Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Smelly Blue Car People in Oklahoma! - Part 2

While She sleeps, I watch and wait. She takes the pieces out of Her eyes – the parts that help Her to see. She does not trust Her eyes. “Charlie keep us safe big boy” and almost instantly Her energy changes as She drifts off to sleep .

She is snuggled in a sleeping bag with pillows by Her head and Her middle and Her legs.  She does not like to be “stuck” or “trapped” when She is resting. Her dog-sense is more developed than in most humans.  The top and back of Her brain stays alert even  while sleeping, like mine. But now She is tired. Weary.

The smelly blue car scared woman is tip-toeing to our car. Ears up! Sniff … Sniff ! I am watching you. This is our car. Don’t get too close.  The angry man calls the scared woman back to him.  The man is moving too fast … looking around…shifting his feet .. talking and looking behind him..around him.  He grabs her arm, shaking it, staring hard into her eyes, making her more scared.  The scared woman lowers her eyes and bows her head. I know what this means - The angry man is the alpha-dog.  She is scared and subservient, she will do what she is told.

grrrrrrrrrr ……

“Charlie shh!” She is sleeping.  The necessary-to- survive-part of Her is aware of  our surroundings. But She wants us to be invisible to other people so we don’t bother them and they don’t bother us.

I watch and wait. The smelly blue car people get back into the smelly blue car. Good.  Stay!

I watch them from the darkly tinted window. They cannot see me. They do not know I am here. She sleeps some more and Her awareness is gone. Her eyes are moving quickly and Her body is completely still. I lay my head across Her ankles. Oh how I love Her!

Knock, knock knock …. huh? My girl is struggling to come awake, dreaming.  AGGGGGHHHHHH! She screams! RUUUUUUOOOFFF!  I am at the window- BARK BARK BARK!!!……. She is frantic. I don’t like this! My Girl is afraid! RUUUUOOOFF! RUUUOOOFFF! The smelly blue car scared woman is standing there. Ha! Now she is scared! BARK BARK BARK ! She did not know I was in the car!  My Girl can’t see .. She reaches to her left where she left her glasses. Her legs are twisted in the snuggly blanket. She is more scared now PANIC! She is trapped and stuck  RRUUOOOFFF! RUOOOOFFFFF!

My Girl frees herself while putting her glasses on her nose … and not taking her eyes off the scared stranger banging on the window “ I need some money” The scared woman is saying to My Girl “I am about to run out of gas and need to make it to Kansas” 

Now My Girl is mixing angry with panic BARK BARK BARK!!! There is movement behind our car – the angry man is approaching!

“Roll down your window. I can’t hear you” the scared woman is saying to My Girl.  My Girl is now mostly mad and focused. She positions her body so the woman cannot see her hands, reaches between the  seats and pulls out the black metal. She takes it with us when we hike. This black hunting metal. Her gun. She thinks to herself “The dog is barking an inch from my ear … and YOU can’t hear? You are NOT going to rob me!”

Now My Girl is very angry. The man is getting closer. “Go inside!” She yells at the scared woman. “Go inside, away from the dog!”  The woman looks around nervously BARK BARK BARK !!!!!!

and slowly starts walking away from the car, toward the building with lights and people bathrooms. The scared woman lowers her head and her eyes once again … but walks very very slowly. The angry man sees her and stops!  My Girl is scrambling to get into the front seat… the angry man hears me BARKING RUUUOFFF!!! RUUUOOOOFFF!  He quickly backs away from our car TOO LATE! She sees him in the rear view mirror.

She seems to grow taller and stronger right before my eyes. Her outrage replaces her fear … I become silent. A sense of cool calculation- She is no longer threatened. She is now the alpha-dog.

Now She protects me.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Smelly Blue Car People in Oklahoma! - Stay Awake - Part 1

She is so tired. Sleep – I will stay awake and keep you safe.

We stopped at the place with all the big trucks in Oklahoma! She was singing a silly song and saying “it’s a movie Charlie” when we pulled up next to the big truck.  She looks around the whole big space for big trucks before she gets out of the car. R-U-N and S-T-R-E-T-C-H and wag, wag wag!! RUUUUUFF!

A man! Is walking up behind her…. she doesn’t see him or smell him! RUUUFFF! Now, she sees him! Wait!….he is a friend… and thinking “A woman out here alone? Glad this is not my daughter  I like him. Hey Mister! I will keep her safe!

You have dogs!? Sniff, sniff …. “HA! a girl-dog! in your crotch? I smell her!” I Like Him! I Like Him!... My She is ALERT…. and steps back, She cannot smell that this cross-country truck driver is s-a-f-e.Charlie DOWN! COME” She says in her mad voice. But her mad voice is scared ……what! what? wait? scared?! What ?! My ears are UP and PAYING ATTENTION now This is MY GIRL!, wag wag wag wag!…

She says “sorry” to the man driver with a girl dog in his house far away and walks into the building. She doesn’t see the smelly blue car with the bad man and scared woman inside … watching her. She just walks .. “Charlie come!”

Why is she afraid? We are going back to her pack. Her pups, her mate.  Wag, wag, wag!…. the desert is HOT and VERY COLD. She wants “New York” to make her feel safe.  There was a mad woman in Texas that yelled at My Girl  when She brought me into a building like this. “You could be poisoning people with that filthy dog! Cancer patients come in here!” The woman spit those words at My Girl. The Yeller did not know My Girl had a maybe-cancer on her spine too. “Maybe you should think twice before you speak” My Girl said to the Yeller “I need him with me at all times” my She said. “Get him out of here!” The Yeller yelled.  That was Texas. She was worried about another Yeller, but willing to risk it.

She loves me. I love Her. Look at her, wag wag wag! inside her head thoughts of “Good –Boy!

Wait! The smelly blue car woman is following My Girl …  RUUUUFF!Charlie! Quiet! I don’t want to get thrown out of here! Shhh! Good-boy .. be quiet. Let’s hurry up!” and just like that, right past the “No Dogs Allowed” sign, She brings me into a People-Bathroom. It is 2 AM and there is nobody in Oklahoma!  except the smelly blue car people watching us.

My She hurries out of the building and back to our car. She doesn’t  see the smelly blue car. She doesn’t smell the bad man and scared woman who want to take something from Her.

We jump into our car parked next to the big trucks under the lights in Oklahoma! She is so tired. She doesn’t smell the need to stay AWAKE and ALERT. The smelly blue car people are watching our car while She sleeps …..

Friday, February 3, 2012

Uh Oh ... the Dog Police ....

We have been traveling for weeks now, miles and miles in the car and miles on our feet. She loves to be outside, although it scares her. We camp in a tent in the desert. During the day it is 55 degrees, hot for Her and for me. At night it gets cold. 10 degrees. She put up the tent by herself. I tried to help. She didn’t want my help. She kept saying in her mad voice “Charlie GET OFF” Jeez! I just wanted to smell it. This is not a good smell!

Her arm muscles are shaking. It was hard for her paws to bend the poles. She is tired and a little *scared* (nervous) <excited> -determined- *proud*  I want to play play play RUN! what’s that smell?
I follow my nose straight to the showers and bath house and there is the POLICE. He has a badge and a gun and he bends down and says “Come here buddy-boy, why aren’t you on a leash?” What a nice man petting me and looking at the tingling metal on my neck. I sit down, like I am supposed to when a person stands in front of me with their hands like that. “Good boy” the policeman says.  “Whose dog is this?” he thinks and then he sees Her struggling with the stakes for the tent.
Her face is red and sweaty and She looks like she does when she is doing a puzzle *focused* (confused) <determined> .purposeful.  and the POLICE man feels sorry for Her but knows he is going to yell at Her anyway. I MUST BE ON A LEASH - It is part of THE RULES, even though there is no one else around.
“I’m so sorry” She says, slightly annoyed and mildly embarrassed. She looks at me and says inside Her head “Charlie! You are supposed to stay close!!” and then she says in her nice, let’s be friends voice to the POLICE ….. “I am having a little trouble here, I can’t seem to get these stakes in the ground. I want to get set up before dark oh!  I see you met Charlie, he really needed to stretch his legs”. Uh Oh Mr. POLICE … I know this trick, talk and talk and talk with words that make you confused about why you were mad to begin with.  She learned this trick from working at The New York State Supreme Court. She talks about that sometimes too. Dogs don’t love something and hate something at the same time. She does. She did.
She re-directs the POLICE with Her words and Her smile that says “Thank you for helping me, for understanding.”  That’s what She does when She wants me to do something else. Words and smiles and slight of hand. But She didn’t throw a ball for him to chase.
Amazing, no ball but he walks away from Her, from US, just like She wanted. “Oh, yeah”  he turns around, remembering why he approached Her to begin with “You have to keep your dog on a leash. It’s THE RULE. Stay warm now, ya’ hear?” and he turned around and walked away from us, slightly confused, slightly sad, slightly smiling.

You keep walking !  I’ll keep her warm. You go away! GGGGGRRRRRR – ruff!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Bear Mountain - Sedona, Arizona

At home, in New York, She takes me hiking almost every day. We explore Bear Spring Mountain in Delaware County. She loves adventure and trees and smells and spying flowers where none should be able to grow. She gently touches the different trees, feeling their bark. BARK!  She doesn’t like when I bark!

We made it to the first white level

She decided today that we will explore three places, Bear Mountain, Doe Mountain and Palatki. Fine with me. Wag, wag, wag! I would stay outside all day with Her. Hiking and walking and smelling. When She sees the marker for Bear Mountain, She misses New York.

She has a pack there, Her family.  She shakes Her head and refocuses Her attention. She is not going to think about them. So She thinks. She wants to memorize everything here so when She has grandchildren She can tell them about it. We start out by climbing up and down through empty creeks. It is December in Sedona and everything is very dry.  She is undecided between exploring the smooth, flat red rocks that make up the creek bed and climbing Bear Mountain.  It makes Her think of our mountain, at home. I wait, looking over my shoulder at Her.  She wants to do everything, and see everything and touch everything all at once.

It was very dry. We were very thirsty in the desert sun.
It was harder climbing down, than it was climbing up!

Her joy gets chopped right in half with “reasoning”.  Humans!  Always waiting to have fun til later. She is different though. It makes her pups, and her mate and her pack nervous. She is their leader, the alpha.  They all look to Her to keep them safe. And She is not in New York now, where they are.  I can feel her pack drawing Her back to them.  They are worried about Her being safe. I will keep Her safe.We climb up the rocks. Not walking - pulling, jumping and pushing. She takes one of Her shirts off and stuffs inside the bag where She carries my treats.  She is breathing hard. Her face is red. We climb most of the way to the top, when She sits down. She pulls out water and my bowl. She always lets me drink first. She looks around and leans back, lifting her face to the sun. That goofy smile again. 
Her joy is back, almost full.  Joy has a smell. It smells like …………

Monday, January 9, 2012

Lost in the Desert

"One wrong turn and you could be out here for days" She said
I kept trying to get Her to turn around. She was going off trail. Ruff! Wag wag! Stop! I circled her feet a few times, ran in front of Her, stopped, ran behind Her, and stopped. I kept looking over my shoulder. But She wasn’t paying attention.  She was looking at me, but She wasn’t seeing me. She didn’t see the signs, or the markers.  She was looking at other things. Footprints, bicycle tracks, scraggly pine and prickly pear. And holes. She keeps thinking “Snakes”.   They are not snake holes, I could tell her. It is too cold for snakes. December in Sedona is almost snake free. Snakes don’t like 40 degrees and She doesn’t like snakes.
But She is not listening to me or seeing me.  She sees a horse hoof print and now She stops. She misses her horses.  It took that hoof print to make Her look around. “I didn’t see this on the way out” She says out loud. “Hmmmm, I better pay attention. The trail marker should be right around here” Nope. You passed it a MILE ago!  We keep walking. She has a silly soft hat on. That’s good. Because she is going to be sunburned.

Now I stay close, She doesn’t have to tell me. There are no people out here, in the desert.  But if there were, She thinks “They could be hiding in the brush, waiting to grab me!”  She is more alert now and walks faster.  My girl. She is now TALLER and STRONGER and BRIGHTER. Ha! She is angry? Yes.  And FOCUSED. This feels like hunting time or chasing time. Wag, wag, wag, Let’s go!  Out in front of Her. I come to a paved road. Let’s Go!

“We are lost Charlie. What the heck? Did a miss a sign?” She asks me and herself. Yes! I tried to tell you! She takes the bag off her back and shoulders. Yippee! My treats are in there! And water bowl!  She uncaps the last water bottle. It is half full. She takes a small drink and pours the rest in my bowl. No! Don’t! I can go longer than you without water! This is my girl. She thinks of my comfort and needs. She treats me like I am a “people”. I love her.
She pulls out and unfolds a big piece of paper. She’s always reading paper. “Oh no!” Yup. I tried to tell you.  She is thinking, thinking, thinking words “Time, water, sunlight, paved road?”  She folds her paper and puts it away. Picks up my bowl and starts walking. Walking TALL and STRONG. But now She has a before-fear smell. “No wonder they call it Deadman’s Pass. One wrong turn and you could be out here for days” She says “Thank goodness we brought water” She says.
This was a long walk. We walked until the sun started to go down. We walked through the desert for 5 hours. We see the trail head and her car. “We made it Charlie. Just in time”

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Skiing in Purgatory?

The "Polar Express" Steam Engine roles through Hermosa, CO
as we drive to Purgatory

She studies her book and says “Skiing in Purgatory?, that’s a good one!” She laughs.  Wag, wag, wag. I like that sound. She is talking to the car again. Who is this car talking? She shakes her head and says “thank you” to the car and “Ok Charlie, this should be fun!”  She drives the car in a circle and stops when She sees big CLOUDS coming from a rolling machine. Always taking pictures, She is.
Driving. Her heart is beating faster, with more energy. Smiling. Wag wag wag. Wanna play? Wanna …….. JUMP! “Sit Charlie!” She says.  Why is She getting a JUMPING, FETCHING, RUNNING, HAPPY heartbeat and saying SIT!? L Her words don’t match Her energy.  Humans!
SNOW!!!! The car is on snow. The snow is on the car. HURRAY! Uh, oh…. She has fear. She goes  ….. slow ….. with the snow on the ground.  “Let’s do this Charlie” She says. OK!!!!!!
Those mountains are TALL. They go straight UP! She is sad, now. Not afraid. “No wonder they call it Purgatory” She says. She sighs … out LOUD but SOFT. She doesn’t know She does this whenever she is THINKING all of those things at one time. She thinks “Wow, Big, Steep, Hurt? Lost? How?  Fun! Challenge! Write about this …. awww Hurt? Alone …then what?”
Then She says something She never said before “I don’t dare” OK. She is not sad …. she is thinking “Sensible and Realistic” I don’t know those words. They don’t feel good.  They are not doing words they are thinking words. They are not dog words. Humans!

She takes those long sticks, those skiis, and puts them where I was laying down. Squished AGAIN. Between Her sticks and Her saddle.  At least she didn't bring Paco, Her horse.  Those sticks back in the car means something is different. Sad. What is "sensible?" The opposite of fun.

And now back in the car, driving, driving, driving, squished by Her sticks.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

From Durango to Denver - Hiking The Colorado Trail

Hurray! Snow in Durango, CO
"The Colorado Trail is Colorado’s premier long distance trail. Stretching almost 500 miles from Denver to Durango, it travels through the spectacular Colorado Rocky Mountains amongst peaks with lakes, creeks and diverse ecosystems. Trail users experience six wilderness areas and eight mountain ranges topping out at 13,271 feet, just below Coney Summit at 13,334 feet. The average elevation is over 10,000 feet and it rises and falls dramatically. Users traveling from Denver to Durango will climb 89,354 feet"

She loves to walk. “Hike” She calls it.  I know we are going into the woods. She put those boots on . The strings on them are my favorite thing to chew on. When She puts them on, She always says “I wish you would chew on your toys Charlie and not my boots”  She is not sad or mad when She says it. She gets it. I like the smell and taste of Her boots. Those boots mean OUTSIDE!

The smells are not so strong here. But I can run in the SNOW! She is slow. Wait! I smell a friend! Two friends! Are they friends?  Wanna play? Let’s RUN! I’m …. gonna……..JUMP and RUN!
This is Blue and his brother Bo. Their She is a He. They did not want to play :(
After a LONG time on this path, She says “Charlie, let’s go back. It’s getting dark” That means her car again. Darn It! She talks to me all the way back. “Skiing in Purgatory tomorrow Charlie” and she laughs. Then She is quiet. And then She laughs again. What is so funny?