Lots of rain last night, which triggered a process that was clearly waiting - suddenly, the trees have filled in much more densely. There’s a green tinge to the light coming in through my windows, as it’s filtered through the canopy. The ridge and valley are barely visible; somebody seeing this scene for the first time would never discern the hiking trail at the bottom of the valley, a couple hundred yards from the house - and nobody on the trail can see the house.
Which brings to mind a fun action play.
Imagine hiking through a peaceful wooded setting, with a small stream & waterfall, and suddenly hearing screams echo through the valley. Gunshots follow. A voice pleads for mercy, and there’s silence.
Suddenly, a chainsaw shatters the silence.
Would you investigate? Would you panic, and run back to your car at the trailhead, and tell strangers at the bar what you heard, embellishing the details? Would you dial 911?
We took the pack to the vet for the annual poke-n-prod on Friday. I think that the littermates have figured out where we’re going; the sibe certainly knows. Mishka still hasn’t figured it out; I suspect next year will cement it in his brain.
We get some looks on the way; I have a harness system in place in the bed of the trucks for the two littermates, one on each side. They enjoy their truck; I see people in other cars pointing, and everybody maintains a nice, respectful distance. This amounts to all of maybe 10 cars we encounter, as I take back roads - we’re woods people, after all, and back roads are preferable. Mishka and Nasha ride in the back seat of the pickup.
Thankfully, nobody has a vet aversion - they love seeing everybody at the office. We get around the issue of dog aggression by having the tech schedule us into the last exam room, located by the employee entrance, and I sneak all 4 in the back door. The only hitch is that the resident stray cat lives on the back porch, which we walk across. Suicidal kitty darts out and runs for his life; thankfully, all the collars hold, leads don’t break, and neither do I.
Various techs stop by to say “hi” to the pack. The grrlz love this attention.
Nothing but good news. We’ve taken 50lbs off the pack since last year; Shina is down 20 pounds to a health 81, Kira is down 18 to a healthy 80, and Nasha is down 7 to a healthy 50lbs. Mishka weighs around 61lbs - he’s due for a growth spurt pretty soon.
The tech and the vet are rather stunned by this. We talk about what we’ve done, how we did it, and why.
Part of this was diet - switched to Wellness Core and really cut back on treats. I’ve also been able to hike more, compared to 2010. Toss in Mishka, who as the sole male and a puppy is the object of perpetual interest and play, and the pack has been pretty darned active.
It’s been good having a puppy in the pack again.
The vet tells me how it’s always a battle to get patients to lose weight. I don’t quite get it; I know we were lax in 2010 and Q1 2011, and they gained too much weight, but we got things reigned in fairly quickly. I don’t understand how pet owners can ignore, for years and years, obesity in their animals, and in fact, pay for orthopedic surgeries to correct joint issues caused by this obesity. Sharon suspects that there’s a whole emotional component involved. Maybe that’s something that’s changed over the years for us: while we love the animals, we don’t identify with them emotionally - it’s our job to lead them through this world, and protect them.
I assist in holding Manasha; given her abused background, she’s pretty quick on the defensive, so the tech holds her body firmly, and I rest my face on top of and against her muzzle, not restraining her, but letting her know that I’m there, and in control. She has been to Sharon’s hospital for minor things, and she has been muzzled and flagged with big caution signs - if I’m not there, she loses it very quickly.
Decided to worm everybody; we’ve had some soft stool making the rounds, and it’s just easier to hit everybody with Panacure than do anything else.