Saturday, January 12, 2013

The transformative nature of snow, or, bossy dog

The winter's been tolerable up to this point. Operative words: Up to this point.

An inch of snow here, an inch there. Enough to flock the trees and make them look pretty while filling in the ruts and pock marks left by cross country skiers and dog walkers after our circuits around Comstock Park.

But Monday took care of that. A seven-inch dump. So much for the 2 to 4 inches, Mr. Weatherman.

And there was the small matter of another three inches Thursday night.

You didn't hear it here, but it IS kind of pretty. . . . for about 45 seconds.

One of Miz Cricket's more reasonable sticks.
The arrival of serious snow electrifies the dogs at Comstock. They slip the mantle of puppy school good manners and run, crazy happy, scooping up bites of snow and playing tug-of-war with the branches of trees -- often two and three times their size -- broken off in earlier winter storms. They roll and tumble, wrestle and root, chasing sticks and snow balls through a blanket of white 6 and 7 inches deep in places.

Even Ben. The King of Comstock Gravitas who turns 12 next month.

The snow makes him wild and bossy.

Tuesday, he tore up the park with Miz Cricket. Wednesday, he gamely tried to keep up with a canine crew 10+ years his junior as they churned around the trees down by the tennis court like a troupe of furry Maytag washers. He glares and "Hfffs" and shakes his head if someone come too close to the treasured pine cone or stick he's gnawing on.

Of course, these frenzied hijinks usually last for about 3 or 4 minutes before Ben stops, snorts a couple times and trots back over to me with a "See-I've-still-got-it" look on his face. He is almost 12 after all.

But the most fascinating transformation -- Ben has become highly vocal and opinionated around the matter of throwing sticks. Yes, I am now the one followed by a gray dog issuing short, spoiled, peremptory barks every 60 seconds or so until a stick is found and thrown. You can't miss us.

And if said stick can't be found in a timely manner, ie, Pacific Ben Time, I also get goosed.

Not there.

I'm talking a cold, hard dog snout persistently banging against my hand and wrist. That's hard to do AND bark every 60 seconds, but Ben, with his usual elan, manages it with embarrassing ease.

Ben and I are quite the pair these days -- bark! bang bang! find stick! throw stick! chase stick!

Return and repeat again.

So, next time you're up at Comstock, stop by and say "Hi." I'm the one with Sparky, the mechanical barking dog. Comes with a goosing option.

And, by the way, Snow? Next time, maybe a little less transformative?


  1. Mr Ben, you show her! It's obvious you and the other dogs love snow. It seems I've been misinformed all this time about The Dangers And Horror Of Snow And Berms. I'm glad you and the other dogs set it right. Maybe you'll get lucky and get another dump. It really is pretty.

  2. Oh dear, Ben, how Doc wishes he could join you! Unfortunately his snow play caused him a torn ACL and surgery is this week. So, for now he will only be able to watch you out the front window and dream of snow play. We will leave a few sticks in our front yard for Ben!

    1. Oh dear, we didn't know that. We'll stop by with flowers and chocolate -- well, okay, Milk Bones -- later this week. Get feeling better, Doc! And make Abby wait on you paw and paw.

  3. Ben, Dude, good work!
    Your Phurry Philly Phriend ,
    P.S. Here in Center City Philly we have had NO accumulating snow this winter. Freaky.