“Hey Daddy-O! Mom looks like she’s packin plenty of profit in those high pockets. How about you put your paw down and demand a toll for this bridge?”
“Don’t worry Princpessa, it’s in the bag. She’s an easy mark, a real rube. We’re big rough wild dogs and crime is the price she pays. There’s plenty of profit in those pockets to greese our chops. She’ll pay up…woo else!”
It’s National Puppy Day! Here’s Loki, aka: The Cracker, when he was just a wee thing in Taiwan, sometime in 2007. Even as a puppy, his penetrating eyes impart a heartbreaking story of abandonment, fear, anxiety and a desperation to find *his* person—one who spoke his language so many before misunderstood—to whom he’d gift his unending loyalty and affection. It took me a while to become fluent in the Cracker’s language, but I did. Now we’re connected forever. He grew into those magnificent ears, which now stand up proudly and not only serve as his mojo but are quite literally responsible for saving us from a house fire in the middle of the night. I trust him completely with our safety. Many undervalued dogs can be found in rescue.
This is the closest puppy photo I have of Juno, though she’s a year old here. This little criminal stole my heart the day I laid eyes on her. Never a dull moment with Juno around. She has a long rap sheet of her crimes of mastication including: countless danskos, several flip flops, purses, trash cans, magazines, books, glasses, postal mail, my passport (yes the dog ate my passport Mr. Consulate), our landscaping plans, boots, plastic bottles, dental floss, toilet paper, office files, yoga clothes, yoga blocks, yoga mats, yoga magazines (she obviously doesn’t think much of yoga), computer wires in original box, pillows, blue masking tape, and wait for it… my mini cooper seats. That last crime took her less than 5 minutes to commit. Like I could love this dog any less for her transgressions. Do you know what kind of punishment Mr. Wild Dingo dishes out when (not “if”) she commits a crime? Steak dinners. What can I say? We’re soft on criminals. Especially when they are this adorable.
Now this dog. This dog doesn’t have a cruel bone in her body. During this year’s rutting season, I stopped carrying treats due to yellow jacket population. Without treats, Juno turned to her innate Siberian resolve of doing whatever she damn well pleases. Her recall slipped to the point where she would only wait for me at certain regrouping areas on our property trails. (Don’t worry. The property is fenced in two areas to keep her from bolting into the road. The other two areas lead deeper into the forest.) One day she caught a scent and didn’t even flinch at her name. Loki stayed right next to me as instructed. When we came toward the trail-head, we saw Juno next to a large gray blob. I panicked and called her. She bounced half way to me with a huge smile on her face then back to the blob. Getting closer, I saw Juno sitting next to a young doe who was laying down. The doe’s head and neck were raised but her legs folded under her as if she was just taking a break. Juno sniffed at her ear with concern as if wondering why the doe wouldn’t move. She sat decisively by her with a big smile on her face that I recognized immediately to say, “Can we take her home, Mom? PLEASE?”
The doe looked unconcerned, relaxed even. Juno refused to leave the doe’s side. To retrieve Juno, I had to get inches within the doe’s face with the cracker leashed at my side. Unusually calm, Loki didn’t make a gesture toward the doe other than to take in her scent from where he stood. I attached Juno’s leash. There was no blood, no broken bones. She was fine, in fact, quite healthy. “No Juicy, we cannot take her home, she is already home in the forest,” I told her as I led her away.
“Juicy” is Juno’s nick name. It came from calling her Juno Couture because she has designer jodhpurs like Juicy Couture. Then I shortened it to J.C. Then one day it came out half “Juno” and half “C” with “Ju-C” and eventually, just Juicy. She loves her nickname and always responds to it as well as to her original name. Even the vets call her Juicy.
The deer was in a freeze state of the stress response. I felt remorseful about being a part of it. When we returned from our walk, the doe was gone but I could see her white tail in the woods walking about. I’m not proud of Juno not recalling in the face of wild life, but I am amazed at her compassion for an animal she knows to be fleeing rather than surrendering. She may not feel the same for moles, but overall, she’s the picture of compassion. She even cries in empathy for other dogs at the vet. Treats are back and regular recall games are played on our trail walks to remind Juno of what’s important—her Momma, the treat dispenser.
Juno eyed her mom working in the herb garden through the morning mist. She raised her nose in the air, considered hunting for moles, but decided to head down the path to the orchard and help herself to an apple. While she enjoys playing with the treasures she picks from the tree, she prefers the giggles she gets presenting her treasure to her mom or pop. She quickly picked an apple, then trotted all the way around the other side of the house to the dog yard, through the dog door, into the house, up the stairs, down the hall and promptly into Poppy’s office where he was hard at work. Surprised to see the husky so boldly enter his office all by herself–without her posse–Mr. Wild Dingo stopped what he was doing. Nothing was more important than giving the husky the attention she so clearly requested. She cried and smiled wide as she showed him the treasure in her mouth. Juno amused him as she slowly shook her head from left to right playing keep away until she ran out of the office, encouraging him to follow. She ran down the stairs, to the foyer, bounced around and waited. As Mr. Wild Dingo reached the landing, she dropped the apple on the floor and gazed up to the treat jar. She often observed Mr. Wild Dingo pluck and eat plums and nectarines from the other trees. Here, she was offering him a trade: this apple for a salmon cookie.
Who could resist such a shrewd, yet adorable, negotiator? Not Mr. Wild Dingo. After all, he is quite educated in all Siberian retributions and values the good-condition of his flip flops.
“Apple for a treat. Oh and your flip flops will be safe–for today.”
“Awe! Just kidding about your flip flops! They’re never safe! Har-woo!”
There’s a new boy in the ‘hood. While Loki was recovering from knee surgery, Juno got to know the new young stud on our walks.
Orion was smitten with my kitten and always invited her to play.
It didn’t take long for Juno to fall hard for this fellow and now every time we walk this route I have to drop the leash. She pulls fast and hard, crying with glee, while running toward her new beau’s digs. They have a short game of fence chase and then Juno always turns around and offers him the scent of her jodhpurs. What a flirt!
When Loki returned to walkies, he had a few words with Orion about dating Juno without his consent. But he’s over it and now we all share a snack while he chaperons Juno on all her dates with Orion.
Here’s a quick look at one of Juno and Orion’s dates:
Once again, Juno proves that she is really a German Shepherd in a Siberian Husky suit. Coming back from our walk, I unleashed the dogs once we got onto the pasture on our property. She immediately put her nose to the ground and followed a scent. As soon as we go to Upper Nitwit trailhead, we found her scent object: a young guy rolling a doobie on one of our foot bridges. Loki, the rough-tough GSD, on the other hand, was unusually friendly with the strange dude, proving that he is just a toker in a GSD suit.
Yesterday, I lost a great pair of Ray Ban sunglasses on a dog walk. Since my search dog, Loki, is on the down low recovering from TPLO surgery, I couldn’t ask him to help find them. Both dogs are informally trained at finding objects scented like me on our trail walks since I’m always losing things. Thanks to Loki, I never permanently lose anything. He found dozens of gloves and hats I dropped on our winter walks in Switzerland. On our walks here in CA, I tend to shed an outer layer or purposely drop an item I don’t need on various areas of our trail and Loki always alerts to it on our way home, wherever I leave it. Juno sometimes plays the game too, when she feels like it, and occasionally will touch and sit-alert at my object. She does it to mimic Loki, but she’s always rewarded. She’s even alerted to my items when I walk her without Loki, but she’s not always consistent. So I never formerly ask her to do the job since she never really seems to be into it. I just reward her if she alerts and is correct.
Today, I took Juno on the walk where I lost my glasses, mainly as company, thinking I would be the one to spot them. Boy was I wrong! A half-mile into the walk, I walked right by my glasses, but Juno stopped, sniffed, looked at me, “Um, Mom, these are yours,” and sniffed again at my glasses in a dirt ditch on the trail. You could have knocked me over with a pluck of husky fur. Naturally she received a huge jackpot reward for alerting. I admit she grew bored with my sunglasses after alerting, giving me that “Whatever, Mom,” look and went on to sniff for moles. Still, I can’t help but be so proud of sweet Juno—a German Shepherd in a Siberian Husky suit!
“That’s Poppy. I wonder if he’s packing cheeses?” Juno sometimes does a preemptive alert whenever Mr. Wild Dingo walks nearby. Because you never know if there will be cheeses.
“I think therefor, I Yam,” laughs Juno as she mocks my plans for a vegetable garden this year.
“Hard work doesn’t harm anyone, but I do not want to take any chances.” Juno bestows her garden work ethic as she seistas between the magnolia tree and flower bed.
Meanwhile, my own work ethic is summed up as: “The best way to garden is to put on a wide-brimmed straw hat and some old clothes. And with a hoe in one hand and a cold drink in the other, tell somebody else where to dig.”
Oh Look! Our new vegetable bed sprouted a husky and we didn’t even plant any seeds! Mr. Wild Dingo warned me not to water it because “the last thing we need is more huskies.” Don’t worry Internet, I already offered Juno a pair of his flip-flops for that kind of sass.
Ps. This is a sneak peak into our big landscape project. We had a few weeks set back with rain and some major water damage to the project but we’re back on track and we should be fully planted by end of April. I’ll be so happy not to be starring at dirt out the window.
“Hey Big Boy, Mom says after our walkies she’s gonna give you a bath. But not me. Because I’m a husky. And huskies are awesome and don’t need baths because our furs reject dirt and so we’re never dirty.” “Princepessa, don’t mess with my mentals. That’s not even remotely funny.”
It’s true. Huskies never get dirty. Let me rephrase that. They don’t stay dirty. Dirt never sticks to their fur or skin. But that doesn’t mean they don’t get dirty. They just leave their dirt around the house or where ever they feel like shaking off.
But what’s also true is that the husky did get a bath along with the cracker because baths are the quickest way to loosen up all that undercoat. She still has about a week of comb-by’s to look forward to. What’s a comb-by? It’s a husky owner’s way of sneak attacking a husky with a shedding comb as they walk by or plop down for a nap. Because my husky won’t sit for more than 5 minutes of brushing at a time. It takes about a week to brush the undercoat out of the husky this way. One way or another, it gets done. Until then, the house is under siege with an exploding fur bomb constantly going off every hour. It’s a good thing Mr. Wild Dingo left for a 10 day business trip!
“My name is Juno. Hear me ROAR!” (In a barely audible whisper: “roar.”)
Juno rarely barks. When she does, we giggle. Because it’s an adorable, wee, high-pitched beep that doesn’t seem to fit a tough Siberian husky. Juno is likely the sweetest dog I’ve ever known. The only things that should fear her are buttered baguettes, live chickens and moles. Because damn, when those Sibe eyes fixate on any of those, they aren’t getting out of it alive. But everyone else: feel free to giggle.
After 23 years with the same company, Mr. Wild Dingo is ditching the rat race morning commute to begin a new opportunity where two of his office mates will be furrier and the other, although a whiny Lymie, will keep him healthy with home cooked lunches and green smoothies. He’ll still be traveling 50-60% but at least his new office views will kick ass.
When opportunity knocks, you jump in with both feet.
Juno gives a fond farewell to one of her favorite Physical Torturers, err, Therapists, Miss Nicole. We are sad to see you go but happy that you are moving on to great opportunities in helping pups feel fantastic. Juno’s Jodhpurs thank woo!
“Here’s a husky hickey to remember me by Miss Nicole!”
Is it crazy that I love cold, foggy rainy days? Mr. Wild Dingo would be very happy if we never had rain, but ever since Lyme hit me, I’ve longed for long dark cold winters. Although some days are still too warm for me (in the 50’s or 60’s), there have been plenty of days of downpour and from what I can tell, the Sierra’s are getting plenty of snow which hopefully translates to a no drought year. The pups love this weather too.
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