Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Columns

March 10, 2014

Cathie Shaffer: Oh, as soon as it gets dry outside ...: 03/11/14

GREENUP — There’s this bright stuff outside the window as I write that I vaguely recall as sunshine. And that light illuminates so much — as in my car really needs washed and the end of winter really is a pretty ugly time of year.

It’s hard to believe that the swampy, dismal stuff behind my house will be a lush green lawn come summer. Okay, the lushest part will be weeds rather than grass, but still ...

As we cross our fingers in hopes of an early spring, each of us has a reason to wish the winter over.

My biggest one is the grandgirl’s dog.

As soon as the sod dries out, as soon as the temperatures stay consistently in the 50s or above, I intend to wrangle as many people as I can into helping me reinforce the existing fence along my property and add more as needed.

Carmyn, the dog in question, needs a big place to run.

Thanks to the cold and snow, she hasn’t been able to go to the dog park or other safe, open areas. So she has established an exercise route inside the house.

Being the kind of dog to find trouble if she’s left alone, Carmyn is back to spending nights in her room, otherwise known as her kennel. She willingly goes in at night and whenever she feels the need to isolate herself from the family. But as soon as she hears noise in the morning, she’s ready to get out of the kennel and stretch her legs.

That translate into “run amok,” unfortunately. She grabs her favorite toy, a stuffed giraffe, and starts her loops.

The first one is up on the couch, bounce off and then into my recliner from which she launches herself toward the couch again. She does this at a dizzying pace with my Sheltie watching her with a look of long suffering in her eyes.

See, my Maggie knows that after Carmyn finishes that circuit, she’ll decide she wants Maggie to play — and Maggie’s not one to play in the mornings.

So Carmyn will look for a cat. Up the stairs to the second floor, down the steps to the basement and a flying trip past every place the cats like to hide constitutes part two of Carmyn’s exercise plan. She practically vibrates with excitement when she sees a cat despite knowing that if she picks the wrong one, she’ll only get a swipe on the nose for her trouble.

As soon as she’s still long enough to snap a leash on, Carmyn goes outside. She can’t seem to figure out how to go around things, so nine times out of ten, she’ll wrap the tie-out leash around whatever is close. That is usually the wheels of the big garbage container and ends up with her barking for me to come save her.

Soon, I tell myself. Soon the winter will be only a memory and warmth will wrap itself around me when I walk outside.

Soon the spongy ground will relent so that I will be able to pick up the sticks, shingles from other people’s houses and other debris that collected over the winter.

Soon I’ll be able to wash down the plastic dog house in the backyard so Carmyn will have a cozy place to nap.

Soon ...

But until then, I’ll continue to keep all the breakables up, make sure the recliner is against the wall before Carmyn leaves her cage in the morning and remind myself that she’s still just a baby — a big, boisterous baby who makes life a challenge.

CATHIE SHAFFER, executive editor of The Greenup News, can be reached at cathieshaffer@zoominternet.net

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