Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Pumpkin eater

Artist Roberta (Bobbi) Sparr--that's her signature on the left side of the pumpkin-- gave permission for me to post her rendition of an Airedale getting ready for Halloween. You'll find more of her Airedale paintings and other artwork at her website.

I particularly liked the expression of this dog and his glowing eyes.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

No more puppy look

At 20 months old, Miro has lost that indefinable puppy look. Or maybe it's the grooming job.

Serious fence patrol.
Puppy look two months ago. Could be the feet.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

A very small life

If you have picture windows in your house, you may have heard the particular thud of a bird hitting the window. The sound is so sharp and quick that it can leave you wondering if you heard anything at all. To ward off reckless fliers, people sometimes put decals of crows or other shapes on large windows or sliding glass doors. My house has white, horizontal blinds on the windows. I keep them open to let in the light but lowered so that the windows don’t look like an empty expanse to birds.

At least I thought the blinds looked like a barrier until today when I heard the ominous thunk followed by the barking of two Airedales. Sometimes a bird is stunned and best left alone to recover. Today’s bird, a juvenile goldfinch, was not so lucky.
Juveniles have duller coloring than adults as well as a dark upper beak.

Although the goldfinch is the Washington state bird, we don’t often see them anymore. The population of songbirds has declined drastically everywhere. Reasons normally include habitat loss, acid rain, climate change, even predation by household cats, though a recent study in the UK supports habitat loss as the main reason.

I went outside to the front porch to find the bird dead of a broken neck below the window-box nasturtiums, one eye closed and the other beginning to dull. Most birds around here sport variations in shades of brown; to find some golden coloring is like finding real gold. I took photos to remember the colors and when examining the markings on the bird’s wing, discovered the flight feathers are so delicate as to be translucent.

This is the time of year when birds, opossums, spiders and other wildlife leave their families to search for their own territory. That’s why we find more of them on our front porches and in the roads.

Early in the summer I mentioned the low odds of any bird surviving to reproduce. How important is one tiny goldfinch?

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Talk Like a Pirate Day

Peaches the Greencheek Amazon talks about TLP Day with the help of  Pita (inside the cage).

It's also a good day to click a "Like" at the Pedigree site on Facebook.* The notice says: January 1, 2010 through December 31, 2010, for every Fan or Like of The PEDIGREE® Adoption Drive at, PEDIGREE® Brand will donate 8 oz. of PEDIGREE® Brand Dry Food for Dogs to animal shelters selected by PEDIGREE® Brand, up to a total of 2 million lbs. of food, the equivalent of one bowl of food for each of the estimated four million dogs that wind up in shelters and breed rescue organizations each year. Facebook is a registered trademark of Facebook, Inc.

*The one thing I didn't do was click the "Get Started" bar which would allow Pedigree to access all my Facebook information and contacts.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Remembering better weather

We've had days of glum wet dark humid rainy weather, a promise of much more of the same to come. Miro and I are doing lots of "fetch" indoors while Alanis, not understanding the concept of running after a toy, much less bringing it back, stands in front of me wagging her tail. Miro gets praised for bringing the toy back--sometimes I don't even have to pry it out of his mouth!--and Alanis gets praised for standing there.

Here's the real reason for this post. I was recalling sunshine by looking at photos from a couple of weeks ago in Victoria's Butchart Gardens.
This is part of the sunken garden, a former quarry.

And Krispy Creme, the honorary Indus Airedale, in her "rub my belly" pose.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

A gift from Sunshade and Jaffa

Miss Sunshade and Jaffa (a.k.a. Stinky) from Vancouver, BC were in town last week with their humans. We tried to get the dogs together for an Airedale playdate but the timing didn't work out, not to mention the dreary weather all Labor Day weekend. Sunshade, however, was kind enough to send this:
I've seen "Baby on board" signs like this in cars but not an Airedale one. I have it on a house window. If I put the sign in the car, somebody (and we won't name names) might chew it up. You know how those things happen--the dog's sitting around, waiting for you, and something just happens to be near the teeth, which do some idle nibbling and, whoops, where'd that thing go?

Many thanks to Sunshade and her crew! We're thrilled and honored to receive a gift from a blog-buddy.

Friday, September 3, 2010

A puddle of puppies

I spent a few days on Vancouver Island, BC visiting Joanne Helm and her beautiful Indus Kennels Airedales. Mary Quite Contrary had puppies the week before and here they are all piled up. Like Alanis, Mary is a Terrydale girl from North Carolina. Mary arrived when Alanis was still living at Indus and Joanne says the two girls went off together in a corner to touch noses just like a couple of people exchanging gossip from home. Like Alanis, Mary is a beautiful, elegant bitch. She wasn't super happy about this stranger coming in to look at her puppies, so she woofed at me every time she saw me, not the Airedale BigBadBark but a little warning to behave myself.
Joanne is very happy about this litter and told me about quality necks, heads and shoulders but I can barely discern one from another in that pile. When their eyes open and they start playing on baby agility slides and climbers, then they'll really be fun. Go to the Indus website for photos of Mary and gorgeous Gabriel, the sire.