I can’t help it! I love my dogs. My relationship and love for them is human-like in the way they bring joy and peace to me. Except when they don’t… because sometimes they won’t… just like humans I love dearly.
So here begins my week with our 11-month-old English setter, Harrison.
Of course we call our farm an orchard… after all we grow apples. For most the word orchard invokes a vision of well-groomed trees in neat rows with short orchard grass blanketing the ground-imploring visitors to picnic and sip some cider.
But, there are THOSE areas, to remote to mow, out of sight—out of mind… just not quite “company fresh”.
For us this particular area is laden with cockle burrs. Our 4-year-old Brittany, Remi, has never come home for dinner with matted fur… infused and entwined with those nasty, prickly things. Harrison, the newest family member, on the other hand… must be some kind of burr magnet. When we were researching what kind of dog to choose for our family; I pored over beautiful pictures of English setters with long, wavy, feathery fur. Harrison is… was… no exception. He’s a beautiful stately looking little man. However, he’s a magnet for anything unsightly. If there is mud, or smell or cockle BURRS he will find it. Or rather it finds him His flowing, long feathery fur became matted this week right up to his skin. He was overspread with those nasty, prickers, and impossible to remove spheres. I didn’t have the heart to pull them out. I knew it would be painful. I can not, and won’t ever intentionally hurt him.
Long story short, his long feathery fur, is currently short and spiky after his recent hair cut to remove them. He looks a little goofy, but the burrs are gone from Harrison and also from our farm… I think.
As if this weren’t enough to complete a story, he also became the infamous star of the show during an elementary school’s fieldtrip to the orchard. Often when youngsters and their leaders visit, they bring packed lunches to enjoy in our meadow. On this particular day the bus door remained open to allow the breeze to blow and the busses; temperature to stay comfy. While the kiddos were touring around, Harrison hopped aboard their bus and helped himself to all of the teachers’ lunches. I sure hope they were satisfied with our crackers, hummus; apples and cider that we offered as nourishment until we could pay them back better.
Last, but certainly not least, my loving mom, knowing how slammed we are at the peak of harvest, gifted us with a beautiful baked ham to get us through those evenings and lunches when there just weren’t enough hours in the day to prepare a “real meal”. I wish I could say that Shannon and I always had time to eat lunch together, but we don’t. Thinking that I would follow shortly to scarf down my mid day vittles, Shannon left the ham out on the kitchen counter for me. I’m sure you can guess where this is going. Harrison, taking advantage of the doggy door that allows him free reign of our home, trotted right in, picked up the wafting smell of the ham, grabbed the whole darn thing, and ran off like a bandit.
Fortunately, the joy that his huge heart and deep green eyes bring to my soul, far, far outweigh any begrudging I might hold for his mischievousness. In our youth, just like puppies, we act on whims. These aren’t to be regretted but to be cherished. Life becomes too serious and to unforgiving far too quickly than it ought. I hope that I will always see the pleasure in and be grateful for “a free lunch.”