RSS Feed

Cricket and the Sticks

"This is my stick. You can't have it!"

“This is my tree. You can’t have it!

 

            Cricket wants to dismantle small trees. After Hurricane Sandy, we had piles of branches everywhere on the lawn, and since the trees in our neighborhood are old and tall, the pieces that broke off were often the size of small trees themselves. And that’s what Cricket wanted to master. She wanted branches with tributaries, branches she could trip over as she dragged them by the heel across to her special chewing spot. She wanted to attack the branch that was five feet long and three inches thick. She put her whole body into it, using her paws and her mouth and all of her weight and all of her passionate intensity, her ribcage undulating with the effort. But she could barely drag the monster an inch, with all of that effort, and she couldn’t break herself off a memento to carry back to the porch. She had to settle for the two foot stick covered in grey bark that waited for her by the rim of the sleeping flower garden. It was a blow to her pride, but she got over it.

Sometimes she sneaks her sticks into the house.

Sometimes she sneaks her sticks into the house.

When I have the energy, I throw the sticks for her in the front yard. I throw sticks one after the other to different parts of the lawn until she is out of breath from retrieving, and has given Butterfly a work out jumping over her leash to get out of the way. She especially likes to overcrowd her mouth with as many sticks as she can fit without gagging. And even then she gets mad if she can’t pick up just one more stick. She can do five, including one big one, if she’s feeling ambitious. It weighs her down so she can’t run the way she’d like to, but she still won’t give up a stick. It’s her trophy.

When she is exhausted, or her mouth is too full of sticks to take on anymore, she picks her favorite stick and goes to her own corner to chew.

Cricket holds a stick like a flute, as if she’s about to make music and blow into the mouth piece and play notes with her paws. She can be very delicate with it. She sits eagerly in the front corner of the yard, when she’s supposed to be focused on peeing, and she chews at her stick.

She seems to recognize different flavors of stick, like different wines and cheeses. She carefully sniffs for notes of moss and fungus, dirt and flowers, the pee of other animals, and the must of day old rain.

This one has notes of fungus, raspberries and lawn-aged pee.

This one has notes of fungus, raspberries and lawn-aged pee.

For the first month or two, Butterfly had no interest in sticks. She tried to run after Cricket on the lawn, but she didn’t have the stamina, or the interest in chasing flying things. She finds running after squirrels equally inexplicable. She tried chewing on a stick or two, but it didn’t taste right to her and she gave up and came over to me for more scratchies.

But some time in the past month, she walked over to the corner of the lawn where Cricket usually chews her sticks, and she sat down, and started chewing on a very small stick. It was so tiny that Cricket wouldn’t even look at it twice, but Butterfly thought it was the perfect size.

Butterfly in the field of mini sticks.

Butterfly in the field of mini sticks.

She still doesn’t run after sticks, or leaves, or squirrels, but once she’s attached to her long lead, she’ll wander over to Cricket’s stash in the corner and see if anything looks tempting, and then she’ll start chewing. Or eating, rather. She’s a messy eater, so we now have a covering of bark pieces around the area when she’s done.

I wish I could see this as progress, but the fact is that they’re both supposed to be busy peeing, and I have to stand around and wait while they chew contentedly and ignore their bladders. God forbid I try to bring them back into the house before they’ve deigned to pee, they’ll both look at me like I’ve condemned them to the gulag.

When I have the energy, I’m better off taking the girls for a walk. Preferably some place where there are no sticks to be found.

Advertisements

About rachelmankowitz

I am a fiction writer, a writing coach, and an obsessive chronicler of my dogs' lives.

46 responses »

  1. Ah, the delicate finish of a fine twig.

    Ariel, being so tiny, has decided that dwarf branches, those that can be easily carried by a small group of enterprising ants, are best.

    Reply
  2. They’re so adorable – Cricket and Butterfly.

    Reply
  3. Chancy the Gardener

    We would get along real well Cricket…I love limbs, sticks and anything that looks like them. Hugs and nose kisses, Chancy

    Reply
    • Cricket is learning how to share. She skipped that lesson in puppy kindergarten, but Butterfly is teaching her step by step. Someday, I hope she’ll be able to share a tree with you. She could use the help dragging it across the lawn.

      Reply
  4. Cricket is so adorable:)

    Reply
  5. I don’t chew sticks. Kaci does and when I asked her what makes a good stick she said “I can’t veralize it but I know a good one when I see it”.

    Reply
  6. Awe. When i got my Bianca a year and half ago one of the first things i tried was to play fetch with her and throw a stick. She just looked at me like ” get the stick yourself if you want it”. Week after week I would try to lure her into sniffing the stick and she just looks at me with contempt. She is such a diva. The other night I came home late from working and i took her out for a quick pee and she was jumping all over the place. Playing. Yet during the day when I want her to have a long walk she just pulls me to go back inside. Dogs have their own schedule, internal clocks, and time eludes them. Daylight savings was the worst for me. Instead of 545am she was waking up 445am like it was natural and I was odd for not wanting to wake up. lol.

    Reply
    • Butterfly believes in a 7AM wake up call. She puts severe limits on naps as well. Such a task master. She hasn’t figured out fetch yet, but when I throw a stick for Cricket she runs after Cricket and wonders what that was all about. Then she goes looking for a mini stick somewhere else.

      Reply
  7. My lab is obsessed with sticks!

    Reply
  8. Perhaps Cricket enjoys a certain kind of stick as compared to the flavor Butterfly likes. Maybe an Oak stick for Cricket, while Butterfly, (Being a breakfast type) prefers Maple.

    I think Brutis likes Cricket. He had me add your blog to our “Other pages we follow” list. He’s such a rascal sometimes. He wants to know how Cricket feels about spiders.

    Reply
    • Cricket thinks spiders look kind of yummy, like a moving chicken treat. Though she has never partaken, that I know of.
      Butterfly would like all of her sticks to be rolled in bacon juice first, but Cricket is a purist, all fungus all the time.

      Reply
  9. Cricket’s picture with the huge stick in her mouth is just perfect!!!! Gosh, they sure are cute!!!! Instead of a wine cellar, I think they may be storing up for a stick cellar…true connoisseurs…Giggles and have a great week!!!!

    Reply
  10. Sticks are, of all things, the most desirable. Cricket totally gets this.

    Reply
  11. So adorable! Reminds me of the Boston Terrier I had. He would pick up the absolute biggest sticks (more like big tree branches) and bring them to me. He wouldn’t let go but he’d bring them to me! I was always afraid he was going to poke his eyes out.

    Reply
  12. I’m sure you’ll remember Mark Twain’s take on the matter: “It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog.”
    😉

    Reply
    • Cricket is a different size dog at different times. When she’s outside she is huge and she’s a fighter. But when she’s sleepy and wants to cuddle, she makes herself as small and gentle as possible. It’s like having multiple dogs in one small package.

      Reply
  13. Very cute!

    Reply
  14. In her pup days, my Zush would hang around with a few older pups, walk around with the stick(3 part stick=3 buddies) as though it were a maypole, and when tired, lay down and make toothpicks out of the stick… It was a hoot!

    Reply
  15. I believe that I will enjoy following your Blog and relating to your doggie tales. : )

    Reply
  16. I like chewing sticks too, especially big ones, but I’m not really allowed cos I end up eating bits and then I get a poorly tummy. Sometimes I end up with a muzzle on at the park where there’s lots of really tasty sticks. And I never get to chase them either, cos my vet said he’d seen too many dogs hurt by sticks (“impaled”, he said, or choking), so we have a lovely bright green rubber stick that I love cos we can play tug with it too! [@heatheralex says it is called a kong safestix]

    Reply
  17. Loved Both of em.. and over anything else, loved the way you love both of them – Keep Spreading the Love!

    Reply
  18. Oh my gosh, they are so funny. Taylor loves sticks but palm fronds are her passion. She used to collect them when we lived at my Moms, and put them all in a huge piles.

    Reply
    • See now, if I could get Cricket to organize her sticks things might be different over here. But her goal is to spread her things into the widest space possible, so that it all belongs to her.

      Reply
  19. Though sticks are popular in Australia, Frisbees also have their supporters.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: