Dog tales: Jesse and his bloody snout

It’s a Monday and Mondays deserve stories that will put a smile on your face. (Hopefully I will succeed) So here goes my story of Jesse and his bloody snout as told by Alex, Jesse’s dad. It happened a few months ago, I remember not exactly when.

It was a sunny day, extraordinary for the monsoon season, but then this year was a strange year with the rain strangely missing and then sometimes not. And as sunny days goes, James, Jesse, and Zoey would find themselves running around the garden, chasing birds, snapping at insects, killing lizards, jumping at toads, running through hedges and digging holes in the garden. That is the daily life of my dogs when they aren’t sleeping (which dogs do for an average of 14 hours a day), and when Alex and I aren’t home.

So each day, Alex comes homes to happy, dog wagging tails that wag so hard they look like they might just fall off. On that particular sunny day though, Alex came home to wagging dog tails but something was off. James the Labrador was running around as innocent, optimist Labradors do, but with an air of distraction and confusion. Zoey, the protector of the house, was running around back and forth from the middle of the garden to Alex while gently whimpering. Jesse was quiet, still as Siberian huskies are, dog wagging happy but with a bloody snout.

Alex thought to himself, as any concerned dog owner would, “Oh my, what happened to Jesse to have such a bloody snout and will he be okay?”

Panic sets in.   He walks over to the middle of the garden, where Zoey keeps running to, and sees a black snake almost two meters long, lying still but its head moving around.

“Oh shit, was Jesse bitten by the snake?” Dear oh dear little Jesse (who isn’t so little) this might require an emergency trip to the vet. Hope not.

Fortunately, some quick thinking sets in and Alex goes find our neighbor who has some knowledge regarding snakes. The neighbours come in, take a look at the long black snake and tells Alex it’s a rat snake and not to worry. Rat snakes are not dangerous and have no venom.

A deep sign of relief follows. Jesse was safe and Alex need not worry about the snake. The neighbours pointed out that our dogs, which we had feared for their lives, had attacked the snake and broke its back.

At that point, feelings of fear changed to sorrow.   Our dogs had broken the snake’s back when it was out searching for food. And now, the snake was to be our neighbour’s dinner.   From the northeast of Thailand, they were elated to have some delicious snake for dinner. Apparently it tastes like chicken.

That was the excitement of the day. I feel bad for the snake, but then I’m also happy my dogs are safe and that I wasn’t there to see it.

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Zoey, hunter. James, cute.

There are many stories, reviews of travels and eateries waiting to be told, yet tonight I feel like writing about dear James and Zoey, my two dogs.  It’s been roughly three months since we’ve had James and four months since we’ve had Zoey. Time flies happily when you have dogs and I have to say they really are good for the heart and soul. I smile whenever I talk about them and if you talked to me about dogs, I could spend a long while discussing them with you.  Make sure you have a chair. There’s something about dogs that is good for the soul. Its no wonder they have been man’s companions since times past.

James the labrador is a heart breaker.  He has one of the most innocent looking faces especially when he is sitting quietly looking in quiet anticipation of a treat or snack.  He doesn’t jump, nor does he offer his paw, he just sits quietly looking up (for that’s how he has been trained) at you hoping that whatever you are doing will provide him with some snack.  Labradors have a voracious appetite and James is no exception.

If you are a bit late with the food, he doesn’t complain but just quietly goes and sleep by the food box, just “in case” you forgot.  He would do anything for a snack so training him is easy. All I have to do is have a snack in my hand and go through the motions together with the words.  Apart from sitting, rollover, heel, fetch and a few other tricks,  my favourite is “Bang bang” where James temporarily acts dead.

I make my hand into a gun, point it at James, and he falls on his back with his paws up as if he were dead. After awhile his paws fall down and if you go “bang bang” they go up again.  It makes me laugh just thinking about it.  It’s incredibly cute especially with his big paws.

James’ babyish charms also get to me.  When he was a puppy, I’d let him crawl onto my lap and sit on it looking out at the garden.  Now that he weighs 18kgs he still attempts to climb onto my lap like a baby wanting to be hugged, only to be turned down because his head alone is as large as my lap.  He hasn’t realized how large he has grown.  It melts my heart.

Zoey, by contrast is a petite, light weight and delicately built Thai dog with a small little face and two black patches that give her a distinct look.  She came together with the house is what we like to say. A sort of “free gift” that popped along with the house and we didn’t have the heart to just throw her out.  She was a mere puppy with a wagging tail and two beady eyes.

Unlike James who runs through water and jumps in whenever he can, Zoey is a clean and polite lady.  She dislikes water and rain and if the grass is wet, she’d walk on the stone slabs we have laid out.  If she wants to walk around the garden, she’d jump onto the little ledge we have along the fence and tiptoe along its walls.

She is also easily distracted living in her own world like a little girl chasing butterflies.  Once let into the garden, she’d run from back to front in a speed that’ll make you wonder if she was a tiny replica of a horse or maybe some sort of greyhound.  She also jumps high.  Sometimes just for the sake of it, she’d jump over James while running as if he were some part of an obstacle course.

Oh and yes, she can also play “dead” with the “bang bang.”  Her tiny legs come up into the air. She too can be cute when she wants to.

Don’t be fooled though by looks and behaviour.  Amongst the two dogs, Zoey’s function in life is to be a guard dog.  She instinctively barks at any strangers with a bark that’d make you wonder how it could have come from such a small dog.  She doesn’t trust people easily and is a fearsome hunter.  My garden has no lizards or crawling insects.  She kills them all.  Sometimes she jumps up in the air to snatch a flying insect.   In the mornings, she looks up into the trees longing to get that squirrel by the mango tree.  Zoey is a hunter.  She lives to hunt.

James’s purpose in life?  His purpose is to just be cute.  He melts your heart into a soft gooey slush and puts a smile on our face.  He fetches balls and frisbees, acts dead and do rollovers.  Nothing useful, nothing with a purpose, but just pure FUN!

So that’s Zoey and James.  Two dogs, two characters. Two different barks. Wolf! Wolf!

 

 

 

Stressed? Run.

This morning, I went running.  It’s been awhile, actually a couple of months since I’ve been running regularly.  The past few weeks its been difficult to just squeeze in twice a week of running.  Of course the usual excuses come up, the rain, lots of things to do..etc.  The list is endless.   Really there is no excuse. , The truth of the matter is that the more stressed you are, the more tasks you have to do, the more you should actually be running.  It clears your mind in unbelievable ways.

It’s like floating on cloud 9.

This morning I realized how unfit I have become.  Just a few months off and there I am huffing and panting after just 4 sets of running at 7.5 km/hour.  My heart felt like it wasn’t getting oxygen fast enough and I felt myself hanging on the treadmill rails.  It got better after the second set, however, my average before was 9 km/hour.  I tell myself.  I have  to keep running.  I cannot let myself get out of shape.

The best thing of all though is that I was reminded of how running really clears up your mind. If you’re stressed, overwhelmed by all that you have to do, have a zillion million things to get done then the best stress reliever of all is exercise.  Your brain feels replenished and thoughts flow more clearly.   You had valuable time to be by yourself and let your brain rest.

After all, don’t you wonder why the best ideas usually appear when you’re out for a walk or taking a shower?  The “thought” had an opportunity to get through the zillion other things that circuit through our brains like flashes of electricity all day long.

So really, the best way to maintain your mental health is to just exercise.  The more stressed you are, the more one should exercise.  There’s no excuse.  Exercise and it will change your life.  Try it.  I dare you. 🙂

The Heart Melter

There’s something about coming home to dogs that are just great for the heart. No matter how tiring or crazy a day you’ve had, when the dogs run towards to you as if they hadn’t seen you in years, wagging their tails, and innocently staring up at you with the sweetest eyes;  a part of you melt.  It softens you and your heart goes all gooey.

It reminds one of nature and of life.

It reminds us to take time out from all the gadgets, TVs and technologies that surround us.   It reminds us to enjoy the nature that surrounds us, to feel the grass beneath our feet, feel the wind in our hair and hear the birds chirp.

Yes having dogs remind you of all that.  They do because you have to really stop and notice them, take care of them.  You also have to play with them so that they use up excess energy.  Excess energy they would otherwise turn into biting your trees, and digging up your flowerbeds.  So you end up on grass throwing balls and playing “Fetch.”  You end up gardening to fix those plants the dog dug up or finding ways to keep them from digging.  Then as you are doing all that, the dogs are running around playing, occasionally bumping into you as if they were six year olds.  You can’t help but smile.  They seem so happy just running around on the grass, like when once a upon a time we too used to run around.  That must have been over twenty years go.

To be happy doesn’t mean you need to have all the excesses of this world.  It’s purely a state of mind.

Dogs are happy with the simplest snack or a little scratch behind the ear.  Maybe we should train our minds to be happy just as easily.  Life would indeed be a happy one.  Yes, dogs are indeed good for the heart (even though your house and garden gets occasionally turned upside down.)  Have a good weekend!

A Sneeze and a Woof?

When I got my first dog over twenty years ago, my brother said it was “good for the heart” and I have to say I totally agree with him.  There is something about these loyal companions that just melt your heart and make you all soft inside.  It’s something about their innocent looking faces and eyes that look as if they could do no wrong.  The way they greet you with wagging tails when you come home as if they were greeting a long lost friend.  Yesterday, ill with a cold I came home to rest and have a good sleep. Here’s a funny story.

Near to me were the two dogs sleeping.  All was calm and quiet as we all dozed and relaxed.  I was on the sofa and the two dogs on the floor.

Then all of a sudden, it came.  My big sneeze.  Uncontrollable, it came out from the back of my nose as if a powerful storm had built up there.  I couldn’t resist and it came out in full storm.

“Aaa chooo!”  The upper part of my body raised up with the sneeze.

At the same time, I heard bells dingling.  Both dogs cocked up their heads from their deep sleep and looked at me bewildered.  They had heard a strange sound and looked at me with worried eyes.

Okay, they were just looking, but having a soft spot for the dogs it just made me laugh and smile.  I told them to get back to sleep and we all spent the rest of the afternoon happily dozing away.

Dogs are indeed good for the heart. 🙂

Congratulations. You did it!

A few days ago a student of mine discovered that she passed the Aeronautical Radio of Thailand written exam.  Sounds of happiness and excitement echoed in the air.  The results came unexpectedly early and that made it all that much more exciting.  At that moment, I couldn’t be any prouder.  I too, was happy and extremely proud of my student.  My heart beamed and smiled as if it were the moon were smiling down upon earth.  To see a student’s progress is indeed one of the most rewarding factors one gets from teaching.

I am proud because she had pursued her dream.

I am proud because only a few months ago, I remember talking to her about this Aeronautical Radio exam and how it was completely in English.  It sounded like a distant dream for she feared anything with English and doing an entire exam in English seemed far from reality.

Congratulations my dear student. 🙂  You can accomplish whatever you set your heart on. 🙂

Google Doctor: Guilty

It’s been too long since my last post. I missed writing. I missed my blog. I missed my readers. The voices inside me missed being punched onto the screen. With this change in weather and not having enough “me” time of late, I’ve been literally voiceless from a bad flu and I have to say it hasn’t been one of my best weeks. I never had such a good stomach workout(or pain) from a cough before. (They say laughter is good for toning your stomach muscles, but I think coughs must rank somewhere closeby.) Nevertheless, one must be be positive! I think my stomach will be fit and toned by the time the coughing has subsided. Wonderful. I’ve even lost a kg that was excess since the New Years. As having a cold seems to be “in” at the moment with a change in weather and all, I thought today I’d write about why one should NOT be a google doc.

I am guilty of being a google doc. Whenever I come down with something I like to google it up the symptoms, read about it voraciously and quench my thirst for medicinal knowledge. At first I had a cough and an itch. I googled it up and wow, I find it could be a symptom of Lymphoma. What really? Maybe those fat lumps on my bodies were symptoms? (or maybe just cellulite) Upon being hit by the head by Alex who says I think too much, (which he is correct), I realise I do indeed think too much. My itch probably comes from my crackling dry skin exposed to sun and aircondition. After a few hours, I forgot about it and the itch was gone. No Lymphoma. Thank goodness.

Then as the cough became more severe, I started wondering if it could be pneumonia. (Well, I had been coughing up non-stop and the fits were sometimes painful without my being able to stop it.) I took antibiotics but it was slowly recovering. Not fast enough for my liking. I got impatient. I have many many things I need to get done at the moment. Sleepless weekend nights due to coughing had me sitting in the dark in front of my tab googling away. I am now more knowledgeable about flu, colds and pneumonias.

It’s a waste of time really.

A waste of brain power I could have spent doing something else more effective.

Going to the doctor for the third time, he verified that my lungs indeed sounded nice and clear. I just needed to get rid of the phlegm and coughs which are usually the last symptoms to disappear. I do not have pneumonia.

I just had a bad cold. That’s it.

So all my google doc efforts were in vain. I just had a cold. The lesson learnt from this episode is really just go to the doctor if you are ill. Don’t be a google doc like me and waste time googling all sorts of things. Let’s spend the time doing something else more creative or enjoyable. Spend time reading a good book or watching a good movie. Life is short enough.

Do you google doc? What do you do?