Monday, November 26, 2007
The Little Things in Life
Mom says the heat is making things wave again. When I look across the driveway to the street, the road waves at me. I also see puddles shimmering on the sidewalk but they disappear when I reach them Mom calls this a mirage. I call it mysterious but not beyond Mom’s powers. I mean, if she can make the sun leap ahead one whole hour in the spring and stay in bed one whole hour later in the fall, she can certainly make puddles disappear.
During the summer, Mom is very careful about the soles of my feet on hot days. Before we go walkies, she kneels down and feels the ground with her hand to make sure it won’t burn my feet.
“Burn my hand,” she says, “burn Sailor’s feetsies.” Feetsies? Gimme a break here.
I don’t have Dancing Shoes like some of my friends, so she will sometimes rub my footpads with Musher’s Secret, a wax that protects them from hot and cold surfaces. I am not overly fond of this since my feet are very ticklish. I think Dancing Shoes are a better idea; some of Zoe’s sled dog friends have many pairs of soft booties to protect their feet, but Dancing Shoes are hard plastic and make tap-tapping sounds when you walk. They sound like more fun to me. I could tap dance down the block and be the envy of all who hear.
Mom has many inventions to keep me cool when I am outside. Since Zoe ate my cooling mat last summer, Mom does other things. She freezes water in plastic gallon milk containers and hides them in my doghouse. I curl up around these or lie with them against my belly and they are so cool! Besides the water bottles, she will freeze a small block of ice to keep the water in my water bowl cool during the day. I love to bob for ice. It cools my face as well as my tongue and everyone knows that cooling the tongue makes the heat go away. Mom says it’s the evaporation caused by panting that cools my mouth and tongue and in turn keeps my whole body cool.
The biggest help to cooling me on hot days outside, though, is the oak tree over my dog run. If that weren’t enough, the car canopy over half of my run shades my doghouse and me. Triple shading is a very good way to stay cool: tree cooling followed by shade cooling and lastly doghouse cooling works pretty well. I like to be inside my doghouse on cold days, too. Mom says it’s well insulated. Speaking of insulation, I have learned that my summer coat protects me from the heat, too, and this is why you should never shave a collie. Shorn, they run the risk not only of heat stroke but also of sunburn. You should never shave huskies, either, for the same reason.
Mom also says that she will go to an orchard supply store and look for orchard misters to hang around my dog run. These are supposed to cool the air tright down, but I ask you: Do I look like an orchard to you? I do not, unless we are growing dogwood trees and they are shedding. We do have a dogwood tree in the front but so far it has not blown its coat. Maybe it needs to be moved into the deep shade of my oak tree to stay cool. Or Mom needs to give it a bath to encourage its coat to fall out like she did to me last week.
Mom also asked me if I want a kiddie pool to soak my feet, since the only other place a dog can lose heat is through the bottoms of his feet. I didn’t jump at this: what am I, a kiddie? First an orchard, then a kiddie. What a joke - misters and a pool are the wrong things for someone who doesn’t like to get wet. Maybe she will forget these ideas and buy me air conditioning.
Inside, Mom drapes ice towels over my wire crate instead of turning on our butt coolers. Ice towels are towels soaked in ice water and wrung out. She says that butt coolers are nice when electricity is abundant, but in the days of the Great California Energy Crisis, the air conditioning stays off unless we are about to broil.
Well, I am about to broil and would like the butt coolers turned on, Mom.