Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The mystery of that 'magical' patch of grass and more ...

Hello there!

I suppose what I've observed as the Dog Woods Pack idiosyncrasies is possibly common to most dogs.

I've often wondered about that 'magical' patch of grass that seem to draw the entire pack to have a good roll in that one particular spot of the lawn.  What is it about that patch of grass that deserves extra 'rolling' attention from the dog to the rest of the lawn?  Interestingly enough, that patch is never always at the same place.  It's here, it's there ... sometimes it's no where!

So what is it about that magical grassy patch?  The smell?  Age poo?  What? It's not exactly foul smelling (yes, I've even bothered to take a closer whiff to unearth the mystery of that magical grassy patch).  I've not quite figured that out yet ... it's possibly something that's beyond most human senses.  Possibly some dried up worm or long dead bug ... maybe even bird poo ...

Anyone got a good guess?

Then there's the question of their eye sight.  How far or short sighted they are.  I can't quite decide whether Joe the Rottweiller whom I play fetch with almost every evening is short sighted or long .... while seems to detect thrown objects fairly well.  He seems to be able to predict it's thrown trajectory very accurately ... yet when he momentarily loses it (like his ball for example) he seems to miss the toy even if it's hidden right in front of him.  Instead of sight he relies on his sense of smell to sniff out his missing toy.  He doesn't seem to notice that I'm pointing out his toy to him ...

Yesterday night, Joe fell into fairly large uncovered drain right outside the house.  I thought he would have seen it had he not been blinded by my car headlights.  Perhaps a dog's sight don't adjust quite as quickly when they are stared with sudden bright lights.  It was a good thing Joe was unhurt and was able to hop back out of the drain (it wasn't very deep).  I was a little concern though - I heard a distinct thud.  And most thuds are usually painful.

Trixie, Anna and the Furkids on the other hand are fairly long sighted dogs.  Something or someone running from a distant and they pick it up and give chase.  I've seen them give chase many times to squirrels scampering across the telephone wires above (yes our wires are still 'hung' on poles, not buried underground in most developed places) or birds strutting about on the branches above ....not that the pups can fly but they can't help but create a fuss anyway...

While the basset hounds - their nose makes up for any short sightedness (which I don't think they suffer from).  Even the tiniest morsel of delicious smelling food they're able to pick up.  You can tell they know you have something yummy in hand when their nose start twitching.  It's all quite amusing to observe.

The thing about all members of the pack is their super charged hearing.  They'd come running expectantly - no matter how far away, they here any packaging being rustle!  It's almost hilarious.  Sometimes a false alarm - since I do come home every now and again with bags of groceries.  They've since come to associate the rustling of packets with treats!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

The new year and bangs in the nights ...

Hello!  Happy New Year!

Time sure flies.  First the flurry of Christmas festivities ... then it slips into the new year.  And now in a matter of a week it'll be February!

February will not be a good time for the dogs - possibly the worst.  Chinese New Year (CNY) - make the Dog Woods Pack shiver with fear.


Them blasted fire-crackers that most celebrating household play with relish.  It doesn't help either that firecracker supplies can be found in abundance - most would enthusiastically set one or two strips off now in January! (can you believe the 'enforcement' - or lack of BANNED items!)

Which explains why Trixie's already complaining now (she's whining to me a lot more these days) and you can see her trying to get into the same room as I am whenever she 'feels' one is about to be set off!  The poor girl is going to be down right miserable come the CNY!

Now what's this about firecrackers and the chinese new year?  It's got to do with scaring away evil spirits (you'd scare me and the Dog Woods Pack away too even if the dogs and I are half Chinese! ;)  !) and to usher in the new year.

It's the 'playing' or firecrackers that is deemed fun which explains the enthusiastic sporadic bursts of loud bangs over the evenings leading up to the chinese new year which Trixie particularly is unhappy about and which I've put up with living here.

Anna (the other perky ear-ed member) seems unperturbed - mainly because she's kept in her crate in the evenings after those few violent confrontations she's had with Trixie.  There's something quite comforting about lying low in the cosy confines of one's crate when there are loud scary noise to deal with (am quite glad Anna is not scared of storms nor the rest of the Dog Woods Pack).  Trixie on the other hand seems to be working up some kind of whiny anxiety every time it pours the older she gets (for some unfanthomable reason).  Thankfully, not as bad as what I've seen with Donny (the rehomed German Shepherd) who'd get restless and refuse to eat.  

While the rest would barkingly howl or protest after each loud bangs.  The puppies who are not quite puppies anymore, seem to have develop some cautious reservations about those loud bangs in the nights. Hopefully  none of their reactions would be as anxious as Trixie's - that  Belgian Malinois is known to climb fences to get into where you are when firecrackers are let off!  I suppose their floppy basset hound-y ears help in a way by shield their highly sensitive ears from all manners of loud pops.

CNY eve is one very loud and long bursts of firecrackers (some sounding more like dynamite blasts) all set off in unison just before the stroke of midnight.   Imagine the extent of most (with the exception of this household) households thorough out the city setting off firecrackers!  It's not only deafeningly loud, it's smoky, smelling of burnt gun powder and whatever that's in those crackers and fireworks that's permeates the air till dawn!  Not at all environmentally friendly exercise I'd say and the dogs would be positively cowering!  :P

So wish us all luck with coping with all those loud bangs in the nights.
  Interestingly enough, the first day of the CNY celebration falls on Valentine's day!  Talk about double whammy for them doggies.  Good thing, they don't know what Valentine's day is all about ... else they'd have even more to be complaining about!