Sunday, July 29, 2007

She's still here

Yesterday, everybody but Tierce was at Mom's, sorting stuff for the Garage Sale that was to free us of the junk that we have moved from basement to basement for the last 25 years or so.

Near the end of the sorting, I let Shassi out into the yard where she peed and briskly trotted around, sniffing at things and looking offended when her feet led her into a ball or a clump of grass that her eyes didn’t warn her about. My aunt was nervous for fear that she would wander out the other side of the house and go out into the street. Which she tried. I went around the other side of the house and met her at the gate.

She was not pleased when I carried her back up to the porch and set her down within its confines. I was wistfully remembering her when she was younger and the gleam in her eyes when she was caught after leading us a merry chase. Wasn’t that fun, the eyes used to say. They used to be brown, but are cloudy, now, and barely register anything besides light and dark.

She is kept from the yard and the street there by two plastic panels that are held in place by strategically placed pots of flowers. Unfortunately the one out to the street was not closed all the way and before I realized it, Herself trotted purposefully through.

I ran after her, blessing the near-14 years that made her unwilling to go past a brisk trot. She broke into a gallop when she realized how close I was, but I grabbed her before she really took off. Back to the porch we went. The gate was pulled fully across and a bunch of pansies kept it from going anywhere.

Undaunted, Shassi again headed towards it. With a hard shove of her nose, she pushed the gate aside and again briskly trotted towards the street. Again, I ran out to grab her and piled three more flower pots against the panel.

Just before she bowed to the forces against her, she glanced up at me and in her cloudy eyes I saw a familiar gleam.

Old for sure, but not dead yet.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Paddler Puppy

Tierce went kayaking for the first time today. He did very well! Didn't jump out of the boat and didn't capsize us. This is good.

The first stop was at the local kayak store to outfit Tierce with a PFD. He was NOT impressed. However after a good sulk, he accepted the PFD with bad grace, kicking up his hind legs and chewing on the tabs when he thought I wasn't looking.

We went to Westwood Lake, a popular recreation spot in Nanaimo. Fortunately, due to clouding over, there were not a lot of people there and the lake was nearly empty.

I first put Tierce in the cockpit, but found that this was impracticable, because his head was in the way of the paddle. We then tried putting him in the front hatch, which was much more successful. As you can see, I risked my camera cell phone to bring readers pictorial evidence of Tierce's exploits.
He didn't try to get out of the hatch, although he was a bit ill at ease. Next time, I'll make a more comfortable bed for him in the front hatch so that he can lie or sit in comfort. I also want to design some kind of cover that allows him to pop up to breathe and look around, but minimizes rain and water entry. I was thinking of some kind of "hood" that he could stick his head through. I also need to arrange a way that he can have adequate access to water during a long kayak trip. I was toying with the idea of affixing, somehow, one of those no-spill covered water bowls to the inside or outside of the hatch. If it was outside, I could always arrange a system where I could pull back an elasticized cover so that Tierce could take a drink without leaving it open for seawater or dirt to get in. I can even pack supplies around the opening so that the hatch is still carrying supplies while accommodating a Shiba.

My biggest fear is capsizing and having Tierce trapped in or under the boat. I'm thinking that I'm going to have to arrange a wet-exit/panic cord that clips to my PFD to rip the cover off the front hatch and let Tierce swim free of the kayak. His PFD is also going to be attached to my PFD in case of capsizing or a sudden urge to battle killer whales. In the event of his being trapped, I could follow the line to his PFD.

I'm hoping that Tierce learns to like kayaking and seeing new places, because I want to take him on kayak tours with Mischa and I and friends of ours. Here's hoping! If I get him used to the kayak at Westwood Lake and other safer places to paddle, he should soon be accustomed enough to handle sea kayaking without too much trouble.