Our boy turns seven today. Seven years of love and snuggles and play and joy and laughter and smiles and exasperation and sweetness and tail wagging and pawing and cuddle-time and barks and bullies and deep soulful looks. Happy birthday little man, we love you so.
I wake up, suddenly. I feel like someone is staring at me. I turn over slowly and there he is, a small furry little fella with big brown eyes sitting over me looking down. His eyes say everything he can’t speak. I’m half awake and tell him no. Gently at first… no buddy, lay down, lay down now. He doesn’t take no for an answer and leans down and gives me a kiss on the cheek. Again I say, no buddy, lay down. He’s relentless. I try to go a bit more firm with him, NO, Weston, lay down. He ignores me. We’re having a battle of wills.
I tell him I didn’t get to sleep until really late last night and in fact have only slept for about four or five hours. He doesn’t seem to care. I change tactics. I ask if he needs to go outside. Maybe that’s it. I get up, he follows, and I think, OK, this is it. I open the doggie door and he sticks his head out, then pulls it back in. He sticks it out one more time, looks around, and again pulls it back in. I don’t have time for these shenanigans. I open the door, telling him it’s OK and that a little rain/freezing rain won’t hurt him and that I’ll stand right there in the door, in t-shirt and shorts, waiting for him. It’s freezing cold outside and I’m cold waiting in the doorway. He ventures out tentatively, makes it to the bottom of the steps, and immediately turns around and comes back in. I shake my head and pad back toward the bedroom. I need more sleep.
Of course, he follows me. I get back in bed and look down. He’s sitting on the floor next to the bed looking up at me, those big eyes doing their magic trick on me again. Practically programmed I scoot back, making room for him. I open up the covers and he jumps up effortlessly, laying down up against me with his head on my arm. He demands to be petted for a while, continually nudging me with his nose until I get just the right spot on his tummy. It’s nearly 8:00 AM now. I still want to go back to sleep.
We stay in that place for what seems like a long while, me petting his tummy, him enjoying what we have come to call his morning cuddle time. This is not the first time this scenario has happened. He’s trained me well.
Finally, finally, I hear him snore. This little sign tells me I can stop petting him and try to go to sleep. I do.
We both wake up. Him still up against me, head on my arm. I just spent over an hour spooning our boy. I vow, as I get up, and he gets up reluctantly, that this won’t happen again. It’s a vow I’ve made many times. His soul filled eyes melt my heart, even when I’m irritated by him. I remind myself he’s just a dog, but I love him so.
He jumps up on the sofa next to me, stares at me with those eyes, and paws my hand.
Today was a long day on the road. By choice we went an extra bit today so we could have a short day tomorrow. More time in Santa Fe when we get there. Because today was so long we didn’t do much stopping. Gas, food, rest stops, and just two extra little stops. One at the World’s Largest Fork in Springfield, MO and the other to photograph the Coleman Theater in Miami, OK where Don Hale used to go as a young gent.
Impressions from the day:
Great coffee this morning from Mudhouse Coffee in Springfield, MO. I regret not buying a t-shirt. There was great art on the walls… many black and white photographs of people in white who had mud on them. Loved it. Also a great dinner tonight from Tyler’s Barbeque in Amarillo, TX. The barbecue was Texas sized. Sadly I think we threw away nearly as much as we ate. Our room still smells of barbecue. I think it was the best barbecue I’ve ever had. All in all a very successful food and beverage day.
Today was a scorcher … the thermostat in the rig topped out at 106. It was so hot that when we stopped for our second cup of coffee in Oklahoma City the little girlie started hyperventilating and had to be carried back to the car. She is a tad bit of a drama queen, but it was also hot hot hot. A dry heat.
We are now fugitives in Oklahoma. A tip for anyone driving on the Oklahoma Turnpike… there are not always attendants at the toll plazas meaning you have to have exact change. We made it all the way to our last booth and then only had a $20. There was a change machine, but it only took $1 and $5. We looked at each other, saw the cars behind us lining up, looked at the red light which told us we couldn’t go unless we threw in the change we didn’t have, and we went on through anyway. As we did the alarms went off at the booth. I’m sure, if they took our photo as this happened, the people reviewing it will be cracking up. Our facial expressions were a combo of amusement, consternation, shock, horror, and guilt. Very funny. I think we were both gesturing…. arms up in the air as if to say… what are we supposed to do in this situation?
In two days we’ve seen two enormous crosses. One in Effingham, Illinois, and the other in some un-named little Texas town we passed. They were pretty much equal in size.
It rained on us today for awhile. It was nice and decently cool while it was raining. Then it got hot (see above).
We waved at Mangum, OK and Pryor, OK as we passed the exits with those names and then chatted about K’s childhood a bit. She spent a lot of time in Oklahoma as a kid and it’s always fun talking about that. Someday we need to do more than just drive through. I’d love to see where she was born and some of the places she’s told me stories about.
We started this morning at 10:00… after getting coffee and photographing the fork, which I know sounds late, and got to Amarillo at 7:30. Nine and a half hours on the road. Tomorrow we have a short day, only four hours of driving. Who knows what adventure we’ll find. I love road trips.
Weston is a guy of deep thoughts and feelings. He has soul.
I looked up a moment ago and there he was sitting on the chair in the corner looking out the window. He looked like a person, deep in thought, contemplating all of life’s ups and downs. He looked introspective and philosophical. He looked like Weston usually looks.
Six years ago we decided we wanted to get a dog and we decided on a Schnoodle because Karen’s daughter, Mary, had one and we loved him. So cute, great personality, small, and to top it off they don’t shed and they have hair akin to human hair so they don’t have dander and don’t smell like a dog. Ever. In fact they sort of have a smell all their own, each in their own way, like humans do. But I digress.
We went and looked at some dogs in East/Central Oregon and when one of the little guys came over and licked my toe it was all over. He was the one. Six weeks later, in April of 2007, we went and picked him up in Portland where we met with the woman who raised him. We’d had a name picked out for him already, but when we saw him, looked in his eyes, we knew instantly the name didn’t work. He looked too smart for the name. Too studious. Too deep. So on the drive back home, with the little guy sitting on Karen’s lap in the brand new bed we’d gotten for him, we threw names around. None fit until somehow one of us, I think it was Karen, mentioned the town of his birth, Weston. Yes, he was born in Weston, Oregon in the Blue Mountains. We looked at each other and that was it. Somehow, some way, Weston seemed right. It suited him. The him of major thought and intense looks.
Now, nearly six years later, he still has that same look. That deep look. He looks at you and into you at the same time. He is a guy of passionate feelings and sincere real love. He is incredibly smart, cunning, and curious. He is our little man.
Riley is girl of deep feelings, but of a different sort. She’s a little spitfire.
A year after we were lucky enough to get Weston we decided he needed a companion for those times we had to leave him at home. We didn’t want him to be alone. We wanted him to have a little pal, a buddy. He got a sister, not a natural born sister, but a sister none the less, and they have a love hate relationship. We had a name picked out for her too, and that one ended up sticking. Somehow Riley fits her. She’s full of energy, very vocal, and loves to put her head up against our heads and have a little pet. She gets so excited she can hardly contain herself, and is a tad quirky, but we adore her.
This morning when I looked over at Weston looking out the window a wave of love came over me, as it does so often with both of our little furry babes. Karen and/or I say, at least once a day I think, “I love them”. One of us always says it and the other one then always says, “I do too”. And we do. We love them. We love how they love us. How Weston always welcomes us home with a whole body wiggle and Riley always wants to lay in a lap. We love Weston’s kisses and the little girlie’s insistent pawing for a pet. We even love their more annoying habits, as you do with little beings you cherish. We love the schnoods. Like I loved how he was looking out the window this morning like a little person. Just as I love how, right now, he’s laying in my lap snuggling, looking back at me with those eyes with those deep deep feelings, and Riley is all curled up in Karen’s lap snuggling in close to her. We love them.
We love them.
I walked out into the backyard this afternoon to throw the ball a little for the boy. He’s been restless today. Sometimes he gets like that. Usually chewing on a bully (which I gave him) or throwing the ball a couple of times in the house (which I did), or letting him sit on my lap and petting him (also did) work to assuage his anxiousness. Not today. He is sort of a high strung anxious little guy sometimes. So outside I went, in my lounge pants (AKA pajama bottoms) that I’m still wearing. Yes, the advantages of Karen and I working from home is the ability to stay dressed down for the day. Until we have to go out in public that is, but that’s a topic for another day. Back to Alfie… or more accurately, Weston. I was kind of desperate to have him quit bugging me. I love him, but having him come up to me and nudge my hand, or bark at me, or whatever over and over today was getting on my nerves. So out into the backyard, in my lounge pants, I went. I threw the ball for him a few times. Riley also got in on the action a little… in all ways actually. She chewed on the bully, tugged on her brown thing (formerly a stuffed monkey, now just the brown thing), chased Weston’s ball in the house, and got her own lap sitting complete with a pet or two. She was also in on the outside ball throwing action. We also just took them for a short walk around a couple of blocks… not in our lounge pants (Karen had to get out of the house and off the phone for 30 minutes… it’s a bad one today for her)… but again, I digress. So while we were outside, the dogs and I that is, in the backyard (me in my lounge pants), I noticed Alfie. He was laying near the back steps. Poor guy. I picked him up and found, for the third or fourth time since he’s been a part of the family, that he was soaking wet. Weston, who has taken a particular shine to Alfie, carries him around sometimes. Sometimes that means he carries Alfie outside. And sometimes he gets distracted by a squirrel, drops Alfie, and forgets to bring him back in the house. If we notice Alfie out there at night, which we have in the past when we take the pups out for their last constitution before bed, we tell Weston to get Alfie and bring him in, which he does. Pretty cute actually. I say… “Weston, go get Alfie. Get him. Good boy!” and he does. He will go get him. But today, Alfie’s fate was not of the warm and dry kind. He was soaking. Forgotten yesterday by Weston outside and left to weather the storm on his own. Poor Alfie.
After I saw Alfie I brought him in, of course, and propped him up on the kitchen counter to dry. It’s his normal drying spot. Seems to work. Weston will miss him until Alfie re-joins the fold, but it has to be done.
And speaking of Weston missing him… this is interesting. Weston has never really taken any particular interest in any one toy. He loves chasing and catching the ball the most and will occasionally carry around the Mailman or the Hedgehog. Both of which have stayed in tact, a sure sign he likes them as he hasn’t chewed the stuffing out of them. But that’s about it… he will carry one around for awhile and then put it down, forgotten for quite a long time until the next time he picks one up and carries it around. Alfie is different. We picked up Alfie, and his co-hort Squiggy, when we stopped at Praireland Feeds (where we buy the pup’s food) on my birthday weekend as we headed out of town. I noticed this little bin of stuffed things and thought the pups needed a little treat for the trip so I picked up a red and green one. The naming of them happened after we got home from the weekend. Weston took a particular liking to red, later named Alfie. He started carrying him around everywhere. He brought him to bed with him, something he’s never done with anything other than a bully stick before (which we don’t let him have in bed by the way), carried him outside when he went out to do his business, brought him downstairs to the media room when we went down to watch TV at night, and had him with him when he took his naps. He has never done this and it’s kind of cute. He and Alfie have become fast fast friends. Squiggy gets a tad bit of attention, but he’s usually a meager substitute for Alfie when Alfie is out of commission, like he is today.
Weston will be happy when Alfie dries off and is dropped back on the floor. I’m sure he and his little buddy will be stuck like glue again, until the next time he’s left outside and gets showered on.
I was sitting here this morning doing my usual routine… drink some tea, have a bagel, check my email, Facebook, Google Reader… and I heard it. The tell tale sound of Weston opening the closet door and rummaging through the shred box. By the time I responded, which was actually pretty quickly, with my usual…. Weston, NO, get out of there, he had a piece of paper and was making for the hills. Or in his case, more accurately, I should say his chair. He looked up at me and then, miraculously, dropped the paper. Riley, our little girlie, just stayed in her bed the whole time looking at both of us like we were lame idiots. She doesn’t play those games.
It made me think about them… our little lovelies. They are so different, in almost every way save one, they sort of look alike. And even that likeness has diminished as Riley aged and became more silver than dark gray. They are beauties. But then… we love them. And love might not even be a strong enough word for it…. but it’s all I’ve got.
Weston… He is the oldest, so he gets first billing. He’s our poet. Our feeling gent. He is ruled by emotion, no matter what kind, and acts on it purposefully and sometimes impulsively… or compulsively. He loves people and wants attention and love constantly. Always looking at you with those deep feeling eyes full of soul and pawing or nosing for a quick pet. He’s a bit of a two personality guy… taken away from his mother at too young an age (not our choice but the breeder’s, who was wanting to get out of the puppy business and did it too soon) he suffers from not enough discipline when he was young. We tried, but we weren’t his mamma and though he is ultra smart (sometimes the bane of our existence) he is equally as stubborn. He will look at you, know he’s being told no, and still do whatever it is he’s doing. Which mostly consists of being a thief of the highest caliber. We’ve tried every form of discipline we’ve researched and though he responds best to being ignored for a time (he loves us you see and doesn’t like to be left out), he still won’t give in. Stubborn. A stubborn, very very smart thief. He’s magic at it. He can get things off countertops… standing on his little hind legs, using his paw to reach up over where he can’t really see that well, pull something over to the edge, then grab it with his teeth. He opens closets doors, drawers, tips over trash cans, and jumps up in any chair that’s left out. It’s hilarious… and sometimes aggravating. We don’t really care. In the moment you get mad at him, but then you think about all the cunning and planning and skill and you have to laugh. His best, yet worst, thieving experience was when he opened a pocked in a backpack that was fully zipped closed, got out a bag of chocolate, and ate it all. This is always what we worry about the most… that he will thieve something bad for him. He tends to eat what he steals so you can’t get it from him. He’s swallowed ear plugs, numerous kleenex, napkins, food of all kinds, q-tips… the list goes on. The chocolate was the worst. We called the vet and had to pour (to his great displeasure) some hydrogen peroxide down him to get him to throw it all up. We did… and he did… all over the bathroom floor. Yuck… but we were happy because he was safe. He’s incorrigible. And his feelings run deep. He looks at you, as he’s flipping over onto his back and opening up his legs to get a good pet, with eyes that speak volumes. Not all dogs are like this… but he is. He’s the most feeling dog I’ve ever seen. It’s amazing, the soul that pours from his eyes to yours. Very expressive. Very sweet. Very deep and full of love. He’s our boy. Our little mister. Our Woodsy (as Karen calls him).
Riley… our little girl. She is a spitfire. Confident in every way save one. She’s afraid of the oven. It’s true. The minute the oven goes on, she makes haste to the family room and the back of the sectional that’s furthest from the door up to the kitchen. She hates the oven. We know it’s because it used to (before we unplugged this particular one) set off the smoke alarm. We have another nearby that isn’t as sensitive and has stayed plugged in…. have to be safe and all. When the oven door used to be opened, no matter what we were cooking in there, it set off this particular smoke detector… and the girlie hated it. That isn’t a strong enough word. Her ears are very sensitive…. we think it’s because her vision isn’t good. So even now, with the detector not going off every time, when the oven gets turned on she makes for the other room. She’s smart too… knows what that oven going on could mean. And she doesn’t like it. It’s cute and sad at the same time as she lays out there, a tiny ball, quivering. It’s the only time she seems afraid. Otherwise she’s a little ball of confidence, all ten pounds of her. She knows who she is and owns her space. Her little strut, and I will call it a strut, is so cute. Head held high, barking occasionally at anyone or anything she feels like, jumping up to put her front paws over her brother’s back to show she’s in charge. Confident. She’s sometimes loud, barking crazy-like whenever we get home, or someone comes over, or she thinks she hears someone outside. But it’s her… loud, confident, and so very cute. She’s chalk full of personality… playing like a cat likes to play, spinning around, hardly able to contain all the energy inside her little body. Yes, she sometimes tries to jump up (and she’s a fantastic jumper… so high for the size of her little self) up onto the couch or a chair and misses… her eyes again, not working as well as they should for depth… but she doesn’t let it stop her. Bouncing off the furniture only to immediately jump up again. She has moxy. She’s full of it. If only the rest of us could have half the confidence she possesses in her little self… fantastic.
And that’s them… our little cuties. So many nicknames… the boy, the girlie, riles, ri-ri, girlie cutie, wooser, woodsie, westenheimer, riley-roosey… it goes on and on. Whatever we happen to call them they are a big part of the joy in our lives. We love our little schnoodles. We also spoil the crap out of them… they eat great for them food, which we mix up, they have special beds all over the place, we buy them bones and bullies and toys, we take them for walks when it’s sunny (they hate the rain), we built up a really nice dog run/area at the back of our house including their own little door for going in and out with a gate we lock when we leave so that no one can accidentally let them out, we play ball (for Weston) and tug (for Riley) in the house when we can’t take them out for walks, and we love on them… all the time. It’s all so worth it because they are precious… they love us and bring us immense delight.
How could you not love these faces?