May 12, 2017

A Snail's Pace Today

If this morning is any indication for the rest of Friday, we are in for a long long day. That's not a bad thing and may not even been any worse than a normal day in retirement but today just feels different. Is it the weather, baseball, dog food, or a brain that can't make a decision?
It's one of those deals where you feel hungry but have no idea what you would like to eat. I mean not even close to finding anything of interest. Or you feel like going somewhere but can't make up your mind where to go. Although the day was just a couple of hours old before the first hound walk of the day, I could tell things were working so much slower than normal ... except my fast computer and internet connection.

Everything and everyone may seem slow around here so far ... except Sadie. She has never had a slow day in her life since she was born June 2008. This morning was no different. She has moved up the time to start the walks lately to a little past 9am and today was no different.

As soon as I told her "go get the rabbits", she took of running up the path with her nose to the ground.  Maybe it's just the words "go get" is what sets her off because bloodhounds are not bred to hunt or catch rabbits. They are bred for search and rescue, along with flushing deer out of the woods or finding the deer that has been shot. We are neither hunters nor SAR, so her tracking instincts are for her own pleasure.

The focus of both hounds this morning seemed to be about a foot inside the brush that is getting thicker by the day. With that growth is the increase of razor sharp thorns, that mean nothing to a bloodhound that has locked into something interesting.

I gave Stella some 'semi' freedom. She basically went her own pace, trotted one time to catch Stella and I never said "over here" but a couple of times throughout the whole walk. I did have to backtrack to walk over to her twice, to get her moving. I don't leave her behind anymore because I cannot afford to have her make a mistake following that drainage ditch to the highway.

It is interesting how her coat has changed since last year. For the first 12 months her color was a lot like Sadie, a light tan. Her tail was course with the bloodhound 'black and tan' from one of her parents. Over the winter I noticed her coat was becoming a little more course like her tail and also the color was changing by becoming more dark like the 'black and tan' on her tail.

I spied this bird out in the middle of the field and zoomed in on it with a 200mm setting. I was almost sure that Sadie would see it and take off after it because that is her favorite aerobic activity ... chasing all and any kind of birds of any size. For that reason bird baths and bird feeders are nowhere in the yard. The bird was sitting as quiet as a statue so we would not notice.

Yet, with a bloodhound nose that can hear things 4x more than the human ear and a nose that is already setting at 200x more powerful ... Sadie smelled the bird that was sitting so quietly, like a statue. Sadie didn't move a muscle, just analyzed ... then turned and continued her walk.

Stella was lagging way behind us and just like Sadie was about a foot into the heavy thick brush. I was totally ignored and there was no way she was leaving unless I walked back to where she was and give her a nudge to come on.

It didn't matter that I was standing right next to her calmly saying "come on Stella" over and over. It didn't matter that I had time to hold my camera, focus it precisely to where I wanted it ... I had all the time in the world to do whatever I wanted ... because she was not moving ... nor acting like she is hearing a word I am saying.

I can't remember any of my past basset hounds being as stubborn as a bloodhound. The AKC writeup says they are but their stubbornness is nothing compared to a bloodhound. After the nudge, Stella took off trotting to catch up with Sadie. I wasn't going to head toward the far right corner today, so all I had to say was "over here" and both hounds veered left and headed toward the back of the field.

It was slow moving this morning. This walk felt like it was taking forever, just like me trying to make decisions. It looked and felt like rain with nothing on the forecast for days. A nice aroma from some sort of flowers and a constant noise from a tractor at the farm behind us, but still to wet to work this cornfield to the right of us.

Sadie was the first to find some fresh natural protein and was willing to share it. But if that stuff is anything like peanut butter, then Stella will push herself into a position to hog all of it and not share with anyone. Had Stella lost track of where I was? There was nothing to see in the direction she was looking.

For the 2nd time I walked over to both Sadie and Stella and explained to them the benefits of moving on and continuing the walk. They both moved with me along side and then trotted out in front of me.

As it happens every year with spring rains alternating with sunshine, the field is growing fast and it will not be long before I am back to the point of seeing nothing more than a tip of a tail and maybe the tops of their backs when we walk.

Stella would sure like to check out that drainage ditch or the middle of the field between my house and the neighbors. She will always try to escape but will turn my direction if I yell "over here".

She is not going to speed up just because I want to get home. She will continue her own pace, then follow her own routine once inside. Her next big thing of the day will be having lunch. I am considering buying some dog food for her that has the highest protein and fat percentages I can find, with hopes that helps her to gain her weight back.

They eventually make it back to the house to finish the first of three walks today.

After trying all of the different dog foods, grain free and back to rice for Heidi, nothing happened for her until this past February when I switched to the current food I feed all three hounds. She had regained her 13 pounds lost in June 2015. I don't know what caused her recovery.

Will it take that long for Stella? That's the million dollar question.

Sadie will search right up to the concrete carport floor, she never slows down once she is outside.

I read where Jon Katz's dog tested positive for 4 different tick related infections in upper state New York. You can read about that here. I went to look at Stella's vet receipt from a few weeks ago and confirmed she tested negative for those 4 same infections. I wonder if he every used Nexgard for his two herding dogs? I've had great results for the 2nd year in a row with that product.

I have a lot of plans today, some that know me would say they are nothing but dreams. LOL Some may happen, some may not. With the day slowed down, that will give me more hours to give myself a haircut (been doing it for years) with clippers, give Stella a bath, vacuum the house and maybe a little grocery shopping.

All achievable ... then again it will depend just how well I can make a decision. With the Reds playing on tv in San Francisco, there will not be any sleeping until almost 1am for the next few days. Is that late night last night watching them win, the cause for slowness today. My weird dreams during sleep continue.

Another week has passed here in 'the tropics' of Southern Indiana ... the rain is gone, sunshine is on the way. The pace is hard but someone has to do it.

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