A Dog’s Eye View looks at: The Dog Days of Summer

Several weeks ago (yes, the end of July), I went out feed the rabbits and I noticed one of them had started to shed his summer coat. This usually happens around now (the middle to the end of August), so I was surprised to see this starting so early. About a week after that, I noticed the huskies were starting to plop their summer tufts, and the goose has started his semi-annual molt early as well. I’ve noticed an inordinate amount of leaves on the ground, but I’ll just blame that on the torrential rain we’ve had recently. Fall is in the air. Already? It’s eighty degrees out!

Today I’m scanning the headlines, and the focus is on back-to-school. My middle-schooler has her schedule and is happy with the teachers she got. My high school senior son is in full football mode already. Found his schedule, and I see he’s traded Spanish for Latin, has the usual ecology, sociology, haulocost and calculus type courses, and…furniture construction. All that wood we’ve had him haul, maul and split for heat next winter must have had an effect on him. Winter is coming. Egads.

Winter is the time to lug buckets of water to the barn animals. And chop up the ice in their buckets, while running out the mice and moles from the grain bins. The squirrels challenge the chickens for their grain, which, last year, they tediously lugged to the holes they gnawed in our roof to spend the winter in. Noisiest neighbors I ever had. They learned to hate paintballs. The chickens will generally stop laying eggs by the beginning of December, and they’ll start again in March. Spring is arriving at that point.

Spring brings a new round of shedding fur and feathers at our house. The fishtank heaters no longer burn brightly at all hours of the day and night. The goose and the rooster want to have their way with any female creature that crosses their path, and God help anything they suspect may be trying to encroach their women.

The dogs in our house love the summer. They can sprawl out on any floor, all day long. No crate time when the kids are home, although sometimes they’ll nap in one anyway.

The chinchilla, on the other hand, despises the heat of summer. He refuses to lay on the cool granite slab in his three story cage, preferring instead to give me heart failure laying on his side panting pathetically until you reach in to check him, and then instantly re-inflates and flies around the cage at speeds ranging from 42-63 MPH for 5-10 seconds. We put a window unit air conditioner in, just for him. We thought the huskies would rejoice, too. The big young one still sleeps in the hot kitchen. Sometimes, he pants pathetically. Other times, he lays on his back, feet in very odd and unatural angles, tail in the water bowl, tougue on the floor. Life is good.

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