Mornings in Vermont during the summer are wonderful. The outside temperature drops overnight to the low sixties and upper fifties. The air is crisp and invigorating. Since I’m an Old English Sheepdog, I have long hair. The cool air makes me want to run – and run – and run. Of course, I could only do that if I were off leash. Since James was still “leash training” me at seventeen weeks, I had to behave.
However, that didn’t mean I wasn’t allowed on the grass. In fact, James often took me into the field after the “training” period. There I could sprint to my heart’s content. Carrying on without a care in the world meant the morning dew would not only soak my paws, but somehow climb up my legs and onto my belly and even my back and face.
No, James doesn’t have any pictures of me soaked like a dishrag, thank goodness. Actually, it would have been nice if he did. Suffice it to say, the dew did a number on my puppy coat. It was that pelt that James hesitated for the first full year of my life to cut. As such, all summer he was required to dry me when we came in from our outings in the morning.
Nearly from my first daybreak at Skygate Farm, there was dew on the ground. Select towels were designated as belonging to me. They were, and still are, to be used when bathed or wet from the pond (I never did go in there when I was a puppy.), rain, or morning dew. At first it evolved into such a chore for James to dry me. I, on the other hand, thought it was great fun to play tug-of-war with the towel. Only James stopped drying me as soon as I refused to release the cloth. Oh, well, some people don’t know how to have fun. (Oops! I thought I was thinking that to myself.)
As it is, today I’m so good when being dried. I stand there allowing James to massage my back and belly with the towel. I lift each foot, one at a time, as he works the muscles and tendons in each, especially the area between my nails. I feel so fortunate to have someone like James take such good care of me. (Hey, where’s my treat? What do you mean my treat is in the drying? Oh, yeah, got it.)
Anyway, James wrote a poem about the morning dew and his frustrating attempts to dry me when I was but a young lad. I think it’s quite funny, and I like how it rhymes. Here’s that poem for your reading pleasure:
how I detest the morning dew
as I sit and simmer and stew
while it travels all over you
and covers my new tennis shoes
with soaked socks straight through
I’ve walked round in haste
and without a clue
we’re wet not from waste
it’s bad enough having to dry you
from top to bottom after it rains
but the damnable dew
is quite nearly the same
your legs and belly are soaked
your back and head are misty
your sides and neck are coated
with your pads downright steamy
you like the cloth masking your face
where it’s advantageously placed
to ensure it goes directly in your mouth
with me playing the devil to get it out
you struggle chewing the towel
as I try to dry your four feet
yet before you can cry foul
it’s rub-a-dub-dub and you’re neat
who knew I’d grow to despise the dew
something I’d never given its due
but now I do
because of you
soon there’ll be no strain
when this moisture becomes frost
until then tis my refrain
“all is not lost”
Truth be told, James still finds it somewhat painful to have to dry me nearly every morning we go out. I, on the other hand, take it in stride. What? Oh, he told me he takes it in stride now, too. If I could, I’d give him a treat. Since I can’t, I’ll simply put my face on his hand and kiss him with multiple licks the next time he bends over to tie his shoes.
Speaking of tying shoes, come back in two weeks and read about his shoelaces. That’s right. Those stringy things are so inviting to a puppy’s mouth.
We hope you’re enjoying reading the poems James wrote during my first year. Let us know your opinion in the comment section below. I always like to hear from you, so please feel free to leave me a note about this or anything else that’s on your mind.
Until next time,
Sir Oliver of Skygate Farm (you can call me Ollie)