Apr 172013

Every year, my small Colorado town holds a super fun dog event called Barker Days at the local pool and ball field.  This is a clever take-off of the town’s signature community event called Parker Days. Yes, because the town is called Parker.

The first year we attended, we had only one dog – Hunter, the Chocolate Labrador Observer.  He lives by a firm policy of never retrieving anything.  He’s considering breaking from societal retriever expectations and starting a new Labrador group called Club Observers.

Hunter the Labrador Observer, fearless water dog

Hunter the Labrador Observer, fearless water dog

Anyway, when we escorted Hunter to Barker Days that first year, he took one look at the pool and ran pellmell, flinging himself into the deep end, which, for the record, is only five feet deep.

Immediately, he sank down.  Barely emerging for breath and with eyes as wide as Frisbees, he sank again.  We had to rescue him.  We reminded him that he was bred to brave ice-cold deeper-than-5-feet ocean waters to help fisherman in Labrador.  He was unimpressed.

He did recover enough from his near-drowning to run around the perimeter of the pool and pee on various bushes and chaise lounge chairs.

Soon he discovered the ball field next door. He spent much of his time there running amok, racing through a big silver tube several times, visiting dog vendor booths, and in true Labrador Observer fashion, barely noticing the 132 Frisbees and tennis balls available for his amusement.  Rule #1 at Club Observers:  never pay attention to objects humans will expect you to chase and retrieve.

A year later we had acquired a second dog, Lacey the Beagle, and she accompanied Hunter to Barker Days.  Hunter remembered his scary pool experience and gave it  a wide berth, instead running around the perimeter and peeing on various bushes and chaise lounge chairs.

Eventually, his doggy daddy was able to coax him into the kiddie pool that was six inches deep and he learned water could be his friend, at least in small amounts.

Meanwhile back at the Beagle ranch, Lacey proved to be completely uninterested in the pools and very interested in the flora, fauna, and food, glorious food.  Food?  Um, yes.  Any dropped and hidden morsel left by some swimmer child, no matter how long ago, is fair game in the Beagle nose world.

Lacey’s nose works much like a metal detector. She can find anything that is even the slightest bit edible, anywhere, anytime.  I’m pretty sure she is no danger of starving should she find herself in any type of wilderness situation including urban, suburban, rural, mountain, or desert.

This year’s Barker Days had more dog-related vendors than ever before.  Both dogs began the event on the pool side, but Hunter quickly made his way to the ball field side full of non-retrievable objects, and vendors, glorious vendors.

Every vendor has treats available to seduce dogs and, by association, owners to visit so they can peddle their fine doggy wares.  Hunter doesn’t care about fine doggy wares.  He cares about dog treats.  He became known as the mooch.  Whenever we couldn’t find Hunter, we simply took a turn through the vendor area, and there he was.  Mooching.

But not retrieving.

Lacey also discovered the numerous treats available from the vendors, but if she couldn’t finagle a treat directly, she simply employed her Beagle nose detector and found stuff to eat anyway.

Daddy carrying Lacey to the pool

Daddy carrying Lacey to the pool

Finally, her doggy daddy picked her up and carried her to the kiddie pool to show here the wonders of water.  She seemed to like it fine, even wagging at him, but then she carefully stepped her way out of the water and sniffed her way back to the vendors, first thoroughly exploring the flora and fauna for aged food bits.

Ah, Barker Days.

We’ll be back.

Apr 032013

I love my little beagle Lacey.  She is the cutest thing on the planet, if I say so myself.  She is lovable and loyal and lively and probably some other L words.  She is fun and fantastic, sometimes frantic and some other, uh…..F words.

But I am not a dog person.

Hold me on this chair, mommy, while I relax completely down

Hold me on this chair, mommy, while I relax completely, becoming a weight roughly 5 times my scale weight

She doesn’t seem to realize this and carries on in great dog fashion with lots of sniffing and panting and shedding.  And eating and pooping and some very unladylike farting (aha, the other F word).  She follows me around, and helps with the laundry, and lies next to me even now as I’m typing. She appears to be attached to me.

She doesn’t realize I am a cat person. Cats are lower maintenance than dogs. That old joke that dogs come when called, but cats take a message and get back to you later holds true.  She doesn’t realize that cats come see you for a minute, get some lovin’, and then go away.  I like that in a cat.

Lacey my beloved beagle is firmly convinced that her mommy was, is, and will always be a die-hard dog lover.  She is so convinced that she routinely feels entirely comfortable crawling under the covers on my side of the bed bringing with her any amount of dirt, sand, and mud.  She is so sure mommy is a dog lover that she races me every night to see who can get to the bed and under the covers faster.  Mommy sometimes loses.  Lacey thinks it’s the funniest thing.  She proves this by suddenly becoming as limp as my hair on a humid day when I try to move her so I can actually lie where I’m supposed to.

Cats can be left alone for a weekend. While they may turn their back on you for a solid 24 hours when you return just to show you they can, it does make impromptu and promptu (promptu?) weekend trips much easier.

Dogs are under the firm belief that all trips in the car must include them and therefore, they are going on all weekend trips.  Aren’t they?

My Lacey will not play with my husband unless I am present in the room.  She will run all the way upstairs, stuffed animal gripped tightly in mouth, to get me and refuses to go back downstairs to play until I see fit to join her and her daddy.

Cats don’t care where you are in the house unless a large, smelly can of tuna is involved.  I like that about cats.

Lacey gets so excited at the prospect of dinner that she does what I call the Dorothy Maneuver – jumps up, twists her little sausage body to the side and clicks her back heels together repeatedly. I have to laugh every time which I’m sure just encourages her even more, my laughter inadvertently training her to do it at every meal.

Kiss me, mommy, wuv you

Kiss me, mommy, wuv you

Lacey loves me.  I love Lacey.  I’m not a dog person.

Here she is now, nosing the side of my leg as I sit at the computer. Apparently, a treat is in order. Or a walk. Or a nap. Just NOT more computer time….please, mommy, please, mommy. Uh oh, she’s pulling out her best persuasive technique…laying her head on my knee and gazing up at me with her doleful brown eyes. Isn’t she sweet? I love my Lacey.

But I’m not a dog person.