Sunday, January 5, 2014

Best Friends...

Den of the Beastly Bear

 I look out my back door at the freshly fallen shroud of snow, at the beauty nature provides and I have to smile.

 I smile because it makes me think of old friends, best friends...and what the snow meant to them.

 Our first "Best Friend", Kathy and I rescued when she was abandoned by her family when they moved.
We named her Suzie.

Suzie was about 8 months old when she came into our lives. Matted and dirty, thin and hungry we took her in and made her "our" dog even before our wedding.

Our Vets best guess was she was a cross between a long haired Dachshund and a Shetland Sheepdog.
 Her stubby legs and long hair were ill-equipped for snowfalls over a couple inches. So as a good Daddy I would have to go out and shovel an area in the yard for her to do her business in. Suzie was a "girlie dog" she liked it best inside, cuddling with us so romping in the snow was not her thing!
Sadly we lost Suzie in January, right after the first of the year. She ran out in front of a car.

 Devastated, it was February before we decided to get another dog. I did a little homework and decided we needed an Australian Shepherd. At the time the breed was uncommon around here so when I saw an add in the paper(that's "Newspaper" kiddies, that's where the classifieds were before the internet and Craig's list) I made the call and set up an appointment.

 Long story short, Tasha became our second best friend. She was tri-colored and had a docked tail, and LOVED the outdoors! She'd romp and play, spin and jump...snow was a great thing for a puppy to play in!
Now, those of you unfamiliar with the breed may not know how incredibly smart they are, and Tasha was no exception. But those are stories for another day.
As it applies to this post, her intelligence became her own worst enemy!

 You see, being a puppy in winter...all she knew of the outdoors was the snow and the cold. It was where she played, but more importantly where she relieved herself. 

She furthermore learned relieving herself anywhere else was unacceptable to her parents! So then, what is an intelligent dog to do when spring arrives and the snow starts to melt?!? 

Well, if you were Tasha and you KNEW you were supposed to make only on the snow, that's what you an ever diminishing area. Until there was not but a patch of snow barely a foot around. Watching her try to get all four feet on this little patch of snow, without falling was comical as hell!!!! Out of necessity she eventually discovered ANYWHERE outside was ok.

 Then as the seasons changed and winter rolled around again, we got our first snowfall of the season.

When I let her out, she took about 4 steps out the door turned and looked at me for a second. I tell you now folks, the sheer joy written on that furry face was unmistakable!!! She took off at full speed, tearing around the yard, spinning in circles....she rolled in it, tasted it. Every time throughout that winter, every time I'd let her out she'd do the same thing. For the rest of her life, the first snow of winter brought the same ritual, even as arthritis crippled her body...the spirit was still willing! For 16 years, she blessed our lives.

 Our current best friend Mocha was a shelter rescue.
She's a 70 lb. goofball, nowhere near as smart as Tasha but the biggest heart of any dog I've ever known! She's 9 now, and still displays the enthusiasm of a puppy at EVERY snowfall. Her big thing...eating the snow!!!

Every time we let her out, she steps out onto the patio, surveys her domain and eats about 4 mouthfuls of snow before running around the yard like a terror!!!
She just makes me smile!

But remember folks, as much as our furry friends enjoy the outdoors...exercise a little moderation!
Those of you that keep your dogs outside, make sure they have a dry place to rest, with straw, out of the wind. And when it gets really cold, BRING THEM IN!!!

50 minutes later

Just got back in from helping Katie get her car unstuck from the driveway and running the snowblower! Seems she can still teach her old man a life lesson or two! Namely : TAKE CARE OF YOUR RESPONSIBILITIES BEFORE YOU SET DOWN TO PLAY!
Thanks for the reminder Bug!
Got about 6" so far, another 5-6" predicted!!! I was putting it off a little until we got more, as I don't just do ours. I have elderly neighbors across the street, and kitty corner a couple of retired teachers. Like Tasha, the spirit's willing but it's just getting to be too much for them!

Well, time for the Beastly Bear to hibernate for a couple hours, until it's time to do it all again!

On squirrel patrol.
Enjoying the snow.

Be Well Folks, 
Beastly Bear


  1. What a great story.. Aren't our furry family members the best? I have been very fortunate, every pup I've ever had has LOVED the snow as much as me, which makes walks much more enjoyable, we both have fun! - I'm so jealous of your snow.. And it makes me smile that you're a good neighbor. I've had a couple of those a time or two and you are a God send, believe it. :)

    1. Thanks MiMi, I just love the simple joy they experience!!!
      I try to help as best I can. Used to snow blow my divorced next door neighbor's driveway too, until her boys became teenagers and she got a live in boyfriend and her own snow blower. And guess who does it?!? HER!!! Those men should ALL be ashamed of themselves!!!

  2. Thanks for sharing! Brought to memory some furry best friends from my past! So much fun watching them enjoy the snow!! And high five to you for helping out your neighbors!! Unfortunately, don't see that too much any more!

    1. When I bought my big 10hp snow thrower I promised myself to help my neighbors out when ever I could.