Prairie Living

Dog Days

Dog days typically mean the oven of August, that sweltering dried out month with Sirius overhead and the first signs of wilt below.  For mountain girl me, the dogs have the day once the thermometer rises above 82 and nights no long dip below 55—that’s June through mid-September on the prairie—days that are as onerous for me as they are long.   I sleep with wet towels and eat nothing but tacos and salad for weeks and weeks.

But this year, there’s been a different kind of dog day—these since December, and with nothing to do with the burden of hot weather.

Dear friends, meet River.

River (with my niece) in his new home with winter coat

The artist-lover and I have long negotiated the idea of canine companionship—he worried about his tough as nails and set in her ways alley-cat Dottie, who almost two years of co-habitation merely tolerates me.  How, we wondered, would she respond to a dog?

Summer Coat
Of course it all happened by accident—we’d stopped at the Humane Society as we’d done so many times, just to look.  And the dog we thought we’d like to meet was just being adopted, but River, whose tag said he wasn’t yet available for visits, was.  And that was that.  Greg and I had probably been to the pound a dozen times, only to leave empty handed.  This time, before we knew it, we were taking the pooch with the old man walk and a bad case of flea dermatitis complete with a coat as bristly as wire, home. 

I’ve always said the dog picks you. 

This one must have known I’m as sucker when it comes to animals and so it has been that the mystery dog we’ve saved from a Texas kill shelter who came with a suitcase full of yet to be revealed ailments—among them a rare form of venereal cancer and a back problem likely the result of the buckshot lodged near his spine—the one who had probably never lived inside before, has officially become a pampered pooch.  We’ve gone from no dog on the bed to nights when either Greg or I have just six inches of leg room and Sunday mornings like this: 
River and the Sunday Times

Our cold frame is River’s favorite hot spot:

These are the dog days indeed.  River gets supplements for his bones and back.  His coat has softened to a pleasant fur.  The cancer has been treated and is gone and he gets acupuncture for his spine.  
Cat with tail mustache–“What evil lurks in the mind of Dottie?”
And Dottie?  She didn’t take off.  Instead, she saunters up to the dog and gives him a well-aimed swat at the face.  Sometimes, it seems almost like she is playing—but we’re not sure.  Nevertheless, the dog that outweighs her by 60 pounds cries like a baby whenever she enters the room.
Please follow and like Rougher Beauty:

0 thoughts on “Dog Days”

  1. What a beautiful dog. No wonder you fell for him. For all us pooch lovers world-wide, thanks for opening your hearts and homes to River. He will pay you back in spades. Trust me. I speak from real experience. There is no love like dog love. 🙂

  2. So nice of you to comment, David. The thing about the dog is that he is always happy to see you–no matter what. That kind of unconditional love is magic. The first love of my life was a husky named Elvis, another rescue, who was my constant companion and lived with me in the cabin on the mountain. There's a bit about him here: and of course he's the star of my (forthcoming) memoir.

  3. A little River Update: The back problem has been diagnosed as bad knees. He had TPLO knee surgery two weeks ago on his right knee. He feels great, but we have to keep him to leash walks and no jumping for another six weeks, when he will need to have his other knee done. He's been his happy self through it all.

Leave a Reply to Karen Auvinen Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published.