Life With Dogs – July 2021

July is the month I dream about in December but this year July has been a time of extremes.

A record breaking heat dome has brought endless days of above +30C temps with little if any rain. Heavy smoke from distant forest fires blankets our field with a thick haze that is turning the normally blue sky into a winter-like grey.

The conditions are such that our outdoor time has been limited to early mornings and late evenings and even then, one has to be mindful of the air advisory that is in place.

But there are always reasons to smile…

Six years ago, on July 3rd, Roland and I brought home our sweet Lacie to join the family. It was thought at that time that she was approximately 4 years old… that would make her about 10 today.

Happy Gotcha Day Lacie! Love you!

Occasionally a strong wind blows through and clears our skies giving us a short reprieve from the smell and the smoke.

But on many mornings the first sun of the day presents as a red ball glowing through a smokey haze casting a fiery radiance to the morning light.

When we are at our seasonal site, Odin and I usually head out early in the day to beat the heat and the crowds.

Debonair campground has a lovely aerated pond that is quiet in the early morn but transforms mid-day into a fun oasis for kids of all ages.

Our morning jaunts often include a walk to the main beach at St. Malo Provincial Park.

On this morning, I wondered what had captured Odin’s rapt attention.

It wasn’t long before I found out…

A squirrel, scampering about in the park adjacent to the beach, had caught his eye.

Odin is always on squirrel-watch.

Heading back to camp…

Just chillin’ on a hot summer’s day…

“The summer looks out from her brazen tower, through the flashing bars of July.” ~ Francis Thompson

**** This post is part of the 2021 Life With Dogs photography project. ****

Life With Dogs – June 2021

June is here and, for us, that means heading out to our seasonal site at Debonair Campground near St. Malo Provincial Park. Roland and I acquired this beautiful spot two summers ago. We were thrilled with the location and Roland immediately set to work building a fence and making it our summer place.

Little did we realize at the time that our world was about to come crashing down. Roland was diagnosed with brain cancer that October and died on November 21st of that year. I was shattered by his passing and truth be told, in many ways, still am.

Last summer, my first back at St. Malo without Roland, was gut-wrenching. This year is better. I now find myself in a more peaceful place but the edges of my being remain frayed by a lingering sadness.

The good news is that the covid restrictions are slowly being lifted and I am meeting new people at the campground. All of them are so very nice and, even at the ripe old age of 70, I find myself enjoying the idea of making new friends.

The dogs are my constant companions and are being so good. Switching to our summer lifestyle can be stressful for them but they seem to be taking it in stride.

Roland had a small garden where he liked to grow corn on the field side of our fence. Now it is a wildflower and butterfly garden in his memory. It is doing quite well this year. I think he would like it.

With the lifting of the covid restrictions we are finally allowed backyard visitors. Odin was so happy to have two of his best buds drop by unexpectedly for an afternoon playdate. They had a wonderful time and Odin was so happy!!

Two good dogs…

“What is one to say about June, the time of perfect young summer, the fulfillment of the promise of the earlier months, and with as yet no sign to remind one that its fresh young beauty will ever fade.” ~ Gertrude Jekyll

This post is part of the 2021 Life With Dogs photography project.

Life With Dogs – May 2021

May is the month I daydream about all winter long. It is the time of new prairie beginnings… the new greens of spring, the new warmth of the sun with winds that flow softly from the south.

“Goodbye,” cold north winds. Arrivederci! Adiós!

And then there are all the first happenings… the opening of my seasonal site at Debonair Campground (Thanks to my son, David, for helping me with this), the first seeds planted in the garden followed by the seedlings once the frost is no longer a threat. Happily, the first blossom has already graced the yard while robins and songbirds flit about. How I have missed their cheerful ditties.

The heavy shadow of the covid pandemic still hovers mightily over Manitoba. Our province has been hit hard during this third wave. The restrictions are many and the need to stay at home continues but the blue skies and sunshine make the isolation more tolerable.

Thank goodness I have Odin and Lacie for company. With all these covid challenges, I would be lost without them.

It is wonderful that finally the dogs and I can enjoy our field walks unencumbered by layers of sweaters and coats.

Finding a great big stick mid-field is simply the BEST! Odin proudly carries his treasures back to his yard. Sadly (for Odin) these trophies mysteriously seem to disappear shortly afterwards.

The warmer days allow for more yard fun.

The first of many flowers has bloomed, the beautiful Dahlia. This calls for a photoshoot.

Mid-May bought soaring temps and near-perfect days for enjoying walks through our favourite trails at Bunns Creek.

One of Odin’s favourite walking buds is Sandy. This little cutie is a nine-year-old Jack Russel terrier and one of Odin’s best friends.

This particular day was a warm one. Once we got back home Sandy immediately headed for her pool. Odin was intrigued, but cautious. Maybe next time.

The longer days and warmer temps call out for leisurely evenings to simply bask in the stillness and the light.

Two good dogs…

“The world’s favorite season is the spring. All things seem possible in May.” ~ Edwin Way Teale

This post is part of the 2021 Life With Dogs photography project.

Life With Dogs – April 2021

On the prairies, April is often a time of transition and this year was no exception. March provided lovely warm days with little in the way of snow… but April soon showed that we best not become too complacent.

Mid-April we experienced the most dramatic snowstorm of our winter season, over 25cm of snow with strong North winds.

Lacie didn’t seem to mind but Odin and I couldn’t help but feel a little disheartened. Enough already!

Cooler days had the snow linger but the new warmth of the sun eventually won out and the snow finally slipped away.

Odin and Maple were once more enjoying doggie play dates.

But things were not so rosie for Lacie.

Over the past year, she has had a few episodes where she mindlessly walks and walks and seems unable to settle. When she does lie down, she seems to startle and immediately gets up to walk again. This can go on for hours and then suddenly she will just stop and be fine.

I can count on one hand the number of times this has happened in the past year but this past little while it has been almost every day.

The Vets are unsure if it is pain that is triggering her behaviour or the onset of some sort of dementia. Back X-rays were done that show some lumbar degenerative changes but nothing overly concerning. She is now on Gabapentin twice a day as well as Trazodone (if needed).

I am very relieved that one week of being on Gabapentin has Lacie doing well and she seems comfortable. Fingers crossed that this will do the trick.

But if not, we will deal with that too. Love you Lacie, Girl.

It is hard to watch our beloved pups get old.

Two good dogs…

“Snow in April is abominable,” said Anne. “Like a slap in the face when you expected a kiss.”
― L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Ingleside

This post is part of the 2021 Life With Dogs photography project.

Life With Dogs – March 2021

March came in like a lamb and has pretty much stayed the course with unseasonably warm and inviting days. These unexpectedly pleasant days have made this time of Covid more tolerable. Being able to get out and about with dogs and friends while enjoying the new warmth of the sun brings smiles even during this challenging time.

March 6th is an especially happy milestone. Two years ago on this day Roland and I bought home a very scared 5-month-old pup. Our initial intention was to foster only, but it wasn’t long before we knew Odin was home to stay.

Roland loved this dog and he would be thrilled to see what a goofy, gentle boy he is today.

Happy Gotch Day Odin!!

The blackened prairie behind our house from the grass fire in 2010.

With the small amount of snow coverage we have had this year, the field behind our place is near dry.

The ones-in-the-know are predicting possible drought conditions, which have me remembering another very dry spring way back in 2010.

That year the early melt with very little rain led to many local grass fires. Our field became the site of one of them.

That’s our little Coco Bean walking the neighbouring field.

That day was a scary one, with firemen dragging heavy long hoses through our yard then out the back gate to reach the flames. Everything turned out ok… but it is not something I will forget anytime soon.

Here’s hoping for substantial spring rains.

In the meantime, very little snow makes for very little mud and much more field fun.

The warmer days are perfect for doggie dates with best friends.

Lots of happy yard time too…

Then the lion in March made its presence known while letting out a mighty roar.

One day we are enjoying a balmy afternoon of +18C and the next we have snow, -12C temps with wind gusts of 80Kmhr.

March on the prairies…

We are not impressed!

Happily, April will soon come a-knocking with her own promise of spring.

“It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade.” ― Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

This post is part of the 2021 Life With Dogs photography project.