he is. Good beast. He kept you both safe.

  4. good dog.

    I saw otters yesterday. At an aquarium. I am jealous of your otter experience. ;)

  5. Enjoyed your verbal sketch of the delights of the woods.
    I walk with my dog Penny in the Australian bush when I am in the mountains and there is a wonderful flat isolated walk that goes for thirty kilometres along the side of a mountain. I love it but Penny doesn't.
    It's the only place we go where she will lag behind me. I usually manage to go for about a half-hour before the creepiness of her behaviour overcomes me and I turn back. She races ahead of me all the way back. Weird.
    It has creeped me out so much I don't got there even though it is the only long off-lead walk that we can do.
    I know the area has some 'land-slip' areas around there. It's the only thing I can think of that might account for her behaviour. Maybe she hears minute movements in the ground that I am unaware of.

  6. If I could, I would own a stableful of dogs. I love them, and when I am out of town and call home, my second question to my BF is usually "how is my peanut?"

    A wolverine would have been scary - I have never seen one, but have heard tales of their ferocious nature.

  7. it's amazing, the world of living that exists all around us and we miss out on all the time. DD was on that wavelength for the both of you.

  8. Where you are sounds amazing, and the description of Disreputable Dog's antics made me smile!

    My deepest sympathies for your recent losses.

  9. Always trust the dog's sixth sense - glad you skirted the danger! Lovely blog - enjoying catching up with your snowy life...

  10. A wanderers best friend.
    Very good.

    I could almost be there, smelling the sea on the cold air, listening to it wash ashore, hearing the activities of those animals that live within and around it... almost...

    Thank you.

    Scarlett & Viaggiatore

  11. ms chica ~ ah, the Disreputable Dog has many adjectives but if I used them all you'd think I had a pack instead of just the one.

    doris rose ~ my first thought when I visited your blog 'I recognize that landscape!'.

    crazymumma ~ he's the bestest.

    maypole ~ sea otters or river otters? They are clever buggers, and make life difficult for aquarium staff.

    parlance ~ welcome! You know, I do believe your Penny does know something you don't. I think we lost some of our ability to sense the natural world a long time ago and the bustle of every day life often removes us even more.

    qt ~ yeah, wolverines and badgers are the tanks of the animal world. I wouldn't cross one. I've seen wolverines bring down mountain sheep by clamping their mouths over the sheep's nose and mouth and hanging on until the animal suffocated to death. And the sheep is like 5 times the size of one.

    jen ~ indeed he was, thankfully. I'm not usually that far behind him but some days I need him to keep me out of trouble.

    mad hatter ~ welcome & thank you for your sympathies.

    hannah ~ welcome to you too! I'm glad you like the blog.

    scarlett ~ you could?? Oh good! I love it when I succeed at that.


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