Pascal; All Season Dog~ Fall

Fall Hat

Perhaps you are wondering as I am, where the time has gone~ It’s so hard to believe that Christmas will be here in a few weeks. It was just summer! Since we seem to be flying through the seasons, and I’ve been too busy to write until now,  I apologize for being a season behind in my Pascal stories. You may remember a story I posted in July titled, PASCAL; All Season Dog~ “all season dog” meaning, in Pascal’s case, no matter what season, he’ll find an excuse to NOT walk!  If you are wondering about the  photo above, I placed that large leaf on Pascal’s head one day while we were at the park to show him that leaves don’t bite; they’re really not scary things! Even more puzzled? Read on……..

I love fall. It’s my favorite season. I love the way the air is crisp and seasoned with the delicious scent of smoke-curls wafting from rooftop chimneys. I always look forward to our walks in the fall and I was eagerly looking forward to the many fall walks we were about to be taking.

If you were to ask Pascal, I’m sure he would tell you that our walks for the first part of fall were wonderful. The temperatures were perfect for brisk walking and there weren’t many days that were windy. We had great walks down to Heather Farms where we could watch the daily  changes in leaf color- or I could. I brought my camera and stopped in awe every few steps, to take a picture. Pascal thought that was great because it meant that he could stop and sniff around while I took pictures- one of his favorite outside occupations. He was as ecstatic with this freedom as I was with the potential to “preserve” every minute shade of the color spectrum. Our walks were mutually wonderful~ until about mid-way through fall-

One day  Pathway to Fall 11/2009

we started walking down the sidewalk, and guess what happened? The leaves were  falling off their branches and were headed straight for US!! Yikes!!!  All of a sudden Pascal  darted  in front of me, straight out to my side.   I almost tripped over him. They were  coming to get us, those beautiful leaves!

Our walks became difficult. Pascal was convinced that we were under attack. There were a couple of really bad days. It got windy and the leaves became really aggressive-  and what was wrong with me, Pascal wondered as he sat down in the middle of the sidewalk with leaves shooting down all around him. Didn’t I see what was happening? How could I be so stupid as to consider walking at such a time. I called him towards me to make him continue walking, and gave a little tug on his leash. That only convinced him that I had become just plain lame and needed a more powerful message or we were both going to become victims of this ruthless assault from the sky- My second tug on the leash made him budge! He stood, turned around  so that his back was towards me and,  with all 18 lbs. of his little body tugged hard in the direction of the car. O.k~ I got it!

For the next two days I didn’t even try to go walking. The morning of the third day was sunny, warm, & perfectly calm. Great! A wonderful day for a walk. Surely the leaves must be off the trees now.  “Let’s go! I said, standing at the door with his leash in my hand. He came bounding to the door; unusual for Pascal- for a walk. He wiggled excitedly as I fastened his harness. All right, I thought. Two days without a walk. Now he really wants to go. I felt excited too. This was going to be a good one. I could feel it!

I just barely got him out of his car-seatbelt and he was off and running down the sidewalk, pulling me behind him.  This lasted just long enough to get us partway down the  block. Then he abruptly slowed to a walk. It was such a beautiful morning. The sky was sparkling blue and not a single leaf was falling.  They were lying in scattered  piles that covered the sidewalk. Like always when I bring my camera, I was looking  for the “perfect shot” and not paying much attention to Pascal.

As we continued down the sidewalk  I became aware of erratic little tugs from the other end of the leash. With the next tug I looked down at Pascal and saw one hind leg raised high in an attempt to hop over a leaf. I kept watching as we walked and when I saw what he was doing, I couldn’t keep from laughing. First it was one leg up high, &  then another. If he had been able to figure out how to do it, I’m certain he would have very quickly been airborn. As it was, he was doing what looked like a complicated jig down the length of the sidewalk, trying to avoid stepping on those evil leaves! Oh Fall, you most perfect of seasons, whatever has happened to you?

Looking out the window at the 5:00 darkness moving in to blanket bare tree limbs, I’m reminded that it’s Winter now! Somehow we made it through Fall! We actually survived our walks!  Now, I have a feeling, we are about to see how we fare with Winter. It snowed last night. It almost NEVER snows here-  We didn’t walk this morning. My decision. Too cold!  Hmmmm~!

Leading the Life of Pascal

9/19/09 Recouperating

It’s been awhile since I’ve written.  Pascal and I had a little ordeal to get through,  but we made it and I’m happy to say, everything turned out well!  Pascal managed to avoid two weeks worth of walks, as well as a trip to the groomers,  so, with the extra attention and as much sympathy from me as he could get, I think he didn’t consider it a totally bad trade-

One evening I noticed that the upper corner of hisl eft eyelid looked red. My first thought was that it must be an eye infection.  I hoped that I could put hot compresses on it and it would go away. After applying hot compresses several times a day for five days I saw no improvement at all. I started to think that maybe it was something else;  a spider bite, perhaps, or-?  I was stumped~!  When my daughter saw it she said that one of her dogs had something that looked like that & it turned out to be a tick- Tick? I hadn’t thought of that-  Uh-oh—— I don’t deal with ticks! I decided that I’d better make an appointment with the vet.

I brought him in the following day and was shocked to hear that this little red bump was a tumor. I was told they are usually benign and it could possibly remain there as long as it wasn’t touching the cornea~ and his wasn’t. We decided to try antibiotic drops in his eye for a week and see if maybe they would shrink it a bit. I was supposed to call back the following week & report on how the eye was doing. The day that I brought him in, (the picture on the right,) it really didn’t look very big to me-For blog But six days later, after using the drops to shrink it all week, this is what it looked like~(the photo on the left.) Not a pretty sight!

Eye after 6 days When I reported this to the vet he said to bring him in & he’d remove it. So~ I spent 2/3 of the next day in the waiting room at the vets while Pascal was in surgery. Finally, after what seemed like forever, they brought Pascal out to me, groggy & miserable,  with stitches in his eyelid and a “cone” around his head. I carried him carefully to the car and strapped him into his seatbelt, where he lay down, moaning & breathing funny; making the entire 10-minute ride home feel more like 30 minutes.  It was awful to see him like that. The first two days were rough, but I could see improvement each day and by the third day he was  himself again, running to the window to bark at squirrels, and picking through his dinner, Pascal-style, scattering it around the dish so that it would look like he’d eaten more than he actually had- and thus garner his favorite treat, some baked potato.

**Pascal 9/26/09

I took this picture two days ago and you can see, other than the skin being a bit pink,-  and that’s probably because all of his fur hasn’t grown back yet from where it was shaved, his eye looks “like new!”

The weather has finally cooled off, so I’m hoping  he’ll be ready to  go for walks again~  as long as it’s not too hot or too cold, or raining, or windy, or muddy- or too many prickly stickers, or~~~~~never mind! Feeling good!! C’mon Pascal,  let’s go!

Let’s Go!

IMG_8717

This is the second part to my last post on, ” Pascal, all season dog”-  the “all season” meaning, no matter what the season,  Pascal will have a reason not to walk. His most-used,  weather related excuse is the wind. The wind is a great one because he can count on it to be around no matter what the season. It’s definitely his most reliable source,  followed by  summer’s heat and winter’s cold . Fall and Spring are always good for wind,  and the few days that are left free from the elements are, believe it or not, actually good for walks! We have even had some very good walks on those days. But it’s the days, the ones that actually have “weather,”  where the problem occurs, and it’s of those days that I write.

Assume for this post that it is a typical windy day- ( I’m choosing windy, since those are our most prevalent encounters, but the things I’m about to describe here occur equally as much on any weather-related day.)  I also should state that “wind” for Pascal can be anything from high velocity, sway trees, , shake leaves off branches,  to the slightest puff of a breeze- anything that can be even remotely experienced as air moving-

So——I left off in my last post,  where we’ve gotten out of the car, Pascal has chosen a few “lucky” bushes to water, and now he’s ready to walk. He takes off,  quickly- eagerly, ahead of me. For a few fleeting seconds, following him, walking as fast as I can, I think, could it be that he doesn’t notice the wind~ or maybe,  finally he just  doesn’t care?~  No sooner have those thoughts crossed my  mind than I notice that, while still out in front of me, he has started hopping with one back leg raised every other step, so that it  looks like he is either skipping or has a seriously hurt leg. By now we have almost walked/hopped, to the end of the first block. As we approach the corner I notice he has slowed  down and is no longer pulling  in front of me, but instead, has fallen behind and is walking so close to the back of my leg, ( I think he’s walking in my footprints- ) that if I were to suddenly stop, he’d crash right into me. I realize then, he’s using  me as a wind-break;  actually pretty clever!  Apparently walking in my footprints doesn’t offer enough protection-

The tension on the leash has shifted from him pulling me, to me  pulling him. This is only good for four or five steps. I know what’s coming next, and it’s more than just reaching the end of the block.  A sudden sharp tug stops me mid step and I know it’s happened. I turn around and let my eyes roll down the leash  until they meet Pascal’s-  (He has seated himself firmly in the middle of the sidewalk and is staring up at me,)  “What is it, bud? Come on, let’s go!” I try to muster as much enthusiasm into my voice as possible. He looks at me  a few seconds, then looks away, but doesn’t budge. “Come on Pascal. We’re almost there! Let’s go see-” I plead,  giving  the leash a little tug. Nothing happens. He’s dropped anchor. I know once we’ve reached this point, I can tug on the leash and cajole him forever, he’s not going to budge. I’m left with only one alternative-

I bend down and scoop him into my arms saying, ” You need a little jump-start, do you? O.k, I’ll carry you, but just for a little bit-” I carry him half of the block until his 18lbs. feel more like 100 lbs. “That’s it, bud,” I say, setting his 4 feet firmly on the sidewalk. He immediately sits down-  “I can’t carry you any more. Time to walk. We’re almost there!” I say “heel,” give a little tug on the leash and start to walk forward- only to have the leash slacken when I reached its end.

I turn around and face him again. He’s still sitting there, but refuses to look at me. He knows I’m not pleased with him. As I talk he looks off in one direction, then turns his head to look in the other direction- anything but look at me. Finally I decide this is definitely not a day to be going for a walk- (not with Pascal, anyway.)  “O.k!” I say. “Fine. Let’s go home!”I turn around  and before I can say “heel,” Pascal is off, once again in the lead, pulling me! He holds his head high and moves quickly, prancing with polished Bedlington grace.

“Slow down!” I yell after him, as I chase his wagging tail–

straight into the wind–

the entire length of the block back to the car—–!

“Good walk, Pascal!” I say, trying to catch my breath. He looks up at me as I strap him into his seat belt for the ride home and in his eyes I see a peaceful sense of calm-  That had to be a sign of agreement!

Pascal after a walk- in the car ready to go home-

PASCAL; All Season Dog!

Haircut After our walk today, I have decided that Pascal is definitely a “Uniquely, All-Season-Dog!”

What’s that, you might be wondering~

The answer goes something like this-

I have taken Pascal out for a walk , 5 out of the last 7 days. Out of those five outings, Pascal has  walked 1 1/2 times!   Huh?  It seems that no matter what the season, Pascal can always come up with a weather-related issue to not walk!

It has been our routine for the last 10 yrs.,  to take a walk every morning. When I pick up his leash and call him,  he never comes bounding to the front door like every other dog I’ve had. This is what Pascal does-  From the comfort of his position stretched out on the couch, lying with his chin on his paws, he watches me out of the tops of his eyes, (although looking at this photo, I can’t figure out how he ever sees anything at all-).  They follow me over to the corner of the room while I take his leash from it’s basket, then over to the front door where I stand, waiting. “Come on Pascal!”  I urge. He continues to stare at me, so I say a little sternly, (at least I think it is,)  “Now Pascal!” He decides I really mean it, so he lowers his front two legs to the floor and with his back legs still  up on the couch and his butt in the air, he gives me a huge  yawn, accompanied by a long, slow stretch, then  slowly places his hind legs on the floor. “Come on, Pascal- hurry-up!”  At this his tail starts wagging and,  not taking his eyes off me,  he slowly walks towards where I stand waiting with his leash in my hand,  careful not to increase his speed. I wait,~  he’s getting close-  Just as he gets almost to where I can grab him, he veers slightly to the side and attempts to walk right past me!  “Uh uh, buddy,” I say with my hands on his collar. It clicks!~  There—-leashed!!!  His tail continues wagging as we walk to the car. His pace has picked-up considerably. I notice that he actually seems excited to be going . I strap him into his seatbelt, start the car, and we’re off.

There are a few places that we usually go to walk, all of them requiring under ten-minutes to reach. I try to rotate so Pascal doesn’t become bored with any particular one. He watches out the window the whole way there, probably trying to determine our destination. As I pull to the curb to park the car, he begins an excited, loudly- shrill,  barking, which, should anyone be around,  causes heads to whip to our direction. He continues,  his barking mounting to a wonderful frenzy,  while being temporarily oblivious to my pose of quiet. Finally it’s like he suddenly realizes that  the rest of the world isn’t interested that we’ve arrived, and that I’m sitting there, waiting for him to stop barking. He stops instantly and fixes me with a nonchalant stare, as if to say,  “So what are you waiting for, I’m ready-”  In the silence, with his barks echoing in my head, I open my car door and prepare to get out.

He’s wound-up another bark, but keeps it sitting, bubbling in his throat making funny sounds as he looks out the window and pretends that,  of course he’s going to sit quietly and wait for me to come  take him out. But I know differently. The minute I start to climb out,  a little yelp slips out his mouth. I turn and fix him with an angry stare. He immediately looks away as if he hadn’t just made that yelp~ and would never even think of barking at such a time . I get out of the car and slam my door,  his resumed barking following  me through the closed windows. I’ve tried leaving him in the car until he stops barking, but he doesn’t stop, or if he does,  it’s only momentarily. As soon as I grasp the door handle, the barking resumes. I never have the time or the patience to stand there forever playing that game – As I reach to open the car door he stands, tail wagging, excitedly ready to leap out the minute the door is opened, so I have to tell him to sit and stay while I open his door,  unfasten his seat belt and lift him out. (He’s already had one broken leg so there’s no way I’m going to let him jump out of the car-)

In case I haven’t painted a clear enough picture, let me just say, without a doubt, Pascal is now clearly excited about going for this walk. Once out, he pulls me to a few bushes, “the Chosen ” and then he’s off, pulling ahead of me down the sidewalk. This is what happened yesterday. This is what happens almost every time we go for a walk, with only slight, weather-related variations, (i.e.does he need to wear a coat today, or, do we need to get an extra-early start before it gets too hot? etc……)

I’ve decided to save the actual “walk” for my next post.  I hadn’t expected when I started writing, that it would take so many words to relay Pascal’s behavior from the moment I enthusiastically say, “C’mon Pascal, let’s go for a walk,” to actually beginning “the walk itself.”

You may be wondering why  I’m including the following photos ~  I always enjoy seeing beautiful pictures, so in the hopes that you too, enjoy them, I like to include some at the end of my post as a way of saying, “Thank-You” for taking the time to read. I hope you enjoy these~

And if you really, Really, enjoy them, they are all obtainable for you to have, either on a set of notecards, or if there is one that you’d particularly like to have enlarged to hang on your wall,  convo me, and I’ll see if I can do that for you~

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