The Wee Beastie Has Been Immortalized in Watercolors…

15 11 2010

As if it wasn’t cool enough that one of my cousins took some fantastic photographs of the Wee Beastie last winter…

Snowbeard…A friend of my mom’s used one of the photographs as the basis for a watercolor.  Imagine my surprise when I awoke to this picture of the completed piece…

Priceless!





Happy Rock Your Rabbit Ears’ Day!

4 04 2010


The Wee Beastie Bunny wishes you and yours Joy, Peace, Hope, and Love.





Wee Welsh Beastie. Birthday Boy.

1 04 2010

Around 5 years ago I had to make the really heartbreaking decision to say goodbye to sweet Iron-Will Kate, the aireheaded Airedale. I let a nearly a year pass mourning her loss with Ivan the Great and Terrible, the world’s most caring black cat-dog. Ivan had been with me through the loss of two dear pooches and one sweet, if aloof, cat-cat.

We spent evenings and weekends that year curled up together, him insisting on some part of him touching me at all times, while we looked at books on dog breeds. Lots and lots of books on dog breeds. I gave myself a year to be dog-free, mainly because I felt that I’d not allowed enough time between losing Kipper my heart dog, and bringing Katie into the fold. I felt I’d been hard on her, expecting a big, goofy, leggy, but ridiculously loving Airedale to be like my laid back, sensitive, ball of love Sheltie. No dog will ever be capable of filling Kipper’s paw prints and it was wrong of me to expect that of her. Eventually we worked it all out and I found that she was no Kipper, but she was one hell of a Katie. She constantly amazed me with her clown-like quirkiness as much as she amazed me her protectiveness.

After I lost Kipper, I left Shelties, mainly because I knew there would never be another like him and I’d constantly be comparing them to him. He was bigger than most, calmer than all, and had the great Roman nose of a Collie. After Katie, however, I wanted another Airedale. Badly. I knew it was impractical. Her size was off-putting to people regardless of how sweet, loving, and gentle she was. She didn’t get to go to as many places as Kipper because of her size and after having to carry Kipper around after he lost his leg to cancer, it struck me the night that I lost Katie that if she hadn’t been able to walk into the vet’s office on her own I wouldn’t have been able to carry her.

Life with both beloveds taught me what I did and didn’t want in a dog. Not big on shedding, big on walking/hiking, definitely loveable. Ivan and I looked through book after book slowly narrowing the field, but we were still left with quite a list! I also kept coming back time and again to Airedales.

I discussed all my options with friends, getting feedback, discussing the positives and negatives of each one. Imagine the feeling the day I found the book with what at first glance made me think AIREDALE! Welsh Terrier. So Welsh Terrier went to top of list along with Irish Terrier, Lakeland Terrier, Wirehaired Fox Terriers (seeing a trend?).

I figured I had it all figured out (and said as much to all I encountered), I wanted a puppy because I had lost 3 dear animals in too short a period of time. So my plan was to get a puppy in the spring and pass on those 3 AM potty breaks in freezing temps! I was SO sure of myself and yet at the same time there were a couple things I hadn’t considered: a) every animal that had been a part of my life FOUND me, not the other way around so I wasn’t sure how that would work with a puppy, b) I knew I needed to find a breeder, but I hadn’t QUITE settled on a BREED, and c) I was running out of time in order to ‘My Plan’.

Best dinner discussion EVER involved me outlining my (in my mind) well thought out plan, when I was met with a heart stopping question, “if you are planning on getting puppy sometime in the spring have you found a breeder yet? A puppy old enough to be able to be with you by then would need to be born any day now”.

WHAT?

The ‘Planner’ was completely stumped.

Hadn’t settled on BREED yet (though WTs did keep floating to top of mental list), I hadn’t even looked at breeders yet, and THEN that doesn’t even take into account that they would have to have puppies on the way!

As it turned out, my landlord was a Scottish Terrier Breeder and she gave me some good advice…there was a dog show in town that weekend. She suggested that I go walk around the show, seek out the short list of breeds, talk to the breeders, and meet the dogs. I walked around that arena for two hours. Irish Terrier?Check, but no. Lakeland? Check, but no. Wirehaired Fox? Check, but only maybe. I was still hung on my attraction to an Airedale in a more ‘travel-friendly’ size so where was that Welsh Terrier anyway? No where to be found.

I left the arena feeling completely defeated. I got into my Jeep, crying a bit wondering how my puppy would be able to find me if I couldn’t find the puppies? I put car into reverse, looked in rear view mirror, and almost stroked out. There, perfectly centered in my rear view mirror, was a Welsh. Terrier. Puppy. Obviously I was delirious and seeing things.

I threw the car into park, jumped out, and ran like a crazy woman across the parking lot towards the puppy. The handler was on the phone, but I managed to eek out if it was indeed a WT and could I please, please, please play with her a little. Click. Decision was made. I wanted to be a Welsh Terrier Momma…BAD.

I shared with my friends, I looked up breeders in our area, thought MAYBE I had found one, but how do you do that? Make that first connection. Also? Welsh Terrier breeders don’t grow on trees (a bit of a bonus if you ask me) and it isn’t like you see Welsh Terriers all over the place.

Well, I’m now convinced that my animals will find me using any method necessary, even the ones I need to seek out.

I received a call the following Monday. No greeting, only 6 words…’The bitch is due ANY day!’ Pardon me? ‘The BITCH is DUE ANY DAY’. I’m sorry, WHAT? ‘The. Bitch. Is. Due. Any. Day.’ Who’s a bitch?

Turns out that my friend’s sister used to live in a neighborhood where a wonderful Welsh name Blue lived. He was well known for his wonderful temperament and his owner was a breeder who was known for dogs with good temperaments. Sister wasn’t quite sure where they lived, but my friend went and sought them out. She knocked on the door and told the son who opened the door the story of her friend who was looking for a WT puppy. He let her know his mom was away, but yes they had puppies on the way and they were due any day!

“Call her RIGHT NOW”. But… “CALL. HER. RIGHT. NOW.” What if they don’t like me? ‘CALL HER and when she loves you because we all tell her what a wonderful dog person you are I get to be the Dog Mother!’

Yeah.

I don’t do well cold calling people. So I wrote the most Cruella DeVille sounding ‘I need one more puppy for my coat’ type email ever written. I wouldn’t have let me pet a puppy looking back at that desperate sounding, clumsy, clueless puppy questioning email (I told you they always found me, there IS a reason for that…I apparently suck at finding them without SERIOUS intervention).

Despite my email, I was called anyway and it was kindly explained to me that you didn’t ‘reserve’ puppies prior to their birth, that she’d like to talk to me some, let her adult dogs meet me, and then let me meet puppies before we went further.

After two conversations over the phone where I apparently managed to convince her I wasn’t a COMPLETE lunatic, I was getting to go meet Blue and Miss Jennie (the momma). My heart leapt again meeting these two sweethearts. Most especially since Miss Jennie did SO many things that made me think of my dear Katie Bug. Even better? Miss Jennie liked ME. She wanted to play with ME and let ME love on her. I passed Miss Jennie’s test. I was going to get to meet PUPPIES. There were four in the litter, 3 boys and 1 girl, all named after members of Carolina Hurricanes players.

They were SO small at that point. SO clumsy. So FUNNY as they fell all over each other and tumbled into me. Squirming as I snuggled and played and blew kisses. I was in love. How in the world was this going to work. I now was convinced my puppy was in that little puppy pile, but which one and how would I know?

Process of elimination helped some. One was claimed by stud and it was decided I didn’t want a female which left two males.

On the big day, I sat in the middle of the floor and both candidates were released to see what they did. One set off investigating the room while the other made a beeline for me and launched himself into my lap and snuggled up. Heart. Melted. On. The. Spot.

My little guy is easy to spot in a crowd since his tail curls to touch his back, but I never really needed that. He claimed me that first day and after that whenever I came to visit him, he calmly waited while his siblings would get their greetings from me knowing that they would only get quick greetings, but HE was guaranteed a thorough loving. Leaving him each time was so hard, but returning each time was so cool. He knew I was his. He never doubted it for one second. He didn’t need to since he’d won my heart the day he flew across the room to claim his spot in my heart.

On a June evening I giddily went to pick up my little Wee Beastie, heart near to bursting. Realizing as I left with puppy, crate, crate pad that smelled of his family, a variety of toys, color, leash, some food, and a family photo album that while my heart was bursting with excitement and love another heart was saddened by the loss of the little man she helped bring into my life. Not a permanent loss since we lve nearby and she gets visits and updates.

First stop on the way home was to his ‘Dog Mother’ and ‘Dog Auntie’ who were also key players in making sure that once again, the furball full of love meant to bless my life found his way to me.


Happy 4th Birthday to my wild, wee Welshman.

Thank you for the over abundance of love, laughter, joy you’ve brought me.

Thank you for constantly pushing me with your, ALMOST wider than mine, stubborn streak.

I’m looking forward to more adventures with my wee co-pilot!







Be Careful What You Say About Geese, eh? They Can READ!

30 03 2010

I am trying NOT to become paranoid by the thought, but it has to be more than just mere coincidence. Shortly after my post about the geese that nest annually in our parking lot and how Canada could have them back, eh? They are gone…POOF…just like that {snaps fingers}.

They picked one heck of a time to choose new digs, too. After all the soccer moms with their mini vans and their screaming children are no longer invading our office park because the establishment they frequent has relocated. The geese would have had a nice quiet little nesting spot, disturbed only now and again by a Welsh Wee Beastie and his Red-Headed House Staff.

Don’t get me wrong, I am NOT complaining. Not having to bob and weave my way in and out of the office while wrangling a goose-crazed Welsh and a Welsh-crazed goose and juggling my belongings is DEFINITELY
a bonus.

Oddly enough though, I do kind of miss the little gangsta geese. If only because seeing the little goslings waddle off is just so darn cute!

I also hope they weren’t offended by my attempt at humor. Those buggers have a LONG memory and I don’t need them holding a grudge against me! I can see it now…me walking unwittingly out of coffee shop somewhere only to have two rabid geese launch on me sending my latte flying while they laugh in that particular goose-like way of theirs.

Oh, the HORROR!





My Wild Welsh Wee Beastie

14 03 2010

We had another pretty day today, the first one where we’ve been home and had the time to take one of our longer walks.  When the weather is cold and it gets dark so early in the evening and stays dark later in the morning we tend to stick a little closer to home, either taking the long loop around the edge  of our neighborhood, around the neighborhood next to ours, or the two combined together.  With it being so lovely outside today I decided to shake things up and try a new route, which completely threw my little man for a loop.

It struck me while we were walking that there are several definite stages to our walks.  We don’t always hit all of them, but we generally hit most of them.  Today, with us going a new way, I almost think I noticed a new one. The ‘are you sure about what were doing and where we’re going?’ stage. He sort of gave me a look that questioned if I was going to be expecting him to find our way back home.  It cracked me up how concerned he was that I didn’t have a handle on things.  New experience having your dog doubt you!
I was able to capture some of our walk ‘stages’, so with out further ado I present – A Walk with Wee Beastie…

Starting out and happy to be on a walk...

1. Starting Out. It really depends on the weather, the time of day, and his mood, but most of the time he is thrilled to be out and about so he happily leads the way.

Are you still back there?

2. Checking In. For our daily walks that are meant to let him do his business, check things out, and get our exercise, I let him have fairly free rein on his flexi-lead unless there is a reason I need him close and under control (like crossing street, etc).  This way he can sniff, explore, and set his own pace.  Every once in a while when he gets well out in front of me, he’ll take a quick look back over his shoulder to make sure I’m still back there.  Silly pooch.

What's the hold up, slow poke?

3. Waiting, Waiting, Waiting. Sometimes he likes to take advantage of his lead and wait until I catch up with him so that he can have a bit of a breather.  Other times he likes to poke around the area investigating until I’m in the lead.

Losing Steam, No Longer Feeling It

4. Not Digging It. Sometimes this is how we start our walks, even after he whined and begged to go outside.  Sometimes it hits around the halfway mark when he is thinking he should be back at the house hanging on the couch or watching the happening in the hood from his watchtower.

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggety Jig

5. Full Steam Ahead. Regardless of whether he did any or all of the other stages of our walk, one thing is for certain…When we are headed back towards home he is a dog on a mission and nothing will sway him from his path. Which tickles me considering that when we started out he was concerned that we wouldn’t be able to find our way back home!

Footprints in the Mud

6.  Reality and Perception. The little paw prints belong to my Wee Prince, but the big paw prints match the size of his paws in his heart.  To me, the larger paws match the size of his heart.  I think we can both agree they reflect the size of his attitude!





Oh Canada, you can keep your geese…PLEASE!

13 03 2010

It all started so innocently at first.  The weather began to warm up, the trees began to bud, and the geese began their annual migration back to colder climes for the summer…

But first they take a pit stop to get their groove on and start a little goose family of their own before continuing on to, one can only presume, Canada since they are called Canada Geese.

Generally, as I’ve picked up over my time at our current office location, the geese like to nest near water which makes perfect sense to me.  There is a nice little pond about a 1/2 mile up the road from our office where you’d usually see a gazillion happy little geese couples (they mate for life, I hear) doing what happy goose couples do: cavorting in the pond, flying hither and yon, squabbling with the neighbors, and feathering their nests until one day when you would spot these cute little fluffs tottering around behind the happy little goose couples and making a cute little goose family…

EXCEPT…

One little misguided happy little goose couple decided that the lamp post in the parking lot at my office would make a WAY better home to raise their little ones than the obviously overpopulated pond.  After all, lamp post assured a well lit neighborhood for the kids to play and you didn’t have to worry about squabbling with the neighbors since you had to fly a 1/2 mile up the road to even encounter (fellow geese) neighbors.

It seems to me they overlooked a couple of key points in their selection process. Mainly that the nearest water (other than the aforementioned pond) was a tiny bit of a trickle of a stream, their new home was situated in a busy parking lot, that parking lot was often populated by wildlife curious children escorted by inattentive (or just plain stupid) parents/nannies/grandparents, AND Fergus.

How cute they were setting up their nest.  How sweet they looked waddling around gathering the materials for their little abode. How loving they looked cuddling together. A perfect little couple spending their day taking in the beautiful weather, looking for food, visiting with other happy little goose couples.

Day in and day out, Fergus, the Wee Beastie, my Welsh Terrier and I would arrive for work.  He’d show interest in the geese, but the walk to the office is short and in the opposite direction so he didn’t have time to assert his superior Terrier-ness towards them. Night in and night out we’d repeat the process in the opposite direction. Again with not much more than an attempt to rush by the Wee Beastie or a honk from one of the geese…

UNTIL…

Mr. Goose’s attitude changed.  He stopped being the carefree happy-go-lucky male half of the happy little goose couple and became a scrappy, mean-spirited little gangsta goose.  Now over the years (of what I now feel like has been a Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom special on Goose Husbandry), I started to realize that Mr. Goose would turn all gangsta about the time Mrs. Goose settled in to their little nest to lay eggs for their future little goose family.

Then things started to get ugly. At first he would only charge at us as we were entering or exiting the office if he was nearby. Later he would suddenly appear out of nowhere flying over when we had seen we’d come outside.  Stupidly I thought that he’d be scared off by the Wee Beastie and his tenacious terrier ways, but boy was I ever wrong about that!

Mr. Goose is fearless when it comes to protecting his Mrs. and their future progeny.  He would charge at us and Fergus would charge back with all the weight of his 24 physical pounds and 65 of his imagined pounds behind him. If a goose could taunt, ‘Heh, pipsqueak, think you can take me on, huh?’, I’m pretty sure he would have for he DID NOT back away from Fergus’ charge.

With great effort I was successful in keeping them separated for some time, until one day Mr. Goose blind-sided me before I could reign in the Wee Beastie, scoop him up, and make a dash for the office.  It was an interesting study in physics watching two objects in motion towards each other like that. I briefly pondered what the impact would be like as I was trying to get my wits about me and reign in my wayward Welsh before one or both of them was injured.  Then I was struck dumb as I saw the impossible happen.  My go to ground dog took to the air! He took to the air in an attempt to meet the goose in mid-flight.  They made brief contact as I was finally able to haul him back and scoot off with him in my arms.

I think that is the day that Fergus and I moved to the top of Mr. Goose’s hit list.  Mr. Goose had a lot of pent up rage and we had become the target.

FOR…

As this little episode of Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom played on outside my office window each day, oblivious parents would trot their children up near Mrs. Goose’s nest so they could see the ‘beauty of nature’ up close and personal, they would stop their SUVs alongside the geese and roll the back window down so their children could SCREAM at the poor things, and on one memorable day I watched a woman allow her toddler to toddle on up to Mr. Goose who was quite visibly agitated and hissing a warning.

While I figured this was Darwin at work, I couldn’t stand by while a woman, ignorant as she was, allowed her child (who was now well beyond easy reach of the mother) to walk up to a goose protecting his beloved and their wee ones. A goose that had shown no fear of a dog launching airborne at him when they were nowhere NEAR the nest.  I shouted out that she should be careful letting her child get so close to a goose because they were quite mean especially when defending their nest.  Darwin apparently defies meddlers since the mother looked at me like I had two heads and did nothing to stop her little one’s progress further from her and closer to Mr. Goose. I didn’t have the time to sit and watch that trainwreck unfold, though in a way I wish I had with camera in hand!

SO…

Similar episodes have been playing out annually, often with quite hysterical moments and we learned something else new about geese. Geese have amazing memories. Like ridiculously amazing memories. More than just migration patterns, rest points, and nesting areas. These geese remember people. They remember dogs. They remember cars. They remember offices.  These goose hold ridiculously long grudges.

When they would see us driving in each morning, he would fly in from wherever he was when he saw us coming and wait for us. More than once he pinned us in the office. To say that dear co-worker and I screamed like girls the day we exited office for the day only to have him chase us back into the office would be an understatement.  I will never forget the image of her pressed up against the door of the office one night when Mr. Goose landed in front of Fergus and me as I was trying to get him into the car, I went tearing back towards the office dragging Fergus behind me, as she was hollering at me to run the other way so as not to have the goose follow me back to her! Then there was the day Wee Beastie and I went out for a quick potty break (his, not mine).  We were still an office away from ours when Mr. Goose flew in and blocked our path back towards our office and I ducked into the nearest office (unoccupied but open) thinking to wait him out, but when you can hold a grudge for years what’s a couple of hours? I am not proud to admit this, but Beastie and I used bushes as shield to make it from that office back to ours.

NOW

They are getting smarter. They have upped their game.  We arrived at work the other morning and while I was gathering my things together my little goose detector went berserk. I looked around for our old foe, but couldn’t see him anywhere.  Then I realized that Beastie was directing his verbal assault upwards rather than his usual downward attack.  Slowly I turned…and looked up…and perched on the roof of our office were Mr. and Mrs. Goose…laying in wait…honking threateningly from above.

APB on an Amethyst Ford Edge with Loud Mouth Redhead and Wee Beastie.

APB on an Amethyst Ford Edge with Loud Mouth Redhead and Wee Beastie.

EPILOGUE…

There is a pay-off to our annual gangsta wars.  When we are super lucky we get to see it.  For all of the time they spend setting up their nest, laying the eggs, and incubating the eggs, when the little goslings finally hatch the newly formed family gets the heck out of dodge and quick! The first year they disappeared in the middle of the night, causing concern that despite Mr. Goose’s best efforts an animal had attacked the nest killing the new additions to their little family.  However the next year we were lucky enough to see the arrival of the little goslings, which taught us that the time between when they hatch and when the family relocates is very short indeed.  Watching those little balls of fluff get herded off by their parents was worth the grief AND made it quite obvious why they go to all the effort they do to ensure the security of  those precious eggs.

Sweet Rewards

Goslings at Charles River courtesy of A Bee in the City