Fun morning, fun day

31 July, 2011                           Fun morning, fun day

Our lovely friend and neighbor Lucy is spending a little time hiking with us; she adds a new dimension to our jaunts. I might describe her appearance as “fetching” but she’s a Lab and maybe that’s a little too cutesy. She’s enthusiastic and energetic and in addition to being lovely she is quite lively. On Thursday we got home from the river and all the dogs hopped out of the car. Without an instant’s hesitation Lucy did an about-face and hopped back in:

Lucy is not ready to go home!

She learned immediately that cars, or at least that one, lead to rivers and fun. That’s my “dog car.” If you’ve ever been in it, you will be aware even without a Lab’s keen sense of smell that lots of “river dogs” spend lots of time there. I’m fortunate to be able to devote one car to just hauling dogs back and forth from the river.

It was pretty down there on Thursday and there are a surprising amount (to me) of flowers remaining in mid summer. I’m relatively certain this is a Morning Glory:

Beautiful Morning Glory

Read that wikipedia link about them if you have interest and a moment. I learned a couple of things that surprised me. They’re an interesting plant.

Speaking of interesting, my friend and I (and the dogs) encountered this amiable toad on a rock at Pony Pasture this morning:

Possibly the most amiable toad I've encountered

I am relatively certain at least half a dozen people read these blog entries. Possibly as many as a dozen. I am certain a number of those readers are more knowledgeable than the writer. Especially in matters botanical and zoological. I encourage each of you to correct the errors you encounter. Write a response on the blog, send me an email, anything you want. I want to keep the facts straight.

I asked my friend to take a picture of me with the dogs this morning. I always do that at the beginning of the walk, when the dogs are at their wildest. They’re getting their first whiff of the river and all they want to do is go berserk. And I make them pose for a picture. Can you imagine if you were a little kid and someone asked you to do that? Wouldn’t that be awful? Anyway, that’s my excuse for the dog posing being so haphazard. It’s almost impossible to get four dogs to sit still. Mackey’s not very easy to see here, just his rear end poking out to the left.

Remarkably patient dogs

An aside about “dog whisperers.” This might get boring. I apologize. A person we met at the river this morning saw I had another dog along and said you’re a “dog whisperer.” An expression we’re all aware came along with the book/movie The Horse Whisperer. There’s another much less well-known book called The Man Who Listens to Horses by an animal training genius named Monty Roberts. This is a very important subject for me, so I apologize again if it’s boring. But think about “Horse Whisperer.” Even though it’s a soft, gentle voice, a “whisper,” think about the direction information is going. No matter how soft your voice is, whether it’s to a horse or a dog or a person, you don’t learn when you talk. You learn when you listen. We were just popping along being social when that person said that to me (about being a “dog whisperer”) so I didn’t say anything. But normally if someone tells me I’m a “dog whisperer” (I hear that from time to time) I correct them and say I’m a dog listener. That’s where the learning is. See the difference in the titles of those two books? The direction the information is going? It’s the same way with people with autism. You don’t learn a lot by talking to them. You can help them a little. But to learn, you have to listen to them. And “listening,” especially in the case of dogs or horses or the river or what have you, doesn’t mean listening to words. It means paying attention. It means being in the moment. Not letting what just happened get away. It means not ignoring things, even when they’re difficult.

Max is doing well. His surgery is Wednesday morning. Between Alex’s expert bandaging and the antibiotics his wound is healing well. One of the other dogs (“Nurse” Mackey, I suspect) was “helping” Max by pulling off his bandage (when no one was looking) and cleaning his wound for him. Mackey’s good intentions notwithstanding, it wasn’t helping. Alex suggested putting Vicks VapoRub on the bandage and now the dogs leave it alone.

The mega-dose of Benadryl Max takes each morning and each evening takes a little bit of the wind out of his sails. He relaxes and watches the river and his pals when he has a moment:

Max takes it all in

Thus ends July! I hope you’re all enjoying your summer. Have a great day,

Jay, Max, Lucy, etc., etc.

Marsh Mallow

About Jay McLaughlin

I am a rehabilitation counselor. I have many friends with autism and traumatic brain injuries. They help me learn new things constantly. I hike with dogs at the James River in Richmond - a lot. I've completed an Iron distance triathlon a year for 11 years. My most recent was in Wilmington, NC in November, 2013. I currently compete in mid-distance triathlons. And work and hike and take pictures and write and eat.
This entry was posted in Dogs, Flowers, Fun, People, Rivers, Smiles (including "dog smiles"!). Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Fun morning, fun day

  1. Anne Adams says:

    Love it.

  2. Evelyn says:

    No doubt everyone had a lovely time – On whispering and listening – not boring at all – if given the choice, I think all dogs would choose latter. Thanks for including a shot of the amiable and memorable little toad. Lucy does look fetching!

  3. Hi Evelyn,
    Sometimes I feel preachy when I write like that. But I know I learn more when I listen than when I talk. And the dogs seem to appreciate it. The toad was certainly placid! And yes, Lucy is a very fetching little girl. It’s fun to experience the river through her eyes. Have a great day,


  4. Clare M says:

    Wow! Lucy looks like Tara. Same looks, same personality, eh? The flowers are gorgeous.

    Max looks relaxed. Hope he gets up on his feet soon! And the toad is very cute. As cute as toads can go.

    Yes, July passed by fast, huh? Can’t say I’m going to miss the hot days, but I’m sure there are more to come in August. It was actually pretty nice today, not to humid, and not super hot. Still hot, however. Hope you all are doing well!

    • Hi Clare,
      Yes, Lucy does look a lot like Tara. They’re both sweet and energetic little girls! It’s fun to have her at the river.

      Max seems to feel pretty good. He’s happy and alert and has a great appetite. He’s never been a complainer. None of my dogs are! They’re nice to be around.

      Today has been a very pleasant day. I hope August is pleasant as well. There have been a few hot days, but overall this has been a nice summer. I’m sure it will continue.

      Have a great day,



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