It is already summer in northern Florida. We are enjoying warm, dry and sunny days. I can only imagine how hot it will be in August if we are sweating in March.
Yesterday I went out to the back yard to walk with the dogs and looked at all the work to be done, mowing the lawn, raking the leaves from the oak tree, putting down more grass seed and pulling weeds. Although I can’t say these are chores I look forward to, scouring the garden centers for new perennials is a favorite spring project of mine. Last fall the birds dropped a gift of petunia seeds into a tall clay pot in the back yard. The pot is also where I throw mushrooms that I have diligently removed from the dog’s yard. Apparently the new Petunia’s love the mushroom mulch because the flowers are huge and beautiful. What other gifts from nature have landed in the yard that I haven’t noticed?
My rescued cat has finally settled down and become a fat house cat. She is very affectionate and follows me around like I’m someone important. Or at least she makes me feel like I’m important. Her daily agenda includes a quarter can of Friskies Seafood Buffet. If its not a newly opened can the food must go into the microwave for exactly eight seconds to take off the refrigerator’s chill. Then she meows piteously by the back door, hoping that today she just might get a chance to sit on the deck. Because my dogs are either in the yard or kennel and the beautiful red fox is in the woods, her dream will never come true. She has become too precious to me to risk her death. I cannot fathom my guilt if she were to earn her freedom only to be some animal’s meal. The rest of her day involves either keeping track of me or sleeping in a sunny spot. Ten month old Border Collie, Catcher, finds Essie a curious phenomenon, sometimes goosing her to get a reaction, sniffing or licking her hind end or just staring at her in fascination. I wonder if Catcher thinks Essie is a weird breed of sheep. Essie is rarely upset enough to tell the dog to back off from her, either by growling or swats on Catcher’s nose. She prefers to merely hold her ground under a chair and return Catcher’s stare. Maybe I should rename Essie, “Bravecat”.
Yesterday I went to Wal-Mart to pick up some healthy, hopefully inexpensive groceries. Once again, Wal-Mart made me mad. They gouge me with what I call their bait and switch game. Or maybe I should be an even savvier buyer. Why is it they are the only store that has hundreds of items on their shelves yet what is next to the barcode on the shelf is NOT what is on the shelf. Over the past three years they have “won” and I’ve paid more for an item that I thought was posted. Other stores in the area don’t seem to have the problem of items moving from their designated spot. The cooked chicken in Wal-Mart is a prime example. There are different kinds of cooked chicken, some for $6.99 or more and some at $4.99. A couple of times I reviewed the receipt when I got home and discovered I had purchased the higher priced chicken. I have learned to look at the bar code on the item and compare it to the bar code on the product. Is it the same? Yesterday they “caught” me again, putting a $5.00 price above a package of socks. At home the receipt showed $8.97. While most people would rush back to return the item I look at the gas prices, growl and vow to be more diligent in the future. This problem has me checking items on all my purchases no matter where I shop. Let the buyer beware. But I am a woman and will not put up with this silently. Haven’t the male bigwigs in Wal-Mart heard our phrase, “Hell has no fury like a woman scorned?”
Levi and Catcher’s obedience training is progressing. Levi continues to keep me busy, always trying to outguess my every command. Is he really a dog I want to train another three or four years to a UDX? More and more the answer comes to me as negative. Catcher learns quickly, with occasional moments of pouting when something doesn’t go his way but then he recovers and tries harder to please me. In other words, do I want to spend hours beating my head against the wall with Levi or have fun working Catcher? The answer comes quickly. Levi will have earned his retirement with a UD, assuming he can get that title. Maybe even that accomplishment will take three to four more years, since he seems to put a twist on every exercise in Utility. Catcher’s training takes twenty minutes. Levi’s training starts out as a twenty minute session but then the anticipation, forging, and problem solving extends the session into forty minutes. The other day in class he did get a bit tired, which made me sad. Perhaps he really is slowing down now that he is nearing eight years of age. Could it be that some day this hard charging dog won’t be in my life? For all the work it takes to keep him “together” the thought of his positive energy not being on this earth is too sad to contemplate. It would make Catcher seem too blasé, too sedate and that is not fair to categorize him that way. He has a happy, upbeat style. But it is controlled, although he can have moments where he is a mischievous puppy. It will be a hard adjustment to make the transition from training and living with Levi to a life with Catcher.