jayellebee's Blog

June 1, 2010

A Dog’s Life

Filed under: Musings — Joanne @ 2:13 pm

     Shadow, my favorite black lab, is adjusting to life in the country.  She takes deer wandering past our yard for granted.  The abundant lizards skittering across and sunning themselves on granite outcroppings garner even less attention.  But should a covey of quail cross the property, ho-boy, let the games begin!  Shadow fancies herself a bird dog, and quail are just too tempting to ignore. 

     The girl is growing more confident about putting distance between herself and home.  Our lungs and legs are acclimatizing to the 2650′ elevation and steep terrain.  So, each day Shadow and I take walks that last a little longer.  Today, we discovered a delightful trail which I hope to re-visit frequently.  But, since  Shadow wields veto power over my planned itinerary (she faces in the direction she intends to travel and sits with her back to me until I give in), only time will tell how often we’ll get back there.  

     Nevada City, like much of the surrounding area, receives water from the Nevada Irrigation District.  As I understand it, snow melt fills a lake somewhere up higher in the Sierras.  That water is siphoned off and brought to those of us in the foothills via aqueducts.  These NID “ditches” criss-cross hills and valleys, driven by gravity.  Today, quite by chance, Shadow and I noticed the aqueduct nearest to our house is paralleled by a well-worn path. 

     We followed the waterway, safe from traffic and shaded by pines and oaks, for quite a distance.  The concrete sides of the ditches we’ve seen elsewhere are nearly vertical and usually three to four feet deep.  Thick planks bridge the six-foot width every so often.  Not so with the section we followed today.  This ditch was shallower and narrower.  At one point, Shadow waded elbow deep into the water to quench her thirst.  I suspect her “dip and sip” was a breach of NID policy, but what can I say?  She didn’t ask for permission.

     Shadow was filthy by the time we made our way home.  I gave her a thorough brushing, checking her fur, ears and webbed toes for fox tails and ticks.  Then my new convert to country living experienced the ultimate in urban indulgence. 

      The lady from whom we bought our home is a fellow dog lover.  The spacious shop she and her husband designed and built includes a dog-grooming station.  A full-size bathtub is mounted three feet off the floor, allowing the dog washer to suds-up his/her favorite pooch without having to bend over.  A shower head plumbed with flexible hosing brings not-too-hot, not-too-cold water to all the right canine spots without fear of rinsing shampoo into trusting eyes.  A tile counter for towelling off the clean and grateful animal abuts the tub.  In the event of cold weather, there’s even a fur dryer that looks like an old-fashioned Electrolux vacuum.  Warm air can be delivered to wet dog through a soft, two-inch diameter hose, muffled (of course) to avoid distressing sensitive ears. 

     Shadow endured her first posh bath with stoic patience, burying her face in my husband’s armpit.   Fortified by a handful of treats at the end of her ordeal, she fled to the lawn to roll and shake, and shake and roll.  Proof positive you can treat a doggie like a lady, but at the end of the day she’s still a doggie.  

     I see only one way to improve our new dog beauty parlor.  Hefting a 65 pound beast up and over the edge of the tub requires a fair amount of strength.  More muscle than I have, to be sure.  So I’m thinking a dumb-waiter would be a good addition.  Something for us to contemplate when we’ve run out of other things to do in our new house.  That should occur circa 2015….

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