Monday, February 18, 2013

Stick it!

It is the Season of the Stick to all dogs at Comstock Park.

The snow is slowly, but mercifully, receding and reveals any variety of sticks felled by our winter weather. Some are literally tree branches, others sturdy logs, but most are the perfect type for throwing to dogs.

The dogs of Comstock are acutely aware of this and make their needs known, growling and grumbling, nudging and gnawing, until we dog walkers find sticks. And throw them.

It is organized chaos.

Unless you are Ben, who is v.e.r.y. o.r.g.a.n.i.z.e.d in his outlook on life (including fetching chasing sticks), most of the pups at Comstock don't care whose stick it is -- or whose two-legged person is throwing it. They just want to run, now unencumbered by five inches of white stuff, and chase down whatever we chuck at them.

Except Ben. It matters to him whose stick it is. Particularly when, according to his universe, it's his.

He'll worry his stick and plant a paw on it if one of his four-legged pals passes too close for comfort. He glares with the whites of his eyes showing, shaking his head and softly rumbling "Errrrrrrrrr" -- a most impressive territorial "Errrrrrrrrr" . . . if you didn't know this dog tries to avoid confrontation like a trip to the groomer. But with sticks on the line, Ben even got into a barking match with Fuji, an irrepressible shiba inu who hasn't quite gotten the hang of boundaries.

At least in the way Ben defines them.

But when all this canine sword-rattling is done, my 12-year-old Ben, now one of two elder statesmen at Comstock, inevitably hangs back. .  happy to let the younger crowd have their way, wheeling and rending around the park in pursuit of wood. . . while methodically stripping the bark off the stick defended so vigorously.
Note the paw firmly planted on stick in defense
of any and all stick interlopers.
Curse you, stick interlopers, curse you!
Ann-nnddd. . .  hocking up its remnants in the garage an hour later.

1 comment:

  1. A local dog swallowed a stick and had to be operated on to get it removed. The vet said something like...throw a ball instead. Which I thought was insanely stupid considering how many dogs swallow balls. I think I read this in a local paper, don't know the dog. Weird eh.