Tuesday, May 11, 2010

A dogs best friend?

Lucy is not impressed at all! In fact it is quite fair to say that Lucy is decidedly not a happy bunny and needless to say it is my entire fault, I mean who else’s could it possibly be? You see it is that time of year, you know the one, the annual visit to the vets for a check up and her booster injections. Thing is though I really don’t think that the old smelly one understands the need for the vet to prod and probe her, ask me searching questions about her diet (don’t mention the ditch water), her exercise (please don’t mention the ditch water), her general temperament and any habits (ok so I mention the ditch water and her resulting, less than perfumed, farts), nor the fact that she gets a bloody great needle stuck in her (her words, not mine). To be honest the whole episode was a lot more painful for me than for her, have you seen the cost of going to the vets these days?? The upshot was that Lucy is in rude health for her age apart from perhaps the earliest signs of arthritis showing in her hind legs which is more than can be said for the health of my wallet which has since been on oxygen. Worms? the vet inquired, no I’m giving them up I replied, no has she been wormed recently (with not even the slightest twitch of a smile) the young vet retorted. How come is it that people that I’m supposed to look to for guidance and respect (you know; coppers, vets, lawyers, bank robbers…..) all seem to be five years old, I mean how the hell can some snotty little so n so command respect and authority from one such myself when they look like they need their hands holding to cross the road? Bugger now I’m sounding like me dad. Any way back to the ever thickening plot, with some gusto. So with it being over 6 months since the smelly one had indeed been evacuated of worms I found myself driving home with a disgruntled ‘mans best friend’, a feather light wallet (sure she said her second name was Turpin!) and a worming tablet that I think was intended for Godzilla! Lucy watched me with the ever slightest bit of distrust as I wrapped said horse pill in half a pound of mature cheddar cheese, which was well founded as for the next few minutes an epic battle between man and beast ensued in finally man triumphed with one wormed dog giving me some baleful glances from the depths of her pit to say the least.

So as a bridge building exercise this morning I arose extra early, loaded the fun cruiser up with my gear and a now wagging and expectant Lucy, and headed for the trails in what could only be described as slightly inclement conditions (rain, wind and 5 degrees centigrade showing on the fun cruiser’s dash board!). But let not it be said that I’m one for going back in the face of adversary, in any case I was being pressurised from the back of the car by a distrustful hound. So we ploughed on forth till along our journey, fraught and wearisome and with many a danger, to arrive unscathed but the temperature now reading 2 degrees and the rain looking rather like snow! at our destination.

To be honest the snow petered out as we unloaded ourselves and headed upwards on the trail. Even though it was cold the effect of the rain/snow stopping brought forth a symphony of song from a multitude of birds in the surrounding trees which really does lift a person’s spirits, well if it doesn’t then I’m afraid you’re beyond help my friend! As we ambled along more secluded paths that rarely feel the footfall of man on their pine covered surface I actually began to notice more of the struggle of life and death that is constantly weaving its web here in the wilder areas. Firstly I noticed the fruit forming on the low lying bilberry bushes, it looks as if there will be a bumper crop this September which generally means that fox crap will be easier to spot on the paths (bright purple when the bilberries are been taken by them).

The morning sun had not risen high enough to melt the traces of snow that had been left clinging to tree branches and Lucy soon became sodden as she forced her way under and passed them causing the branches to whip back and soak my legs (Mmmm still thinking ‘bout the vets eh?).

 As we traipsed onwards more and more woodland plants were doing their utmost to attract passing insects to disperse their valuable stores of pollen to others of their kin, what with the flowers and the bird chorus you really could feel the joy of life bursting from the woods.

But there’s always the dark side (remember what happened to Luke’s dad, Mr. Vader?). We turned a corner around some thin rowan trees when I noticed what could only be described as a miniature tumble weed blowing towards us. Reaching it before the inquisitive Lucy it became apparent that it was a perfectly round ball of rabbit hair and a few yards further on the path, at the base of a tree, the remains of bugs could be seen. Now you all know that I’m a bit of an infant at this outdoors thingy but my guess is that I was standing underneath a raptors feeding perch, possibly one of the buzzards which frequent the area.

As the trail widened out another piece of nature’s dark side caught my eye, this time I think that there had been a case of mistaken identity. The body in question was that of a common shrew whilst signs of its attacker there was none of. Why mistaken identity? Well what small pool of knowledge that I have tells me that the shrew is inedible to most predators due to a stifling musky taste given off by the little critter, i.e. once tasted, never forgotten. So I think that this hapless little chap was mistaken for a mouse or taken by a young, inexperienced hunter.

Even more evidence of a busy time for the hunters soon came to light, this time a handful of racing pigeon feathers scattered across the path. How do I know that it was a racing pigeon and not a woody? Elementary my dear Watson, one of the feathers had what I first thought to be blood upon it, but looking closer it was soon gleaned that in fact it was a printed telephone number off an unfortunate raging pigeon’s flight feather. (I only knew what the number meant after an e-mail to my pigeon fancying friend, Vince, this afternoon.) I would guess that this bird was probably have been taken by a peregrine falcon as I've been lucky enough to spot one a couple of times recently here about, this and the fact that there were just a few 'impact' feathers lying around.

After these signs of death there was one more item that caught my eyes, half a pigeon egg shell. I’m hoping that it’s the waste cleared from a nest by a concerned parent bird and not the remains of a Jay’s dinner.

The remainder of the walk passed by uneventfully with the last remnants of the snow finally giving in to the sun’s warmth. Like everything else, there’s always light and dark, balance that’s what it be. 

And Lucy? well I think that she enjoyed herself.

So we arrived home with me feeling that perhaps I’d done enough to earn Lucy’s forgiveness, I dried the sodden mess off and even let her have the fat off me bacon butty. But then this evening I blew it. It was time for her run on the patch of common ground just down from the bungalow. This involves me throwing her favourite toy (a softish ball attached to a length of rope) for fifty yards a go until my arm drops off or Lucy collapses (yep its always the arm), but tonight I blew it, sending the toy sailing into somebody’s back garden. Now normally I’d hot foot it around and grovel until said toy was returned, but the sound of greenhouse glass breaking had the desired effect of me hot footing it in the opposite direction. Now I know that’s not right, and tomorrow I’ll go around and offer to repair the damn thing but for now I truly am the most hated dog owner Lucy’s ever had (I’m the only owner for that matter) and I really am the subject of a good many stares, ah well there’s always tomorrow, i mean what else could go amiss......

Till the next time take care,

Your friend,


Le Loup said...

Excellent post my friend, most enjoyable.

Shoreman said...

Hey John. You have interesting trips. The only thing I can come up with, is after the agony and devistation of going to the, I won't use the V word in case Lucy's reading over your shoulder, she deserved a day mucking through the woods. I know it made her feel better and got rid of some of you guilt. Thanks for the story.


Deus Ex Machina said...

I get very excited, much like Lucy I would guess, when I find the types of clues you describe. Not long ago, while wandering, I found a complete oppossum skull with part of the neck attached. There are still a few leathery bits attached, but I carted it back home. Then the fun began of trying to identify it ... who knew so many animal skulls look so familiar?

Anonymous said...

As always, great post my friend. I look forward to your posts and your adventures in the outdoors with Lucy. I am sure she will forgive you soon. You will just have to work a little harder to get her back on your good side!

Murphyfish said...

Le Loup,
Glad you enjoyed my tale of woe my friend. It’s inspiration from the likes of your good self that is making me become much more aware of what’s around me when I’m ‘out there’.

Hi Mark,
Think that I may still be in the dog house (though not for long!) glad that you enjoyed the trip.

Nice to see a new face, must say that I really enjoy your blog. And yes the detective work is all part of my learning curve whilst trying to fit in when ‘out there’

Hi Mel,
As always your comments cheer me up no end my friend. As for forgiveness, well I may well have just cracked that little chestnut, I’ll put a picture up to explain all.

Blessed said...

Ah - glass breaking on the greenhouse, that sounds like the kind of thing that always happens to me :)

My two four-legged boys don't like going to the vet either, fortunately we've found an old, grouchy country vet who is great with animals, not so great with people, but he doesn't lighten the wallet nearly as bad as the rest of the vets around here do. So we put up with his grumpiness and our dogs are well cared for!

Thank you so much for dropping by my blog.

Leigh said...

Awe, Poor John... Lucy has learned to master the art of a guilt trip much like how my Sam will shun me after I fuss at him but after all can you blame them? Who can resist those sad pouty eyes!?
Great story... Very interesting about your pigeon feather.

Murphyfish said...

Hi Blessed,
Ah the high n lows of man’s best friend, to be honest my vets aren’t too expensive compared to some horror stories that have drifted through via other dog owners, it’s just that everything seems to cost more these days whilst wages stay stagnant. Oh and it’s certainly not a chore reading your blog, there’s a few who could learn from it (including myself!)

Hi Leigh,
Glad that you enjoyed my tale of mis adventure, I think that Lucy has decided to ‘let sleeping dogs lie’ so to speak so I think that the bribe of a new toy may just have worked. Although I’m sure that she’ll find reason to have some scepticism in my motives and deeds in the future!

Tovar Cerulli said...

Hi John - Sorry to have been absent of late. A crazy few weeks!

I was struck by the image of the numbers on the pigeon feather. If I had come across such a thing, I certainly would have been stumped!

Murphyfish said...

Hi Tovar,
It happens to the best of us, I myself feel that at the moment things are just plain crazy with no sign of slacking off. As for the pigeon feather I had to confirm it with my friend Vince, luckily he's raced pigeons for many a long year so he was able to clarify the mystery straight away. Glad that your back commenting.

waldlaeufer68 said...

ein super Bericht , es kommt mir bekannt vor die Geschichte mit dem Tierazt..;-))
es macht richtig spaß bei dir durch den Blog zu stöbern und die Bilder und Geschichten zu lesen..
Wir haben eine Jack Russel Terrier Dame und haben sehr viel spaß mit ihr...


Viele Grüsse aus Deutschland

P.S. tolle Action mit Harry.. haben gleich gespendet für eine gute Sache;-))

a great report, it is known to me before the story of the Tierazt ..;-))
It is truly a pleasure for you to browse through the blog and read the stories and pictures ..
We have a Jack Russell Terrier lady and have a lot of fun with it ...


Many greetings from Germany

P.S. great action with Harry .. have equally donated to a good cause;-))