Rite of Spring

dogs, humor, pets, vermont

Charlie Brown

5:05 am Open eyes. Roll over and squint at clock. Stiffly thunk-thunk down the stairs to the kitchen.

5:10 am Flip on lights. Open dog crates. Weave through excited tails to open sliding back door. And they’re off to do dog things.

5:15 am Make coffee. Measure out dog food. Leave Linus’ bowl on the floor as he’s always the first one back for breakfast. Let Lucy inside, and put her food down.

5:35 am Realize Lucy ate her food AND Linus’. She’s sleeping it off under the dining room table. Call Linus and Charlie. Weird that they’re not back.

5:36 am Let Linus and Charlie inside and feed them.

5:37 am Pour that first cup of coffee and turn on the tv news. Sip slowly.

5:45 am WHAT’S THAT SMELL?!

5:46 am Send Charlie outside, locked on the deck. Back to coffee.

6:00 am Search for goretex pants, rubber garden clogs, cleaning gloves, and dog shampoo. Dress for bathing battle.

6:13 am Turn on the hose. Call Charlie, who’s now hiding. Bribe him with a treat as I put him on his leash.

6:20 am Bath time for Charlie!

6:30 am Peel off goretex and rubber layers. Eat breakfast.

So, how was your morning?

Charlie Brown in a dandelion field, Waitsfield, Vermont

Lucy & Linus pose at Sugarbush Resort Golf Club, where some of my greetings cards are for sale in the Pro Shop. We were trying to make a dog-golf photo for a card. Need more leaves on the trees, I think.

YAWN from Linus

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What All The Best-Dressed Dogs Are Wearing, Spring 2019 Edition

dogs, humor, pets, vermont

Linus, Charlie Brown, and Lucy sit for a photo during a recent walk in our woods.

What’s your go-to look for spring? As I sift through my closet for a cheerful floral something, I realize that my dogs have it all figured out: Perennial polka dots are Linus’ favorite, while Lucy likes fresh thigh-high stockings and the effortless straight-from-the-shower look. Charlie has mastered bed-head with a crust of something striping his coat.

It is mud season in Vermont. That glorious time when the world is one big puddle over a layer of decaying leaves and other unidentifiable matter. The mud is slick, thick, and smelly. My dogs are stoked.

The daily fashion show runway formerly my driveway features Linus wearing mud polka dots and dark socks. Lucy probably showered him with spots as she shook, making sure black dots were dispersed all over Linus’ light yellow hair. Lucy struts about sporting a more abstract print paired with her pond soaked golden locks. She leaves a gleeful trail of wet, muddy paw prints everywhere, like a flower girl tossing petals. Sweet Charlie resembles a tousled hair muppet exuberantly infusing the air around him with his latest eau de toilette creation.

Their enthusiasm for these spring looks remind me that it is too soon for white shoes. As for the leopard print trend, with enough paw prints, my once plain jeans have become fashionable. Sometimes, I miss the snow.

Charlie does a sit-stay

Linus with his longing gaze

Lucy in her Happy Place

An eft says “Hello”

Clouds blow in over the hayfield

Mudpuppy Lucy

Charlie steals my seat on our first “deck day” of the year

Country Manners

dog training, dogs, pets, travel, vermont

Linus makes use of the ice in our backyard

Fayston, Vermont.  It’s snowing. Again. The streets haven’t been plowed or sanded. Large white, fluffy flakes swirl in the air, sticking to my windshield and covering up our tracks from our our morning walk, which was taken before most folks have had their coffee. I’m returning home after a mid-morning grocery and dog treat run.

Despite the snow, walkers are out. It is a holiday, after all. A young couple with an energetic Golden Retriever try to make him sit as I drive slowly by. Then, on my street, I see my neighbor, with a friendly wave. Just as I turn into my driveway, I spot another walker, a stylish woman with her ear to her phone trudging up the last hill of our street. Cautiously I made my way down my driveway as it is sometimes slippery under new snow. Cream on scream is what we call it in the ski school.

A happy yellow lab in a pink collar is running full smile down my driveway at my car. Not one of my dogs. I see her in time to stop, but I am shaken. I’ve never seen this dog before. I think perhaps she belongs to Phone Woman.

Not long ago, I had a run in with a seasonal neighbor’s three dogs, who came charging down their driveway into the street after us. I was walking with Lucy and Charlie, both leashed. Surprised, I slipped on the ice and let go of Charlie’s leash as I slid. Charlie charged back, pinning one of the dogs in the snowbank as the other two dogs stood a few feet from me and Lucy. The two neighbor’s dogs were growling and barking at us. Lucy was quiet and hid behind me. I quickly called off Charlie – the dog (bigger but younger than Charlie) was pinned but unharmed – which Charlie did, only to stand at the end of the neighbor’s drive and bark at said neighbor. No doubt scolding him. I picked up Charlie’s leash and pulled him along to the sound of my neighbor’s apologies.

Town is crowded with tourists and seasonal homeowners here for a ski holiday. Even though you are on vacation, please remember to leash your dogs while out walking the streets and trails. Even if your dog is friendly. Because my town has a leash law. Because Charlie will try to protect me. Because I might not be able to stop.

And if you’re driving on our scenic country roads, please slow down when you see us – or anyone else – out for a walk.

Harper’s Tail

dogs, Healthy Living, humor, pets, vermont, weather

Podium shot: Charlie, Lucy, and Linus on the plow-created snow Mountain next to our driveway

Fayston, Vermont. It has been so cold that the snow left behind by storm Harper complains with squeaks and grumbles under my boots. Just suiting up for a short dog walk down the driveway is an epic adventure. The bundling up and unbundling take as long as the walk.

Linus won’t go outside. He stands on the threshold like an old man caught up in a memory, unsure of the present. I coax him outside with the promise of a cookie.

Charlie rushes out excitedly. But after about a minute, he freezes with one leg in the air as if tagged by an invisible “It.” Slowly, the raised leg lowers and is carefully placed on the ground. A different leg is haltingly held aloft. The deliberate leg exchange is repeated, resembling a dog version of Tai chi.

Lucy runs ahead, clearing the driveway’s giant snow bank in a graceful leap and landing a perfect bellyflop in a pillow of powder. She pops up snow-covered with her goofy golden grin and begs me to throw a snowball. I oblige. Many times.

Satisfied that Linus has relieved himself, we return to the house for cookies, and for me, a cup of hot tea.

Linus says “Nope.”

Charlie doesn’t appear thrilled.

Lucy always manages to find a big stick.

No friends on a powder day.

Charlie in doggles.

Lucy, Queen of Powderhounds

Sheepish photographer goes to the dogs

animal rescue, dogs, photography, vermont

A show of my own

Fayston, Vermont. I am pleased to announce that I will be holding a pop-up photo show at Product Think Tank in Waitsfield, Vermont on Sunday, October 7 from 2-5 pm. “A Sheep Show: Photography by Rebecca Silbernagel” features photo portraits of sheep, along with a few cows, butterflies, and the local landscape. Also debuting will be my awesome line of greeting cards, which include one of each of my dogs. Product Think Tank is located in the Mad River Green Shopping Center, next to the Waitsfield Post Office.

Sometimes, things just happen. Several months ago, a friend of mine opened up a boutique of knitwear she designed. She asked me if I had any photos of sheep she could display with her lovely wool knits. Thanks to one of my readers who invited me to her sheep farm a couple of years ago, I did. But the prints I made were 8 x 10 (smallish), and I only made two if them. Would you like me to take more photos, I asked my friend. That’s when she had the idea for a pop-up sheep show, and I realized that I had a summer project.

If you are in Vermont, I hope you will stop by and say “Hello.” I will have photo prints ready for your frame and a few are ready to hang, plus my collection of greeting cards. See what you think of my portraits as you browse the beautiful knitwear in the shop.

Take your best shot at my Canicross Photo Booth

Have you tried the photo booth portrait shoot from last month’s post? I’d love to see your photos! If you haven’t had a chance to make your own photo booth, I will be at the 8th Annual Canicross Run/Walk in Williston on October 20. The event, organized by Long Trail Veterinary Center, will be at the Catamount Outdoor Center – this is the ONLY day dogs are allowed there. Choose either a 5K or 2.5 K distance, with or without your dogs. The event begins at 9:30 am and I’ll be there until almost noon.  It is a fundraiser to benefit Golden Huggs Rescue (from where I adopted my pack) and the Catamount Outdoor Center. At the Photo Booth, I will be asking for additional small donations to Golden Huggs Rescue. For more information or to register, please click HERE

Photo Gallery

September is my favorite month because the days are usually warm and the leaves begin to turn. It’s still summer, but different: brighter, more flavorful.  Here are a few photos from the last month.

Love stinks

dogs, pets
Charlie at home

Charlie Brown at home.

Fayston, Vermont. I recently gave Charlie Brown a bath. At 10 pm.

As was our routine, dog-dad had let our dogs out before going to bed. He let them out into the yard, but not the fenced-in part – our neighbors are seasonal and mud season is not one of their seasons. Spring feverish, our three dogs took off into the night.

After a few minutes, Lucy returned home but Linus and Charlie did not. Dog-dad continued to call them, with each repetition growing louder and angrier. I came downstairs, grabbed my wallet and car key, then tapped the button to open the garage door. I hoped the sound of the door clanking up would bring them back, but I only heard the peepers. No familiar jingle of dog tags. At least I heard no more yelling.

I started the car and pulled out of the garage, crawling down the driveway and expectantly searching for Charlie and Linus in my headlights. Twenty five yards down they appeared, looking quite happy and excited, tails and tongues a-waggin’. They eagerly hopped in the car.  

Charlie snuggled up against my neck. He smelled like he spent the night at a frat party. A wave of nausea hit me at the stench. Into the shower we both went.

In the morning, dog-dad and I agreed to keep the dogs in the fenced in part of our yard. I arrived at work tired. My mind had ruminated on “what might have been” and my sleep was restless. As I was settling into my morning coffee and emails, one of my co-workers announced that she had a sad story to tell me. She looked upset. Quite unexpectedly, she said, she had to say goodbye to her dog last night. We hugged and cried; their time with us is too short we told each other. She told me how her dog suddenly became very sick over the weekend. We cried some more.

Dogs are only with us for a short time. Make every day a good one.

 

 

In memory of Goldie.

All photos ©️Rebecca Silbernagel 2018

Lucy & Charlie take a break during our morning walk.

Lucy!

Mother’s Day bouquet

Sugarbush Resort

Hi, Charlie…

Did somebody say cookie?

Morning walk reflections

Linus keeps my seat warm.

Cinco de Barko

Spring fever

Mad River Valley view

Acts of Love

animal rescue, dogs, Joy, Valentines Day
Charlie Brown, Lucy, and Linus at sunrise.

Charlie Brown, Lucy, and Linus at sunrise

To my dear pack-mates Lucy, Linus, and Charlie Brown on Valentines Day,

I love:

  • That you are ecstatic when I come home
  • That you are so happy to see me that you like to rub your blondeness against my black pant legs
  • That you use me for a pillow and keep me warm when you snuggle
  • That you use my pillow when I’m not home
  • That you are excited to see me each morning
  • That you are so excited to see me each morning that you begin to chirp at 4:30 a.m.
  • That you are up for any adventure
  • That you think when I have to go to the bathroom is an adventure
  • That you are always by my side
  • That you lie down in obstacle course formation on the kitchen floor when I am cooking
  • That you help with the dishes and vacuuming
  • That occasionally you leave a mess for me to clean
  • That you love me, always

I love my Lucy

I love my Linus

I love my Charlie Brown

Happy Valentines Day!

XOXOXO

 

 

Wagmorevt is two!

Uncategorized

RS_IMG_1142.jpg

Fayston, Vermont.  Thank you for following along with our adventures in the Green Mountains of Vermont.  To celebrate our second year of wagmorevt, here’s a video slideshow of some of the best of last year’s photos. Enjoy!

For daily photos, please follow me on Instagram @skimor, or search #wagmorevt.

If you have a comment to share or would like your dog to be featured (if you’re within 50 miles of the Mad River Valley in Vermont, I’ll come to you), please fill out the contact form, below.  

 

A neighbor comes to call

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Fayston, Vermont. Barking woke me up. Linus and Charlie were sounding the alarm downstairs, loudly. I looked at my bedside clock: 11:30. Probably a mouse or maybe a raccoon on the deck. I’m not going downstairs. Charlie spooks easily and Linus barks at the t.v. The visitor will move on, then the dogs will quiet, I told myself as I pulled the pillow over my ears.

The barking became even more frenzied, joined by a third voice. A low, deep, measured bark under the alarm bells. Lucy. Golden retriever who’s never met a stranger Lucy. Hers was not an alarm, but a call for back-up.

I made my way in the dark, down the stairs as fast as my arthritic joints would allow, switched on the outside light, and shrieked with surprise. I was standing a few feet away from A BEAR.

We looked at each other through the window, the bear blinking at me in the sudden light. I took in its beautiful, thick, glossy coat and healthy, bright eyes. It was full-grown but young. Probably the same one who left prints on the driveway recently. A leaf was dangling from its mouth like salad interrupted. I wanted to reach through the glass to touch its head and brush away the food from its face.

“What is it?” my husband finally called down from upstairs.

“A bear,” I softly replied, not wanting it to run away just yet.

“Big or little?”

That’s a ridiculous question, I thought. Instead, I answered “In-between?”

Footsteps down the bedroom stairs broke the spell. The bear plodded around our emerging herb garden and ran into the trees at the back of our yard. (The dogs are not as polite – they run straight through the garden.) We could still see the bear in the shadows cast by the outside light.

My husband returned to bed. I waited a long while before I went on the deck to close the gate. I brought inside the Brussel sprouts awaiting transplant. One of the plants had definitely been nibbled, but the others were untouched.

I guess bears don’t like Brussel sprouts.

bearEd. note: Our house borders on state land. When we bought the house about six years ago, the sellers told us we’d have a moose and bears. We were not concerned as we were coming from New Jersey, where the bears are big, sometimes aggressive, and love throwing pool parties. Since we moved in, I’ve seen a bear on the road a few times, but not close to the house. In the yard, I’ve seen an ermine, an eight-point buck, and all sorts of rodents and birds. Plus a variety of reptiles and amphibians. Linus met a porcupine once, but that’s another story. Where the driveway meets the road, I’ve seen a family of fishers, a doe and twin fawns, turkeys, and a coyote. Still waiting to see a moose.

On a walk a few days after the visit, I smiled as I followed familiar bear tracks down the middle of the road. The footprints made wilderness-styled street markings drawn in the dirt, a message left by my neighbor.