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A long time ago, I was a child. (I started out as Cathy First from Colon, Mi.) For the past several years I’ve been an adult. A lot of things went on between those two stages of life; probably no more or no less than anyone elses. My husband and I moved to “da U .P” from southern Lower Michigan several years ago (yes we were trolls at one time). We owned and operated and operate Clementz’s Northcountry Campground and Cabins just north of Newberry, Michigan until May 2015. We have grown kids and grandkids (who all live downstate). My passion is life and all that Nature has to offer us and trying to photograph it in unique ways. Our intention in life is to see all that Nature has to offer us. We hope that you will be a part of our adventures as we cruise through our lives together. Come back often!

Sunday, April 09, 2006

NORTHCOUNTRY NICK, THE YOOPER DOG, AND HIS TELL TALE TAIL

NICK has 3 purposes in life; to shed, to grow more hair and to sing….and not necessarily in that order. He actually CAN do all three at the same time without missing a beat, although to watch him, you’d never know it. His biggest concern in life is when he can go for his next w-a-l-k. Now, don’t tell me that you don’t spell in front of your pets.

Any one who has raised a Husky knows they are a challenge and a handful. It is as though they are a two year old (stubborn but loving) toddler for the rest of their life. And the shedding (AKA blowing the coat) goes on from early March to late November. Birds from far away come just to flock and pluck fur from Nick in the spring. Sometimes I help by tossing bushel baskets of “Nick fur” to the wind. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn of birds on the far northern shore of Lake Superior that have a Nick Nest. He no sooner gets done shedding than he has his winter coat again…and the cycle starts again. Even my poor little Shih-Tzu has a coating of Nick fur this time of year!

And can he sing! I have never seen any one or anything with the lung capacity that Nick has. He can hold a note for as long as it takes me to play the Minute Waltz on a harmonica (and if you’ve ever tried to play the Minute Waltz on a harmonica you KNOW it takes longer than a MINUTE! There is an added bonus though from trying to do this; your lips get that puffed up and pouty look, so no need for those collagen injections). There have been times (when Nick is outside in his pen) I hear the fire truck or an ambulance coming and I go to the window to witness the only vehicle on our road for the day simply to discover it is Nick singing the blues. The dog can sing. (I think he occasionally hums under his breath too) And he is quite a talker too (as most Huskies are)

Several years ago, during the 45 minutes of the year that Nick was not shedding, he occasionally was allowed to get on our bed. This particular day, he was watching me make the bed, waiting until I told him he could get up. I leaned down to tuck the covers in at the foot of the bed and Nick must’ve thought I was trying to play. He jumped up just as I leaned. The top of his head and the under side of my jaw met with a resounding thud and crunch. Just so you know, when you receive a blow like that you really do see stars (and possibly an asteroid or two). I’m not sure what Nick saw except maybe double. I can’t recall having anything hurt quite like that did and realized right then I was glad I hadn’t pursued a career in boxing. After I came out of my stupor and made sure Nick was alive I looked in the mirror. The underside of my jaw had doubled in size within 5 minutes! It was showing signs of getting bigger and adding extraordinary hues of color. Since we own and operate our own business, I was concerned that our guests would see me and think Dan had punched me. I wanted to wear a sign that said “My dog did this to me”. By the time evening came round, I was purple and green from my chin to my throat…and still puffed up like a bullfrog. Nick had a rather substantial knob on the top of his head (that must’ve been the crunch I heard when we collided) but seemed to be OK otherwise. When Dan saw me and I told him what happened, I expected great concern and sympathy…which there was. Please let me quote him; “Is Nick all right? Where’s my boy??” (By the way, Nick developed epileptic seizures shortly after our collision. They have been few and far between, but ya can’t help but wonder if this wasn’t brought on by our “chance encounter”.)

Nick is 11 years old now; sometimes he acts like he is pup and other times he does a doggy impersonation of Methuselah. We are about a month into the shedding season and I’ve gone through several filters and sweeper bags. I have placed netting full of Nick fur in a tree and the birds are making good use of it.

I’ve given up trying to play the Minute Waltz for a slow rendition of Red River Valley or an upbeat Bonanza Theme Song. He still has lungs that would inspire a new design in bellows and would humble any opera singer. He can still run like the wind, but moans and groans getting up or down. He is showing his age, but is doing so gracefully. We know one of these years he will no longer be singing the blues, or walking softly down the hall to see if we are awake yet, or going on vacations with us, so you take it all in and cherish the memories…fur and all. Posted by Picasa

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