Canine Capers and Autumn Ponderings

Bella and Tozer are a relationship of opposites. Bella is petite, mature and fluffy white Bichon Frisée huntress that rules with a Napoleonic attitude yet her body melts into whoever is loving on her. Tozer is black, curly, energetic, gangly, adolescent standard poodle while intelligent he is unaware of his body size and all of life is a game. He still believes at 60 pounds and half my weight, he is a lap dog and wants to snuggle on my lap daily. Together they are like Mutt and Jeff, best buds ready to conquer the world or at least the bunnies and chipmunks in our yard.

Today was one of those warmer yet crisp fall days and I was trying to conquer our home after a weekend of projects and remodeling. I am grateful the dynamic canine duo were content playing outside this morning as I put away delivered groceries and conquer the dishes and clutter of our weekend.

I head outside to water our raised garden beds and fruit trees followed by picking the daily harvest of my fall crop of raspberries. As I meander, with hose in hand, toward the apple trees I notice in the center of my prolific raspberry patch two happy dogs, dirt all over my lawn and a cavernous hole. Both dogs were present and both had evidence of participating. Their happy dirty faces look so shocked when they hear my loud, “No!”

I put them both inside and go to assess the damages from chipmunk hunting gone awry. Four raspberries plants are uprooted and destroyed by enthusiastic digging paws small and large while another dozen have exposed roots. While I know it is instinct for my canine companions to hunt those pesky striped tunnelers, I am frustrated both with them even having a system of tunnels along our 50 feet of raspberries and their canine instinct. After raking as much dirt as I could back into the area, it is still very shy of enough dirt so hauled four of my 2 gallon buckets of dirt from an already harvested and emptied garden bed. I pack in the rich black loam and water that area then go back to watering fruit trees and active garden beds.

After I finish the watering, I go inside to wash my muddy hands then head out to pick raspberries with a growling stomach, as my lunch has been delayed by the antics of Bella and Tozer. I pick over 3/4 of patch when step into a another recent dug hole. My Birkenstock sandals now have a 3/4 inch lift of mud across the sole. I finish picking berries and take them inside where I will later will can a few jars of raspberry syrup to use as topping for ice cream and cheesecakes. Back outside, it takes another bucket and a half of soil to take care of this hole. Then I head back in to get my very delayed lunch.

Tozer and Bella great me with enthusiasm that we humans save for finally seeing a long lost loved one. Wagging tails and jumps for joy erase any anger I had for them acting like dogs in the raspberry patch. After some pets and scritches behind their ears I finally can listen to my rumbling stomach and make lunch with my pair of mismatched dogs scurrying underfoot hopeful I will drop something.

I ponder their opposites yet closeness and think people should be better at relating to those who look or act differently than us. I should also learn lessons from them to fully enjoy life with enthusiasm and abandon.

So this fall I will with joyful abandon enjoy the azure skies and kaleidoscope of colored autumn leaves. I will bring home the prettiest ones to put between pages of a book to enjoy later. I will pause to notice the sunsets, listen for honking geese or soulful cry of the loon and watch for other wildlife including the pesky chipmunks in my yard. I will go out of my way to greet and chat with strangers unlike myself, who are also made in the multifaceted image of God. Most of all, let me love others unconditionally like my dogs do so well.

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