Tag Archives: Hazel

A Day in the Life

Several weeks ago our dog Hazel turned one. The end of this month will officially mark the first full year since I lifted her out from the pile of her sisters, tucked her into my shirt, and brought her home from the shelter, snuggled up against my chest.

I’m not one for dog birthday parties, and I don’t want to get over-sentimental here, but I really cannot imagine living in this little house without her. Because I currently work from home, and we are rarely apart, I get to observe all of her best, worst, cutest, most annoying and pathetic and joyful and goofy behavior.

Some of those moments are presented here. Happy birthday, Boober.

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We’ve had our puppy Hazel for about eight months now, which is long enough to distinguish her preferences. I’m a big fan of list-making, and I bet if she had opposable thumbs she’d have a diary full of lists and longings and tiny hearts… But let us start with her anti-preferences.

Hazel, Dislikes:
1. Power Outages
Add to that smoke alarms and things that beep in general. We’ve been having a lot of power outages lately, and she’s been a little strung out.

2. The Sound of Snow Sliding off the Roof
The long scrape and slide punctuated by a heavy thwamp gets Baby Girl all nervous and ears-back. The other day she insisted on trying to sit on my lap while I worked. She weighs 65 pounds.

3. Being Left Behind
Disbelief! Outrage! Despair!

4. Salt Water
Ocean water was initially placed on Hazel’s list of likes, for about an hour, until we all learned a messy but valuable lesson on the meaning of salt flushes.

Hazel, Likes:
1. Lotion
Although she doesn’t worry about her own moisturizing regime, she does have an intense and kind of gross obsession with licking belotioned body parts. Sometimes she waits outside the bathroom while I shower, then pounces on my feet when I come out. The scent of lavender or sound of hands rubbing together can literally make her run across the room, licking her chops.

2. Antlers
Yeah, she has her bones and sticks and dog toys, but her favorite, the one she keeps returning to week after week, is a special moose antler. I am not exaggerating when I say she has now consumed about a foot of it through pure perseverance, saliva, and tooth-gnawing.

3-6. Crotches, wrasslin’, sneaking onto the bed, eggs, thievery, a good sniff
Pretty standard, self-explanatory dog stuff.

7. Fire
Oh, she loves sitting in front of the wood stove and watching the flames lick the glass. Although yesterday she did singe her tail, so I guess it swings both ways.

8. Popcorn
She must get this from me. I can shake the jar of kernels and she comes running, then sits expectantly in front of the popper, waiting for the inevitable errant corn to hit the ground.

9. Jeans/Shoes
As in, mine. Kind of embarrassing that the mere act of me putting on real pants and durable footwear solicits such a happy dance. That’s my bad.

10. Friends, Lovers
Hazel loves all of her human and dog friends. . . but her main boo is resident Lothario, Woody. If sirens were furry males, Woody would be one. He’s huge and gorgeous, and basically a wolf. With balls. Even I have a crush on him. Naturally Hazel is madly in love with him, and while they are adorable together, Woody is a capable wanderer, and Hazel would happily follow him into a pit of rabid kittens, and so every now and again, he comes knocking, and they play, and then he lures my baby away.

This has happened on more than one occasion, resulting in a wild-haired me shouting repeatedly, then jumping in the car to head them off at the far side of the woods. I hate these situations for lots of reasons, chiefly because 1) I don’t want anyone getting hit by car, train, wolf-pack, curmudgeonly neighbor, etc., and 2) I despise having to break up a clandestine rendezvous. I hate feeling like the joy kill, especially when Woody is so cool. It feels like I am embarrassing Hazel. Like I just busted her in the neighbor boy’s basement, drunk on Fuzzy Navel wine coolers. Except unlike a teen, she didn’t froth I hate you! and slam a door, but rather just fell into herself, looking pathetic as I lectured her on making better choices. 

Sometimes it’s hard being the bad cop.

Dead Things, Mikey

You know, I fully understand and appreciate how fortunate I am to live in an exceptionally beautiful place. I really, do. I love the fact that you can walk from our house into Glacier National Park, and into the remote high backcountry, and that we have deer and elk and bears and coyotes and wolves and cougars trotting through our neighborhood, flush with summer huckleberries.

But every living environment has its challenges, right? My friends in Chicago occasionally find syringes at the playground. My friends in Manhattan hear honking and car alarms as if they were the murmurations of steady bird migrations. Italians must dodge dog shit landmines down every cobbled street they strut. And us?

We get dead things.

Most recently, specifically, an elk calf carcass about 75 meters from the back door. A couple of days ago we were mentally preparing to remove said carrion while eating dinner on the back deck. (Having chosen to eat first, lest our appetites be spoiled by the impending funk.) But lo, before we could snap on the rubber gloves a robust black bear trundled in through the lodgepole, sniffing his way to dinner. Given there was plenty of elk left to eat, and knowing that bears sometimes like to physically sleep on top of their dinner to protect it, we knew there would be no relocating that night.

Unfortunately, while said bear managed to gobble up all the good bits, he left enough behind to ripen in yesterday’s hot sun, and with it an odious calling card to all neighborhood dogs. Including our five-month-old puppy. Who came running up to me covered in reeking, blackened flesh crumb goo, and who has subsequently been on post-bath lock-down. At least I don’t think she actually consumed much, unlike our neighbor’s dogs, who have been plagued by “uber disgusto carcass farts” the last few days…

Oi! Just as I was writing this a new bear shuffled in looking for leftovers. That makes three different bears in three days. Which, alright, yeah, is pretty cool, minus the puppy-putrefaction  combination… I guess it’s called “local color.”

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I Don’t Know Karate, But I know…

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Yeah, I know Ca-Razy (or Ka-razor, as the case may be, given there is some debate on the lyric, and Mr. James Brown was sometimes a complicated man to understand when in the throes of sweaty funk-making…) but yes, crazy … Continue reading