Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Little Birds, Old Dogs, Mrs. Thrasher

Buddy, Holly and Chewy the chihuahua wrestling on my bed-
-yet another way they choose to keep their attractive canine figures. 

Lately, we've been walking our dogs in the neighborhood instead of in the desert. There's a few reasons for this change. First, it's springtime in New Mexico and the coyotes are mating, establishing their dens, moving a bit closer to town for some reason and acting viciously territorial. It's not worth the fight. The second reason is Baby the desert dog has put on a few winter pounds. When we take him to the desert he runs for a bit to find something to chew on, then spends the rest of his time chewing on wood and rolling in the sand. If I take him for a 20 minute walk he stays in shape.

The male little bird.

On our walks we've noticed a flock of birds that seems to follow us. They like our neighbor's trees across the street, but we've noticed they fly from tree to tree and follow us around the block. Perhaps they are curious about the dogs. We haven't figured it out. They are very small birds, smaller than a house sparrow, slightly larger than a hummingbird. I did manage to take some pictures of males and a female, which you can see to the right. I haven't identified them yet. They are a playful bunch and they love to sing. They also stay together in pairs.

I believe this is his mate, 
though it also appears to be a type of finch that could have been nearby.

Speaking of birds, our house is for sale and I will soon be saying goodbye to yet another flock of friends. I think the Thrasher family will be the most difficult birds to say goodbye to as I've grown fond of standing on the back porch and talking to them after the sparrows and finches have moved into the tall threes in the arroyo. I will miss the Thrasher family. There is a male, female, and a juvenile.

Thrashers are in the Cat Bird family, which means they have the ability to mimic the calls of other birds and even the sound of cats. I would assume this ability is a gift they were given to warn other birds of the presence of a predator. I haven't heard our Thrashers meowing, but I have heard them making sounds that are similar to crows. They are fun, and I will miss my old friends.

Mrs. Thrasher and I spend a lot of alone time in the evening.
When the other birds fly off, she sits on the wall, 
waiting for me to come outside and give her a snack.

Speaking of old friends, I have a friend whose old dog, Buddy, is suffering from a degenerative disease. He does not have long to live. Growing old is hard on dogs. They often develop arthritis or other diseases that make it difficult for them to move around, and when you live with an animal from the time they are a pup this can be painful to watch.

I also have a few old friends. Our chocolate labs, Buddy and Holly, are eight years old, which is middle-aged for the breed. However, our twins (they are brother and sister) are also a mixed breed, we believe, or so we were told when we rescued them, and mixed breeds generally live longer. They cuddle and play with each other like puppies and often cross their paws as if they are holding hands.

Buddy and Holly cuddling.

It is sweet to watch them together, they are exceptionally loving animals. Buddy has always shown more compassion toward other creatures than any animal I know. I enjoy taking him for walks because he bounces and prances just like a young pup.

My Buddy

When they were young we lived in Colorado and they loved to play in the snow. Unfortunately, it was often windy where we lived and they could not hear us calling them back to the house, I cannot even tell you how many afternoons I spend driving around our 35 acres searching for them, scared to death they were going to be attacked by coyotes, and they were attacked once! It is a miracle they survived, but they did. They are strong, healthy, beautiful friends.

Buddy and Holly with Baby, the dog we rescued from the desert, sandwiched in-between.  Baby was searching for a pack, a place to belong, and Buddy and Holly were happy to oblige.
They love snuggling on blanket at my feet while I work on the computer. 

I am praying for my friends, and their dog. They have a painful road ahead. Dogs are such a blessing to our lives and it is difficult to say goodbye, which is why I make it a rule to spend time playing affectionately with my animals each day to show them how much I love them and appreciate their presence in my life.

Chewy the chihuahua. 
This is his look that says, "Why did you stop petting me? Is there a problem?" 


Amanda Payne said...

I was so sad when we lost our little Jack Russell cross but she had gone senile in her old age and it was very hard to watch. Dogs are such good friends, better than people often!

Darla Sue Dollman said...

I've had to say goodbye to quite a few animal friends in my lifetime. It never is easy. My last dog who died cried as I held him in my arms to say goodbye. Now, I am focusing on learning ways to make it easier on them to move on.