Friday, November 11, 2011

Pajamas' Special Gift

I have fond memories of my childhood dogs comforting me when I cried.  My first dog Christie would stand close and let me bury my face in her back with my little arms wrapped around her neck. My second dog, Bailey would come to my side at the first sign of tears and let me stroke her ears, listening patiently to my woes.

But Pajamas has them all beat. Pj will be fast asleep on her side of the couch, as the movie I am watching comes to a dramatic end.  I sniff as the first tears form in my eyes and Pj's head snaps up, ears lifted  "Mom? What's wrong?"  She quickly runs along the back of the couch and perches herself above my face. She licks my cheeks, my nose, my eye lids.  Slowly at first, but as the tears continue to flow her licking becomes more determined.  She is relentless.  She licks each tear before it has a chance to roll down my cheek and she doesn't stop until my sniffs turn to laughter and my eyes no longer tear.

I giggle and Pj's tail starts to wag, but she doesn't stop licking.  My giggles turn to all out laughter and I stroke either side of her face "Ok, ok I'm good Peej!"  She pulls back and inspects my face.  No more tears.  Her work is done.  She gives me one final lick and then makes her way back to her own side of the couch and drifts back off to sleep.

The bond between a girl and her dog is certainly something to behold!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Drenched in Dew

Woodbine Park - Toronto
As Pajamas and I started out on our early Saturday walk on this foggy August morning I felt serenity take a hold.  It is so calming to take in the neighborhood on these quiet weekend mornings when the sun has yet to burn away the cool misty nighttime air.  The streets are practically deserted, sidewalks owned by joggers and dog owners.  We stop at a favorite coffee shop where Pj waits patiently at the window, while I go in to get my morning fix.

Coffee happily in hand, we wander through the rows of houses and along the lakeshore watching the shoreline appear as the fog begins to lift.  This is what life is all about.  Quiet mornings that awaken my creativity and energize me for the day.  I think about how lucky I am to have this loving, furry companion at my side as we walk along in peace…
My guard is down as we reach the large park near my house.  I see Pj’s step quicken as we enter.  There’s no one else around and I know she wants to be free.  I reach down and unclasp her leash, watching as she runs ahead.  She finds a fresh patch of grass and flips over, rolling on her back, covering herself in dew.  She’s soaked and looking oh so pleased.  She bursts on ahead.  I’m still smiling to myself, enjoying this time and watching my dog as she flips and rolls and runs through the dew when she sees it.  A ball.  A ball just sitting in the grass unclaimed!  This is too good to be true.  Pajamas races to the ball proceeded by a very loud victory lap around the park.  “Bowowowow!” she proclaims flipping the ball in the air.  My moment of serenity is gone.

Fine we have a ball, I thought to myself.  I can throw it a couple of time for her; maybe let her carry it home.  But Pajamas has another plan.  This isn’t just any ball.  It’s a disowned ball.  It’s blue and yellow and still firm and fuzzy.  Hardly used.  She won’t give it up; won’t even let me get close.  She creates more and more distance between us.  The more I try and grab the ball the further and louder she gets!  “Bowowowow!” she says lying with the ball between her front paws.  My feet are soaked from traipsing through the wet grass. 
It’s time for another approach, reverse psychology.  I stand, arms crossed, back to my dog.  Pj lays facing me, ball under nose and she barks and barks and barks. I am determined to wait her out. At this moment, a man walks by with a Weimaraner .  “Looks like a stand off” he says.  “Oh it sure is” I reply as Pj continues to bark. 
Plan B.  I give up and turn around conceding to walk the path around the park waiting for the opportunity to seize the ball.  It comes faster than expected, not minutes after turning to walk back down the path, Pj drops the ball at the edge of the path to examine a smell in the grass.  I seize the opportunity stomping on the ball as Pj turns to grab it.  Gotcha! I leash my dog, ball victoriously in hand and we leave the park drenched in dew, that foggy peaceful morning feeling like a distant memory.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

It's Just a Little Dirt

Last Saturday was one of those first warm days of spring where I just can't wait to get outside and soak up some sun.  It's also a great opportunity for some quality time with the Pajamas.  I couldn't very well enjoy this wonderful day without her!
We took her to the off leash area in High Park to give her the freedom and give my arm a break.  Her leash comes off and she lets a few celebratory barks.  Freedom!  We walk along at our own speed, while Pj blasts along ahead.  She slows when something extra intriguing catches her nose and she falls behind as we move along the path.  I call her name, and hear her the tags on her collar jingle.  A sure sign that she's abandoned that yummy scent to catch up with mom.  Just as soon as she catches up she's off again in front sniffing out the trail ahead.
It was all very calm and relaxing as we wind down the hill and on to the paved path.  I recalled a previous trip down this path that left my dog a muddy mess and prepared myself for the worst.  Sure enough, along the paved path runs a muddy area that leads to the river.  Pajamas, along with most of the other dogs were venturing in the mud as they moved along ahead of their owners.  Sure Pj was getting muddy but it was just her legs and belly.  Easy enough to clean off with a quick dip in the river before heading to the car.  And she needed a bath anyway.
Jenna casually mentions how impressed she is that I am calmly accepting my muddy dog. "It's just mud," I say feeling quite proud.  As if on cue, Pj stops.  She flips over on her back and begins rubbing her back in the mud.  She tosses.  She turns.  She flips over and lets both sides of her face slide through the mud one side at a time.  Now she really is dirty.  Dirty doesn't even begin to describe it.  I am shocked!  I am slightly embarrassed and it is too late to do anything about it.  I hear a guy say, "Woh, the dog used to be white!"as he walks by my dog and she playfully slaps her paws through the mud.  It's true.  There isn't an inch of white on her.
Since it's already a lost cause we continue on our walk with Pj running and rolling her way through the mud.  When it's time to go, we find a stick and play a little bit of fetch in the river to help wipe off the mud.  It works like a charm on her lower half, but since she doesn't dunk her face or back in when she swims she's now white on the bottom and black on top.  Better than nothing I think to myself.
We put Pj in the backseat and take her home where the two of us head straight to the bathtub.  It's takes three sets of lather, rinse, repeat to get the majority of the mud out before I finally let her free and give her a good rub down in the towel.
And then it's time for the best part!  I wrap her in the big towel cover her in a blanket and cuddle up for a nice long nap together with the afternoon sun coming in through the window.  It truly was a wonderful day, muddy dog and all!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

The Polar Bear Dip

From November to March the entire shoreline down at the beach is a designated off leash area.  After months of watching the water, longingly, while walking along the confinement of the boardwalk, Pajamas is finally able to freely explore. She can hardly contain herself as we make our way down past the winter fencing and on to the beach.  I let her off leash and she tears away from me at full speed.  She barks into the wind, letting her voice carry out onto the lake.  For once she's not barking at me or the ball, but for the sheer enjoyment of freedom.

On New Year's Eve, the weather was unusually warm and the snow had completely melted.  Pajamas had the rare opportunity to enjoy the beach as it was meant to be enjoyed.  She ran along the shore, her paws splashing through the icy cold water, as if it was the middle of July.  Every once and a while she takes a quick dip into the shallow water, escaping a playmate who isn't quite as brave.  The cold doesn't seem to touch as she moves along the beach following her nose from one wonderful scent to another, icicles forming on her wet belly.

As wonderful as it is to enjoy a summer day at the beach, there is nothing quite like those wintery months when my dog can romp freely along the shoreline, barking until her heart's content.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

An Evening with the Peej

Pajamas was antsy all evening.  Pacing around, resting her head on my knee or the cushion on the couch and letting out a long sigh.  Those big eyes look up at me and I know there is no way I am getting through the evening without another trip to the park or at the very least a walk around the neighborhood.  I bundle up, preparing for the dark cold evening and Pj’s ears perk up as I grab my coat and head for the door.  She stands a few paces away still unsure if she’s invited.  “Come on then,” I say and she takes a few steps until she’s standing in the doorway.  I put on her leash and she is happy as can be. But, as we head out the door I realize it’s raining.  So much for the walk, I think and head to the front yard so Pj can have a pee at least.  I wait outside a couple of minutes as she take a survey of the yard and then gather her back up to head inside.  After the evening we’d had so far, all the crying and they whining I was sure the rest of the night would be more of the same.  However, the minute I came in and settled back on the couch Pj was right at my side, wet fur and all.  It seems that even for Pj the prospect of walking in the rain rather dampened her mood.  Maybe this warm spot on the couch next to mom isn’t such a bad place to be after all.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

A Day in the Woods

Today Pajamas and I packed the bike into my little red sports car and made the drive up to New Market for some biking.  Pj relaxed in the seat beside me, in and out of sleep.  Every once and a while though she gets up, stands her front paws on the centre console and gives me a couple short warm licks on the cheek.  She is so affectionate.  At first I wasn't in a very good mood, but with the sunroof open and the sun warming my face I slowly felt my mood change.  The trees look so beautiful and with each gust of wind leaves would swirl around the cars as we moved north on the 404.

When we arrive at the trails Pajamas cannot wait to get going.  She wanders around the parking lot smelling all the smells of the forest while I unpack the bike.  The minute I get on the bike she looses her mind.  She jumps around in front of the bike, her barks traveling well into the forest.

We weave through the trails Pajamas a couple steps ahead.  She looks back often to make sure I'm keeping up.  The trails were covered in bright yellow leaves, as the sun shone through the bare trees.  I love biking in the fall, with the cool breeze on my fast as we wind through the woods.

We biked for just over an hour and then made our way back to the car.  Everything feels better after an hour on the bike.  Pj takes one last drink out of my water bottle and then we pile back into the car.  She sleeps the whole way back to the city while I enjoy one last view of the fall forest before we hit the city again.

And the best part?  I have a pooped puppy for the rest of the day!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Thank Goodness for Pajamas

It's Thanksgiving weekend and I've just arrived home from my weekend morning walk.  Beside me on the couch is my puppy fast asleep, head resting on a pillow, tail tucked in close to her body. I look over at her and smile. She has given me so much to be thankful for.

Thank you for teaching me to love again.  To open my heart and love with all my might, even though I know someday we will have to part.
Thank you for showing me the beauty of the morning.  For sharing a morning sunrise and the crisp autumn air.
Thank you for being the last thing I see before I go to bed and the first thing I see when I wake.  For sensing that moment when I first open eyes and snuggling up close, slowly easing me into another day.
Thank you for helping me to be more active.  For pushing me to walk further, bike faster and get off the couch more often!
Thank you for your slobbery kisses.  Especially when you are licking away my tears, never stopping until my cries turn to giggles.
Thank you for your friendship.  I never feel lonely as long as you are near.

I love you Peej!