Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Vacation Furballs

When August rolls around to the thirteenth of the month, it always crosses my mind that Fall is waiting to jump in and take over. I guess that rather automatic thought has rolled through my brain ever since I was a kid who didn't look forward to the beginning of school all that much. Well, the kid has been grown for quite some time now but certain concepts just don't change. So I think I'll distract my thoughts of appraching autumn chill with a look back at our vacation.

Last week, Jamie, the dogs and I spent a wonderful 7 days at a cottage on Eagle Lake, not far from North Bay. It was a bit chilly and a bit too rainy at times, but we still enjoyed ourselves. In fact, we enjoyed ourselves so much that we're thinking about making it a 2 week stay next summer. While there, we enjoyed meeting cottage owners Cathy, Morley and Caitlyn. And would it be a Naessens vacation if we didn't meet some new furballs along the way?

This year, the welcoming furballs were a pair of golden retrievers named Dexter and Riley. Dexter is 10, while Riley is a very active and interested 14 years old. Both met us at the car as soon as we arrived. Penny was a bit overwhelmed at first, launching an immediate search for a safe hiding place. But Keeta was ready with a play bow.

That first visit was Dexter's only stop, as his busy life just doesn't give him the time to socialize. But maybe Riley is retired, giving him time to drop by at least once a day. The funny thing is that he timed almost every visit for practically the very moment when we started getting dinner ready. It didn't matter that the dinner hour varied from evening to evening and Riley didn't seem to care whether we barbequed or cooked inside. There was Riley, standing at the screen door, wagging, and imploring for his share. After all, everybody who was anybody offered Riley a bite or two when he came around. They always had, hadn't they?

Well yes they had. In fact, we were the first cottage guests who were specifically asked not to feed Riley. Yes us, the furball pair who would gladly slip him a bite. But Riley's people determined that there would be no more.

Now then, before you judge these nice golden furball owners, let me tell you why they instituted this new anti-canine snacking law. You see, the week before our arrival, other folks stayed in the cottage that we called home during our vacation. Apparently Riley dropped by to visit them on a daily basis and they were happy to offer him a bit of a snack whenever he did. That worked out just fine until the day that Riley dropped by while his new human friends were enjoying some pepperettes.

If you're not familiar with these taste treats, let me tell you about them They're pepperoni sticks, spiced just right. Yes, they are definitely tasty people treats, and if Riley had the words he would tell you that they were a golden furball's favorites as well.

But when good old Riley ventured on home, there was suddenly a certain pungency to the air. As the evening droned on, the air thickened dramatically, making it harder for those around him to breathe with each of his blasts. To make matters worse, poor Riley was not feeling so well. In fact, for a while, his humans thought they were going to have to make a fast trip to the vet.

Eventually though, someone noticed the pepperoni on Riley's breth, and the folks who were his culinary benefactors supplied the details to explain poor Riley's mystery illness.

The good news is that Riley recovered fully and is now back to begging with all of his old enthusiasm intact. The bad news, where Riley is concerned, is that the buffet has now closed. No more begathons for Riley.

Contributed by Larry Naessens

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