Dry and Delicate

Nope, this isn’t a post about a feminine hygiene product.

It was 87 degrees Fahrenheit at 3 pm today when I got back with the dogs from an outdoors adventure. And although that in and of itself is absurd for this time of year in the Pacific Northwest, what is more absurd is that today was supposed to be one of the cooler days of the week.

Since the temperatures here actually tend to peak a bit later in the day, I’m sure it was another 90+ degrees. Un-freaking-real. I’ve lived here since 2001 and cannot recall it being this hot, ever, this early. In fact, the local television news stations confirmed tonight that it’s been the hottest June on record, with the average exceeding 78 degrees. That’s pretty wild considering how many Junes I recall shivering and debating about turning on the heat in the house. Just the fact that I watched the 6 pm news tonight is a testament to the heat. Usually I’m out with the dogs doing something. Too motherfucking hot, so instead I laid, very still, on the couch. Of course, it’s actually pretty hard to get cooled down when there’s a dog draped across your legs.

The uber scary thing here right now isn’t really the heat. It’s the dry. Everything is like tinder. Although I really have no lawn to speak of, what grass I do have turned into hay weeks ago. The dogs that like to roll in the grass do their thing enthusiastically as ever, but emerge looking like they just visited Uncle Buck’s Hee Haw Country Zoo. Okay, no such place, but maybe I’ll consider the name for my place given how overrun with stupid bunny rabbits and ground-nesting birds my place is. Even the deer walk casually across my property. It’s like all the critters know I could care less about landscaping and that my dogs are inept hunters.

Today’s adventure involved shade in the woods, with some open stretches of grass in full sunlight. The sunlit stretches actually weren’t bad thanks to a breeze – although that’s also a recipe for disaster when it comes to fires. JaYoBaCa seemed to still think it would be a good idea to play ball on those open stretches. I allowed it a little, but they wisely listened when I informed them that we were “on a break” after a few throws. One of the many phrases they know. Jasmine and Brady immediately cease and desist, but Youke and Camm always come back five seconds later to see if I really meant it. Interestingly, today, no one turned back to question if that’s really what I meant to say.

Luckily, we did find that one of the water holes is still a water hole. A bit more mud, but still the mud to water ratio is decent enough for a cooling swim. Sadly, and I’ll cruelly admit, hysterically, one of the water holes completely dried up. All four dogs raced ahead – because they map out everything and know where all the trendy and cool water places are. I found all four of them standing in a dried out hole in the earth, staring disbelieving at me, as if it was totally my fault that the Pacific Northwest has turned into an Africa-like sub-continent.

We found this though.

June303 Bad picture quality as I only had my not-smart phone on me.

Sometimes in the winter this culvert will have a pool of water in it. Guess the dogs were hoping there’d be water there. Alas, not so much.

Youke seemed to think it did provide some respite from the sun though. It’s hard to be a mostly black dog sometimes.

June302 That’s desperation right there.

Youke then remembered a hidden water hole deep in the brush and soaked himself.

I refer to Youke as my delicate dessert flower. Probably because he’s the only dog I’ve ever raised from a puppy, I worry about him a lot. As in near constantly.

Someone chided me once when we started agility training after he’d passed his first year birthday about treating him as if he was so delicate. After all, I was informed,  his ancestors were bred to work big tough cattle. Okay, I thought, he’s only one-quarter heeler.

Truthfully, Youke is a tough guy. But his body is delicate and breakable. He just doesn’t seem to fully realize that. Sure, if there’s a bear in the woods or a bigger Great Dane-sized dog, he wisely seem to know his own size. But when it comes to tests of endurance or getting to something he really wants, i.e. A BALL, he knows no limits.

I’ve watched as Youke races Brady in what is very clearly some kind of macho man test of who is the faster dog on land and as he races Brady in the water to retrieve a ball. Brady easily beats him on the latter test if he remembers to employ his superman launching skills to get into the water first. Not sure why Youke hasn’t mastered that skill. It’s fascinating that most of the competition seems to be between him and Brady. Clearly a guy thing. But then again, Jasmine is like a mother-big sister-dog god and Camm makes it very clear to anyone that absolutely no one is to even try to beat her at doing anything. The boys pay serious heed to those instructions. Jasmine, sometimes not so much.

Took Youke to the vet yesterday for his annual check-up and to Mr. Bob for a massage. I’m a little, okay, a lot, concerned about him. But then I always am. When Youke is feeling good, his movements are beautiful and fluid. This weekend, despite the higher temperatures, he seemed to feel good and ran fluidly in agility competition. But two weeks ago, he seemed stiff and his leg hitch was back. Mr. Bob had a good point. Youke is now seven and that’s middle age in dog years. Or something like that, because middle age isn’t 40 anymore right? Of course, Youke is following the genetic marvel that is Jasmine.

Jasmine is nearly 12. If she was a human, she’d be that enviable type like Christie Brinkley, rocking a bikini and showing off sculpted abs and a defined, non-sagging butt.

After talking with the vet, seems a preventive anti-inflammatory before a big adventure and a follow up later in the evening might be in order.

Visits to Mr. Bob may too need to become more than the occasional or when it seems like he’s broken. Youke, who’d only seen Mr. Bob one time before in his life, went immediately into the special massage room when we arrived yesterday and plopped himself down on Mr. Bob’s massage mattress. Given that Youke is usually a bit reserved and suspicious of strangers being so intimate with him, it was apparent from his full body stretch, closed eyes and relaxed face that he was enjoying the experience.

Youke seemed fine today, moving beautifully with no stiffness and no hitch in his get-along. I suspect my delicate boy just sometimes suffers for his lack of attention to his limits.

Of course, things like tumbling 20 feet off a narrow bridge ledge into a creek below because he couldn’t keep his balance as proficiently as Jasmine – who had jumped to the top of the bridge like a gazelle and perched on the ledge with perfect and precarious balance – don’t help.

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