December 1st, 2015
Bailey and I take regular hikes on the local nature trails. She is confident about venturing off the trails now to explore things that attract her eyes or nose. The paw prints of another dog or a squirrel chattering angrily at her from a branch above can send her bounding into the snowy drifts to investigate further. I do not mind her going off to explore the surrounding area as long as I can see her. When Bailey gets out of my eyesight, I simply give a short blow on her dog whistle. Most of the time, she comes scampering towards me in the hopes that a treat will be given. We are still working on consistency. Two weeks ago, the temperatures dropped to a low of -16 degrees Celsius. Temperatures up to this point had been hovering around -5 degrees Celsius. I added a few more layers of clothing while Bailey needed nothing more than her shaggy fur coat. The two of us headed outside with much anticipation as the sun shone down on the sparkling snow.
It was not long before Bailey was off trail in pursuit of a blowing leaf. I walked a little further and waited for her to catch up. Bailey was clearly consumed with tracking the leaf now nestled somewhere under a grouping of fir trees. I tried calling her – no response. I think that she has been taking pointers from my teenage sons. Like when they get called for dinner and no answer is given that they heard you. You resort to the intercom to confirm – only to be told peevishly that they had heard the call. One does not have an intercom out in the woods. Instead, I lifted the silver metal dog whistle to my lips. I took a deep breath before blasting air through the whistle. Things felt somewhat different this time. The whistle was very cold as it had hung around my neck on the outside of my jacket. My lips tingled. I should have given the situation more thought but I did not. I pulled the whistle quickly from my moist lips along with skin. I was in pain. Blood soon followed. I had a revelation. I had broken the cardinal rule of living in the north. One must not touch anything metal with a wet or moist body part.
We had been espousing that rule to our sons for as long as I could remember. They listened for awhile. Then, my youngest son stuck his tongue to the schoolyard’s basketball post in senior kindergarten. He left about a third of his tongue’s top layer on the pole. No mother deserves that phone call from the principal. My husband and I wondered what possessed him to ignore the warnings of his parents, teachers, lunch monitors and principal. I understood better now. I just did what I had always done – blown the whistle to get Bailey’s attention without thinking about the cooler weather. However, Mother Nature sent a clear message to me that definitely got my attention. Bailey and I finished our hike in silence. My lips have recovered after a week of applying medicated lip balm. Like my son’s pole licking adventure, this story has become part of our family’s colourful history to be laughed at for years to come. The whistle will hibernate for the winter only to emerge once again when spring arrives.
P.S. At 44 weeks, Bailey is now 48.2 kg or 106 pounds 4 ounces. Life happens unexpectedly and no posts were made on the blog for 2 weeks. At 43 weeks, Bailey was 47.3 kg or 104 pounds 4 ounces. At 42 weeks, Bailey was 47.5 kg or 104 pounds 11.5 ounces.