ANN BAILEY: Kids and dogs make the most of the muddy seasonI am blessed to have both children and dogs under my roof . And while I don’t elevate my dog to the level of humans, I have noticed they engage in similar behavior, especially this time of year. One thing I’ve noticed, for instance, is that they have in common an attraction to mud, water and snow.
I am blessed to have both children and dogs under my roof . And while I don’t elevate my dog to the level of humans, I have noticed they engage in similar behavior, especially this time of year.
One thing I’ve noticed, for instance, is that they have in common an attraction to mud, water and snow.
Last Sunday I was walking Rosebud down the side of the road and soon learned that I better stay in the middle if I wanted her to keep her out of the mud. Whenever we were on the side of the road, she strained on her leash to reach badger holes, gopher mounds or piles of muddy snow that she could dig in.
I managed to keep her pretty much on the straight and narrow for most of the walk and it looked like she would return to the house relatively mud-free. That is, until my husband, Brian, returned from a run with our other two dogs, Minnie and Maggie. We were only about a quarter-mile from home, so Brian suggested I let Rosebud off of the leash to play with Maggie and Minnie.
There were no cars in sight, so I figured it would be OK to release Rosebud. It was, indeed, safe, but it was not a wise decision when it came to keeping her clean. The minute I let her off of the leash, she ran into the muddy field next to the road, and Maggie followed her so they could roll around in the mud for a while. Then Rosebud had to check out a deep pile of snow that was mostly water on the bottom.
She returned from the field with mud and water hanging off of her feathered legs and covering her golden, long-haired belly, wagging her tail happily and “smiling,” tongue hanging out as she shook herself off.
I wish I could say that was the end of Rosebud’s journey into the field, but it wasn’t. She had to check out the fields and ponds of water on the other side of the road, too, then back to the first side, and then... Well, you get the picture. It’s surprising how long a quarter of a mile can seem when you’re trying to keep a dog out of the water.
It’s not that I didn’t try to keep Rosebud on the road. I sternly told her each time she returned to stay by me. However, Rosebud, like children who are having fun, wasn’t using her “listening ears” and went merrily on her way back and forth, from muddy field to muddy field.
I did put the leash back on her before she reached home, but not before she, Maggie and Minnie were muddy messes. Brian said that during the five-miles he ran before he met up with us, Maggie never strayed from the road and remained clean and dry. It only took a few seconds of joining in on Rosebud’s antics to cave into peer pressure.
The next day, I made sure I kept Rosebud on the leash when I took her on her walk. Minnie and Maggie were off running with Brian again and our three children were on bikes, so it looked like everyone would make it back to the house clean and dry.
This time, it was our 7-year-old daughter, Ellen, who couldn’t resist the draw of the water. She got off her bike to walk over to a big field pond for a better look and ended up sinking waist deep in snow. She didn’t realize that the snow was mostly water and not only wouldn’t hold her up, but would fill her boots with slush.
Ellen returned to the house pretty clean, but also quite wet. Fortunately, she was wearing snow pants so the water didn’t soak into her skin and make her cold.
However, I’m not sure the boy whom I saw at the elementary school this past week was so lucky. I had just dropped off Ellen and Thomas when I spotted the boy walking in a pond of boot-deep water, carefully holding up his snow pants. He could have taken a dry route to the school, but obviously wading was more fun. His boots didn’t look like they were water-resistant, but he didn’t seem to care.
After Tuesday’s snowfall — we got about 6 inches at our farm — Ellen and Rosebud couldn’t resist playing in it. Rosebud ran around the yard burying her nose in the snow, then throwing it up in the air when I let her off of the leash and Ellen climbed over the snow pile at the edge of the driveway to check out the freshly-fallen white stuff on our way to the garage. When I told Ellen to come back to the driveway so she wouldn’t get wet before she even got to school, she looked at me and said simply, “Mom, there’s new snow.”
While cleaning up the mud and water gets old quickly, I can’t fault my children or the dogs for wanting to play in the ponds, heavy, wet snow and slippery mud holes. I recall doing the same and coming home wet and shivering after my adventures.
My mom had me shed the clothes in the basement and gave me dry ones to put on, just as I do with my children. Meanwhile, the dogs stay in the kennel until they’re dry and the mud can be brushed off, then they are allowed to return to the kitchen.
Though the muddy season seems interminable, I know that there are drier days ahead. In the meantime, I’ll keep plenty of laundry soap and wash rags on hand.