Category Archives: Small Stone

#smallstone: Walk

ringosfirstwalkRingo accidentally went on his first walk yesterday. His new harness came in the mail and we were testing it out. I didn’t want to risk walking him just on a neck collar because he sometimes backed out of it, just like Dexter used to do. I put the harness on while Eric held Ringo, and then we put him down. For the first few minutes he fought it — backing up, biting and scratching at it, rolling around on the floor, whining and limping like he was being wounded, but then he got distracted and forgot about it.

I got some treats and clipped on a leash, walking him up and down the length of the kitchen. Just as I was about to go out in the backyard with him, I realized I could now risk taking him somewhere else, so went out to explore the front yard. Unlike our other three puppies, who were too afraid at first to leave our yard, Ringo immediately started walking down the street, wanting to explore. After a few houses, I realized I was taking him on his first walk and Eric was missing it, so we turned around. Eric and Sam were heading out on their afternoon walk anyway, so they went around the block with us. It was so nice, to be four again, walking together. Just on that short walk, Ringo saw (and sometimes barked at) a woman on a bike with a dog, lots of cars, a few people, and two dogs barking at us from their yard.

This is a big deal. Walking is our thing, it’s what our pack does and loves the most. To have one dude who couldn’t go, meaning we couldn’t ever go together, was sad, and I hadn’t expected it to happen so quickly, so easily. He still can’t be expected to go too far, but he can go.

He also figured out the Kong this week. How to hold it, throw it, get out the food frozen inside. Anything safe that will occupy his time and attention right now seems like a miracle.

ringokong

#smallstone: Two Boys

Two boys in their beds, taking a morning nap. They are curled up in almost the same position, one blue and one black. This is exactly as it should be — two boys. I still miss the other pairs of two, Obi and Dexter, and then Dexter and Sam, but if I can’t keep all of them forever at least there are two now, a balanced pair.

sam and dexter

sam and dexter

#smallstone: Water Bottle

I don’t use them much for myself, have stainless steel ones, but with my first puppy I discovered that an empty plastic water bottle is just about one of the best puppy toys ever. They love the noise they make, the way they shoot and roll across the floor, how it feels to bite and eventually destroy them.

#smallstone: Snow

We woke up to snow this morning. I knew it was coming, they’d predicted it so I wasn’t surprised. In the minutes before you woke, whined to be let out to go potty, I wondered if the ground would be too cold for your tiny feet. I started to worry, “what will I do if he won’t go potty outside?” I make elaborate plans involving the garage and a pee pad that end up being completely unnecessary.

As soon as I put you down, you bury your face in the cold white, stretch out on your belly making an upside down puppy snow angel. After you go potty, you root your nose deep like a little piglet, making crazy paths in the snow, hopping around the yard like a tiny fox, a true Colorado boy.

When you pause, sit and look up at me, I notice your ears are working hard to stand up, that you are bigger than even last night. Tomorrow it’s supposed to be 52 degrees and sunny. Both this snow and your time as a puppy will be over so soon.

#smallstone: Path

parkinglotpathI walk the “path” between parking lots on my way to my office. The ground is covered with wood chips, springy like the old growth trails we hike in Oregon where the ground is made of a tangle of roots, dirt, and hundreds of years of decaying wood and leaves. The trees here are evenly and perfectly spaced, all in a row, and the path is flanked by parked cars, but I walk the full length of it and for those few steps I’m transported to a place that is quiet and far away.

magicforest

#smallstone: Dreams

sleepyringoIn the quiet of the dark night, you woke up and barked, that still small but confident sound. There wasn’t any real noise or event to trigger it so you must have been dreaming. Sometimes you whimper in your sleep, feet twitching, and other times your mouth and front paws move in a certain way and I know you are dreaming of nursing, something you are little enough to still remember.

#smallstone: Play

The growls are softer now, when they come, and there is more play, tail wagging. Sam grooms Ringo’s neck and chest, his teeth biting softly on him the way I’ve seen monkeys do. Ringo rolls on his back, belly exposed, sometimes biting Sam back.

The playing and the biting is causing more episodes of what we’ve been calling Sam’s “itchiness.” He’ll shake his head and his back leg will cramp up like he wants to scratch something but isn’t sure what or where. No one can explain it, not our vet, not the specialist, other than maybe it’s some kind of nerve damage in his jaw. None of them have ever seem anything like it. It doesn’t happen all the time or last that long, and seems instigated by excitement, and he doesn’t seem like he’s in pain or suffering. And yet, for us it’s hard to watch. It’s tempting to interrupt, to stop the playing, to keep them from it, but what is a life without play?