Thursday, July 9, 2009

Doggy Play Dates

Depending on how you look at things - we either don't have kids, or we do, and it all comes down to whether or not you count the 4-legged variety as kids. My 4-legged creatures are my kids. Current tally - 2 cats, 2 dogs.

Now the cats are entertaining in their own way and they don't ask much of us - some food, some water, and someone to clean their toilet on a regular basis. It doesn't hurt to occasionally give them a wee bit of roasted chicken or some juice from a tuna can. These are the things that make cats happy. Mr. Pete is the strong silent type, pretty much a pillow with legs. The only time he makes any noise at all is if you step on him, or attempt to give him a bath, both of which I have done - one turned out a bit better than the other. I'll let you guess which one. Mr. Coal, on the other hand, always has something to say, we just don't know what. If any living being passes his line of site, he'll speak. It could be a happy sounding meow, it could be a "yikes, where did you come from?" howl, or, when he really wants to freak us out, he resorts to the middle of the night 'I see cat fairies' chirps howls and other assorted noises. These are much more guttural, and bit creepy. I think he just likes to hear himself speak. It's rather comforting to me that he does talk so much as he is approximately 17 years of age and if he's speaking, he's breathing! All in all, however, the cats are simple.

(Side note - in the course of writing the above paragraph, Mr. Coal has had an entire conversation at the other end of the house - either with one of the dogs, or himself, I'm not entirely sure.)

The other two creatures, Miss Zoe and Miss Lexi, are not so simple and are far more demanding. They need entertainment. And if you think dogs can't tell time, or have no concept of time, you'd be wrong. Zoe and Lexi know exactly what time their daddy is supposed to be home from work, and they know when it's 9pm. They can be sleeping peacefully, but if that clock ticks just a bit over the 9pm mark - they're wide awake and crawling all over us. Why? It's doggy play date time!

It used to be that each evening, around 9pm or so, we'd take them for a walk around the 'hood. It was important to us that we got out for the walk before 10pm because that's when the light on the bike path gets turned off - you try to see two black dogs on leashes, in the darkness of a danish winter, and you'll agree that a lit path is important.

Then along came Stella. Stella is a yellow lab who lives in the 'hood. Stella is Zoe and Lexi's BFF and as Stella went from small puppy to large dog, our walks went from casually strolling around the block to meeting over in a field where all 3 could run wild. The beginning of the official doggy play date. Now, it's important to understand that Stella's mom is in the military, doesn't take no for an answer, and will tell it like it is. Why do you need to know this?

Because, also in the 'hood, is Bella. Miss Bella is the about 6 months younger than Zoe and is a chocolate lab. Unfortunately for Bella, she doesn't seem to get out much. We watched her go from sweet chubby puppy to sweet chubby doggy - a dog that desperately needs exercise. Each evening on our way to the field, we pass Bella's house, and more often than not, Bella is on her outdoor lead, in the driveway, and she always does the Bella dance when she sees us pass. The Bella dance involves twisting the hind legs back and forth (like a kid who's gotta pee), swinging the tail wildly and high-stepping with the front paws. But each time we tried to hint to Bella's dad that Bella should come out and play with us, it never worked. Stella's mom, on the other hand, well - let's just say that I think she flat out told Bella's dad that Bella was getting fat, needed exercise, and to be at the field at 9pm. Amazingly enough - it worked! No, Bella doesn't come every night, but if I see her 2 times in one week, I'm thrilled for her and you can just see how happy she is to be out playing with friends!

So, it's become a thing. Our doggy play dates. We're always recruiting - we'll tell any dog owner we see - the more, the merrier! About 2-3 weeks ago, just as doggy play date was ending - dogs all leashed for the stroll home, fat pink tongues hanging wildly from happy mouths (the dogs, not the owners) - a small speck appeared in the distance. One tall man, one small yellow labrador puppy. 9 weeks old. Awwwww! Stella mom wasted no time and got right to the recruiting - and we now have the first 'boy' dog of the doggy play date pack, Sofus.

If you're ever in Karup around 9pm, and you have a dog, head for the field. You'll find us, and a whole pack of very happy dogs.

And now, I'll leave you with a few pics of the crew in action (unfortunately, the night I had my camera, Bella was not in attendance so she's not pictured!)...

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