Sunday, April 27, 2008

Fun Monday # 11

This Fun Monday is extra fun, because one of my favorite blogs is hosting: The Lurchers. AOJ assigns:

  • All I want you to do is take me on your favourite walk. In words or pictures. Or both of course! Tell me why it's your favourite and point out things of interest on the way.

I've taken you dear readers along on so many walks! As I was leaving a comment on another Fun Monday post, I realised that I am so addicted to walking; I can't imagine my life without it, and if a terrible rainstorm robs me of my walk I feel like I didn't quite have enough air to breathe that day. I'm going to cheat a bit; the following post was from my first week of blogging last September, when I had, oh, two readers (my husband and myself). I think it is perfect for today's assignment, so here it is.

Walk-o-rama in Squirrel City

It is up to me to walk all of the nine dogs this morning. Bill has to go in for some early morning blood tests and he can't have coffee, so he's not going to walk his usual two.This arrangement does not please Delia, who adopted Bill as her Own Human, and the affront of his early morning departure, coupled with the poor substitution of me as her walking companion is nearly too much. To make it even worse, she has to go on the second walk. Humph! Pee-yew to the Inferior Human.

I've been walking the grownups in pairs, although the last walk includes the two yearlings plus Sam I Am. There was a time, back on the farm, when I walked all eight, plus (Saint) Opie the big old black lab, at once. But that was at the farm, and if they took off and dragged my well-padded butt across some plowed field in pursuit of deer, rabbits, ground hogs, or fox, we might emerge bruised and battered, but at least we would emerge. Here, in the city, if they drag me into the street, and there's a truck coming, well it's not a pretty picture.

And then there's the noise factor. We feel compelled to sound the GREAT VERMIN ALERT at the sighting of any squirrel, evil horrible cat, or hairy dog, and we've been known to be fooled by Blowing Trash. And we can make some noise. I have been training them to be quiet by carrying pockets full of treats. If they see any of the Great Vermin subspecies, and they don't bark, they get a treat. It's worked better than any other method I have tried. The 'head bop' method simply taught them to duck while they screamed. And lordy it was a mess when I forgot I had the poop bag in my hand and I bopped Luciano on the head and the poop bag exploded. That was not a good method.

Walking in smaller groups greatly decreases the noise factor, and a pair of dogs doesn't get nearly as riled as a pack of nine.

I did decide to walk in threes this morning. Call me lazy. First three consisted of Giacomino, Maria, and Mama Pajama. The cumulative ages (not counting me) top thirty-six years. Thirteen and a half, twelve and more than a half, and ten and a half. [update: now they are fourteen, thirteen and two months shy of eleven.] That's a lot of dog years. In people years they would be ninety-eight, ninety-one, and seventy-three. In deference to Mama Pajama, we went around two blocks instead of one. On the last leg, a Stupid City Squirrel decided to jump out on the sidewalk ten feet in front of us. Ouch! (Instinct propels the dogs forward playing havoc with my decrepit shoulders.) Good dogs! They regain their brain function and turn to look for their no barking treats. Ouch! Mama Pajama likes a little blood gravy with hers: chomp. I am nonetheless delighted with their restraint.

Then a big treat. Neighbor Lorrie is out in her yard. Lorrie is one of Mama Pajama's Very Favorite People in the Whole World. My little dog wiggles and wags and grins, and praises me for having found Lorrie, and goes back to wagging her delight at Lorrie. Lorrie makes a great fuss over the little sweetheart, and then Lorrie and I catch up.

I have no doubt that I missed the dogs' hints. Lorrie and I were talking away, and I'm quite certain that the dogs were trying to get my attention."You-hoooo??? Hello, idiot Human? Anyone home in la la land? Do you hear that? Do you have a single scent gland in your entire olfactory system? Ears, please?"

"Blah, blah, blah." I was talking to my friend in total oblivion.

So, Mama Pajama sounded the full GREAT VERMIN ALERT.

"Wow," said Lorrie, hands over her ears.

Once a month on the first Saturday at noon, since we live in Tornado country and have a nuclear plant next door, they test the Emergency Alert Siren System. (This can be quite disconcerting to people who have moved here from other parts and don't know it is a test.) The sirens can be heard for miles. They don't hold a candle to Mama Pajama's GREAT VERMIN ALERT.

"Oh, man!" cried Lorrie as blood from her ruptured eardrums trickled through her fingers. "She is loud!"

The Stupid City Squirrel hopped along the telephone wires overhead. I wished he would get electrocuted. (I'm sorry, but I really did.) Giacomino and Maria are head butting me for their treats, because they haven't made a sound. I am mortified as it is only 7:30 in the morning, and this is not at all neighborly.

"Later, Lorrie," I say, dragging the dogs the half a block home. Mama Pajama's eyes are shining; it's been a great morning for her, so far.

Next walk was Mama Pajama's brother Fat Charlie, and the much miffed Delia and her brother Luciano. "Well, it is high time," sniffs Delia. "Second group, indeed. Humph and grumble." But then we're out the gate and heading down the sidewalk and all is forgiven. And there are squirrels everywhere. What is it, National Torment Dogs Day in squirreldom? And I don't help matters. When I see a squirrel or cat as we walk along, I let out an involuntary gasp, usually coupled with an expletive. I can't help it. If the dogs haven't already seen the critter, my gasping and expleting sets them in a fit. They know what it means. In fact, you can sit in the TV room, amid somnolent dog bodies, and I can gasp an expletive and the entire pack will explode and run around looking for vermin. Then they realize they are in the TV room and I have played a joke on them and they shoot me "how could you" looks and try to find a better place to lie down than the one they just vacated.

But the three dogs were fantastic, and I managed to sing songs the whole time to distract myself from gasping and we did fine.

(to the tune of Home on the Range)
Oh give me a home where the squirrellies don't roam
And the sidewalks are all free from prey!
Where the cats stay inside
And the loose dogs all hide
And in peace we would walk everyday...

Only two and a half more miles to go. The third group. I stuffed my pockets full of Really Yummy Treats. I sang. First thing the neighbor's cat comes trotting down the sidewalk towards us. Gasp, expletive, BACK TO SINGING IN A SHOUT:


The dogs, along with the workers on the roof next door, look a little frightened of me. I'm a little frightened of me. I have no effect on the squirrels or cats, alas. We must have passed twenty of them. I handed out treat after treat, and I beamed at the dogs. Good dogs! Wonderful dogs! We pass a couple of hairy dogs and we don't make a sound. My nerves are frazzled to the point where I'm quite positive that you can see sparks flying out the top of my head, the ends of my fingers, and probably out my butt too, but the dogs, bless them, haven't screamed once.

And people say, "It's so nice you can walk with your lovely dogs. Isn't it a great way to relax?"


If you would like to read my other dog walking stories, click HERE. And be sure to visit The Lurchers to read the other Fun Monday participants! And, as always,

hug your hounds


  1. I'm giggling over your walk - those dogs sound like a handful.

    Oh - and I saw that you flew to Oregon in your previous post. Eugene is about 45 minutes from where I live. I wish I could have seen a hotel full of whippets!

  2. Ahhh, the great vermin poised to make the Whippet Walker Old Before Her Time.

    I understand the walking with dogs thing...what does happen to a neuclear reactor in a tornado. That just doesn't sound like a good mix. Has anyone tested it?

  3. LOL! Yes, it's SO relaxing, isn't it?!


  4. That mural is BEAUTIFUL! I mean breath taking.

  5. OMG Patience!! I think I have just wee'd myself laughing!! just have to love them don't you!?

  6. We have some neighbors that walk their dogs in shifts - I have a pretty good visual on this post. Sometimes I have trouble walking one dog - of course, the three kids on scooters don't help out much.

  7. Fortunately I am sitting otherwise I would faint ! 9 dogs to walk ! it would be a nightmare for me, I don't like to walk ! lol ! Fortunately my 5 cats walk themselves in and out the catflap !

  8. OMG! Not sure how you do it with so many dogs. I had a difficult time with just my little poodle. Rest his soul.

    Where is Cesar when you need him?

  9. Yah!! I hear ya!
    Laughin' with ya!~

  10. Yah!! I hear ya!
    Laughin' with ya!~

  11. I think it would be very entertaining to walk with you~ I might need earplugs though !!:)

  12. Have you ever tracked out how far you walk each day? I've always wondered that, since you walk so much. And I bet you stay in good shape/health because of it too!!

    The weather is finally perking up around here. It'll be time to start walks again soon! :D

  13. Mom has to take us for walks one at a time. After her circle around the park, she drops one off at the house and off she goes with another! I think people that are at the park look at her like she's lost her mind when she reappears with a different dog!


  14. too funny Patience...your dogs are gorgeous..

  15. Mom cannot even imagine walking more than 2!! By the way we have not been able to catch that stupid evil pooping cat yet, can some of you come over!?

  16. Well that sounds JUST like our walks,only what we do is PULLLLLLLLL PL2 and then we get so worked up sometimes we get into a fight with each other(that is always a lot of fun and is sure to get an audience! a terrier thing ya know....) i mean WHAT DO THEY EXPECT US TO DO!! It is our job!!! Lov A+A

  17. those lucky lucky dogs.

    and lucky lucky you.

  18. This was indeed a fun read, and play tricks of the pups, I howled with laughter.

  19. That would be quite a walk with those dogs!!

  20. Oh my! How to walk nine whippets so you end up with nine tired--and good--dogs? I remember admiring the flood wall mural. What a pleasant walking path.

    Thanks for the recommendations for Patricia McConnell--I have read Other End of Leash and For Love of a Dog. Learned so much about why dogs behave the way they do and how to read their body language. I began trying Cesar Millan's techniques because Willie was in the red zone a lot. Cesar is becoming more "Hollywood" now, but I did learn a lot about myself and how I affected Willie's behavior from him.

    I remember your post about your son's racing successes and future goals--hope he makes it to the Derby sooner rather than later. Western KY is gaining a reputation for winning horsemen. This afternoon been racking my brain to remember the name of last year's trainer/owner from your neck of woods.

    Excuse this windy comment!

  21. I bow to you - I thought walking two beagles was hard work, but it's really nothing compared to your walks :) Give all your dogs a hug for us!

  22. Mom says you are super talented walking all those pooches like that!

    Mom says she really needs to walk more - I say Woman take me with you!


    PeeS: Can one of you guys come over and teach Paris Rain how to catch those evil squirrels?

  23. HA! I so relate with the Maisenator. She lunges, sniffs, pulls, you name it. Mama O'Neill is the one who is REALLY getting taken for a walk! I love it though. Nothing better than being outside with yer dog.

    P.S. I had a good belly laugh with Lindy Loo being Angelina...mostly from your GACK reaction!

  24. That squirrel looks delicious! My brother and I go crazy for those little tree lobsters.

    I'm jealous that there are so many pups there! I wish my humans would adopt 10 more buddies for me to play with. I LOVE wrestling like a mad man with other puppies. But they tell me that the bark park will have to do for now...

    Keep up the good work and keep those little tasty squirrels under control!

  25. Hi, thanks for dropping by our blog.

    What a great idea for a post - kudos to The Lurchers.

    Every morning Jake and I run the gauntlet of what I call Squirrel Alley, so I know how the squirrel-walks can pan out. :-)

    Gus n Jake

  26. Your walks sound like an adventure. It is a good thing that you like to walk. Your dogs must keep you quite busy as well as fit.

  27. I walk 2 at once and think I'm quite the "Dianna" for pulling that off. I don't worry so much about the ruckus that is raised by a squirrel, but it is embarrassing to have to face the bicycle riders who, shaking and pale faced ask me just what is up with my dogs! Oh, how they fear we shall be killed by a bike.

    'Tis a better day, I've had my Patience fix.

  28. Patience
    Am I considewed a Vewmin????EEEK!
    I hope not....
    I love you
    smoochie kisses

  29. I'm pretty sure I could find my way around Paducah without a map.... :-)


  30. Wow! I can't imagine walking so many dogs! :) I am amazed at how many of you do walk so many large dogs. :) You should be in great shape and I love your song. :)

  31. I just discovered your comment on my 'Memorable Moment' Fun Monday from the previous week and followed the link back here to your wonderful walk. Like you I'm 'addicted' to walking ... but might have difficulty with NINE dogs ... even in pairs ;--)

    I love the 'stories' in this delightful post. You certainly have a way with words and I'm glad we've discovered one another through Fun Monday. I shared my own 'beach walk' with Molly this past Monday at Small Reflections. We're fortunate to have a Dog Beach where she can run free and play with others ... and being a Labrador, she loves both!

    Hugs and blessings,

  32. Oh, your walk, at least the last one is reminiscent of when mother walks the 3 of us. She is quite frazzled when we return, and is happy we live in the country where we can run around the our backyard, instead.


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