This morning, there was no sign of frost on the ground, the sun was shining from (almost) bright blue sky, and after wearing winter clothes for weeks, it was now warm again to go outside with just a thick sweater or a fall jacket.
I started the day with some thick study books (very, very, very boring land/estate law. My Dad always teases me that I'll probably end up working in land surveying, but I assure you that once the exam is over, I'll never look back to this subject! ;)). I had a cup of pumpkin spice tea on the side. I'm really not a fan of cinnamon-y teas, but with some vanilla soy milk, this was quite okay.
My Dad, after trying to work in his office with a dog head pushing into his lap begging for constant attention, started his day with this guy. These lucky boys got to enjoy a long hike in the lovely weather, in the beautiful nature. If I didn't need to study this morning, I would have joined them. Do you remember this dog, Finn, from the day I arrived? Well, he's here again, while his owner is working at a dog show this weekend.
I've had a few great runs with him: although he can run over 65 km/h (over 40 mph), he really paces his speed when you run along with him. Running together with my Labrador was impossible, as he was far more interested in sniffing and would stop every few feet like he'd met a brick wall. Indeed, one big difference between these two breeds is that the Scottish Deerhound seems to enjoy running just for the sake of it - you can see his whole face light up when he is let off the leash to run as fast as he can (in a secure area, of course) - while for a Labrador, running has to have a purpose, whether it is running to eat dinner, to greet the mailman, to play "find the sausage", or to retrieve his favorite dummy.
I have no doubt that when I have the chance (= a house or a suitable apartment: not a top floor apartment like ours, in a building without an elevator!), I will get a Labrador again: they are intelligent and gentle, with good nerves and a balanced nature; they like to please and are quite easy to train (at least as long as food is involved!); they're usually relatively clean dogs, good with kids, and small enough to comfortably take along in the car or even on a plane. One big issue is also that they can be let out the door and will stay on the property, while Finn has to be kept on leash and so, if he needs to pee at 3 AM, you have no choice but to put on your boots and take him outside yourself. Labradors are a race without bigger health problems, and usually live quite long. Sure, they can be wild and destructive when they are puppies, but I'm hoping one of us will have a chance to work from home when the dog is young, so as not to get our couch, walls, or electrical cords chewed up (!). They also - or was it just my dog? - shed quite a bit of short, stick-like hair that, despite constant brushing of the dog and vacuuming of the house, goes everywhere, from your computer keyboard to the fridge to your cell phone (yes - there's actually a dog hair under the glass
of my phone!), and change their fur twice a year: the shedding process seems to last about 6 months in the spring and 6 months in the fall. ;)
Although I'd probably not choose Scottish Deerhound as my dog - that is, unless I had a big, fenced property in the country - it has been really nice to get to know this old, gentle, affectionate and fascinating breed (which I had never even heard about before, and probably wouldn't have found myself), and I'll be happy to dogsit Finn whenever I can. The more time I spend with him, the more I like him! He is quite a character, too. :)
I always think that while my Labrador might have been a stand up comedian, psychiatrist or a cook if he had been a human, this dog would probably be a philosopher or a professor in French literature or art history. Labradors always seem to have a twinkle in their eye, are not afraid to make a fool of themselves, and consider everything a fun game, while this dog seems much more serious and dignified - and if he gets upset, he sulks, to an extent that he won't touch his food the entire day! This happened the other day, when I kindly asked him to stay away from the dinner table (mind you, with a gentle voice): he looked at me like asking if I was serious, then moved to the couch, and stayed there, staring at me from under his brows, and refusing to come and eat for hours, despite frequent begging and patting. If my Labrador had refused FOOD, it probably would have meant something was life-threateningly wrong with him (I remember this happening only once, when he got some kind of a serious poisoning outdoors and, had we not had medical carbon on hand, probably would have died of it before we got him to the vet). I didn't always share his taste for food: after pumpkin, his favorite were raw potatoes, with the dirt and all (and no, I really didn't feed him a vegan diet ;)). Here he is testing the quality of the potato harvest last fall...
Another breed I really love is the great Newfoundlander - I have got to know many of them in the water rescue training I attended with my dog - but sadly, I hear they often live a relatively short life and may have serious joint problems. My boyfriend would like to get a daschound, but - please don't laugh ;) - small dogs kind of frighten me..!
What is your favorite dog - or are you more of a cat person? :)
Unless I get some unpredictable problems with my connection again, I'll be back later today with some food-related talk as well. ;)