Sniffing Around the Neighborhood

“Court of Mysteries” on Fair Avenue, westide Santa Cruz

“Court of Mysteries,” west side Santa Cruz

I took a sniff with my people along West Cliff Drive. The wind was whipping the scents up into the air, but a little rain was pushing them back down, good smells, dog postings.

This story, if you can call it that, will be mostly in pictures. Sometimes I get irritated about words. Words are overrated. Images are more direct. Smells are even more profound. I’ve marked this laptop a few times but the smells just don’t stay on the blog. I need some technical help with that. This isn’t a story but kind of a snap shot of that rainy morning, minus the urine.

We sniffed past this place called the “Court of Mysteries,” an eccentric brick castle with really tall grass. (Click on the photo to see it bigger. But you still won’t be able to smell it.)

A car built like a Pembroke Welsh Corgi, a lowrider.

A car I kind of like, a lowrider, like me!

Check out this low rider car. It had sort of a face, with a set of teeth at the front, a brow, a nose and was very low set to the ground. Ideal shape, a good car for a Corgi. Oh, crap, well I can’t drive. Keys allude me, among other things…(My human must have liked this car, I’m just playing along.)

There’s also, for some reason, a side view of  “my” low rider car. And now a whole bunch of photos mostly of stuff we saw and me smelling stuff the humans didn’t want anything to do with.

side view of low rider car

Side view of that lowrider car.

Buddy digs a hole at the beach

Buddy digs a hole at the beach

Then I thought I saw my buddy Buddy. He was too intensely focused to look up. Here’s a close up. I wasn’t exactly spying on him…I’m not a creeper, but here’s a candid shot of him enjoying a good dig.

Then I realized that it wasn’t even him.

Buddy close up shot

Buddy close up shot, ooops, not Buddy.

Come on let’s get moving.

Come on let’s get moving.
Ranger sniffs more pavement on the sidewalk

This pavement is so wonderful. Just try it. You never try it.

Then I sniffed. A lot. Did I say that already?

Okay, just a couple more photos and I’m off to micro manage that horse.

Let’s go….(loud sigh!) Wooooooof now!
Keep Moving Your Mind, Keep Moving. Move!
—Ranger the Corgi

Intense clouds

Threatening rain brings out the best pavement smells

Analyze, scratch and sniff the spot

Analyze, scratch and sniff the spot. Remember to ignore the tugging on the leash.

And mark it!

And mark it!

Yellow ice plant flower in the rain

Yellow ice plant (aka “Magic Fingers”) flower

Hey guys, got that biscuit?

Hey Uncle Snack Pocket, got that biscuit?

Better angle on this maybe

Keep moving your mind.

So, now what? Where should we go!?

So, now what? Where should we go!?

Got Cows?

Sunol Regional Wilderness—Off Leash, Spring 2012
or Got Cows?

Ranger the Corgi at Anna Jean Cumming Park.

The biggest ball I ever saw. From Anna Jean Cummings, aka "Blue Ball Park" in Soquel, CA.
Photo: Linda Huffman

I’ve been wondering, as I stare at the keyboard and then at my paws, remembering that I can’t type, what should I blog about? So many things have happened in the last months. I thought about writing about vacation abandonment. Because (yes, don’t start a sentence with “because,” but because I’m a dog I can) this Winter I was left for many confusing days with strangers, I mean friends I hadn’t met yet, while my supposedly devoted people, Elise and Jeff, flew off to Hawaii.  My Aunt Linda cared for me and took me on walks. The neighbors, Don and Lucy, helped care for me too. It takes a village! Thank you village people! I don’t know what I would have done without your care! Thank you Sienna for sharing your home. I owe you a chew toy!

When my people got home they were tan, smelled like tropical flowers,  and acted like nothing had happened. They didn’t even bring me a t-shirt. Well, okay, I don’t want a t-shirt. But they could have brought me something. Hawaiian Ono jerky? A desiccated puffer fish to hang in my dog house? A hula girl holding a dog biscuit?

I have been overwhelmed with topics for blogging and underwhelmed with time. But here were some of my subject ideas: Things I marked on “Blue Ball Park” excursions (see photo above); Rolling in exquisitely aromatic dead things (dead whale, dead squirrel, dead slug); Rolling with friends on lawns; When rolling goes wrong; Mannerly butt sniffing 101; On leash, off leash—you be the judge, as usual; And, finally, What’s all this talk about “big boy surgery?”

Linda carries Ranger the Corgi on the trail.

Use Corgi mind control to get the humans to carry you the last mile of the trail. It really works! Photo: Charles Yaryan

Before I get into my main topic, Sunol Wilderness trail hiking in the Springtime, I’d like to share a few random thoughts. (Why not? I’m a dog.) When my humans were in Hawaii and Linda cared for me she got lots of photos, of me, of course. This is one of my favorites. I like to call it merry-go-round, the etiquette of “saying hello.” Move slowly, be delicate, don’t leave anybody, or anything out.

3 doggies sniffing each other

The etiquette of saying hello. Photo: Linda Huffman

Charles got a few good shots of Linda carrying me when I got a little tired. All I had to do was sit down on the trail and give her sort of a baby look. “I’m a tiwerd wittle puppy who can’t go on. My paws are so dry. I think there’s a piece of gravel between my toes.”  Well, there’s a picture of that somewhere around here (above I think). I suggest this method to any dogs reading this blog who just want to be carried that last mile of trail, like a prince. It can be done. You can motivate these people with your mind! Just plant yourself, exert your will, and give them “the look.”

Finally I decided on my main topic: “Sunol Wilderness—Off Leash!” or as I’ve titled it “Got Cows?”
Sunol is a great place for a hike in the Springtime. It’s so green, so big, you can go leash-less, and you can find cows!

Sunol walk with Ranger the Corgi

I'm the leader. Off leash and loving it.

That’s me ahead on the trail. I’m a good leader. I’m under “voice control.” Well, usually I’m under voice control, but sometimes I really don’t hear those guys. Not at first, but then I do and it’s that annoying yelling “Ranger! Ranger, Come! Now Ranger! Come!” Their faces get red and they march over like I’d just urinated on their television set. (Not a bad idea by the way.) “Okay, okay, don’t get all worked up about it. I’m coming, I’m coming, just let me finish this sniff for Christ’s sake!”

In the photo below you’ll see me and Jeff. Jeff’s on the road, way in the distance. He’s just a tiny little speck. But I hear him calling.  “I’m coming Jeff, I’m coming. I hear you…get the biscuit ready. I’m coming.”

Ranger the Corgi on the path at Sunol

"I'm a tiwerd wittle puppy. Pweeze carry me."

Later I found a beautiful pelt of some kind of cat or something, desiccated, slopped over a tree stump, in nature. Ummm….yummy. I was just starting to gnaw on it, when I heard: ”Ranger, Ranger, Yuck. Oh Jeeze!” They pulled on my collar so fast it made my head spin.

After I recovered from being yanked away from my treasure we kept hiking on a path that goes past “Little Yosemite,” dogs aren’t allowed down there, or swimming, but I’ll bet it in the Summer both those things happen.

Then we walked up a hill and around a bend and look what I found?!

Cows! Oh Joy, I love the turn of their ankles, the smell of their breath. They are fantastic creatures. I’m going to see if I can get closer. Got cows? Yes, yes, I think we do.

Cows in the distance

Ranger the corgi approaches cows in the pasture

Look Mom Look! Real cows! What should we make them do?!

Wow, well, we walked right up to them. I recommend that you do this. They are wonderful animals just waiting to be told where to go. That’s me! I’m supposed to tell them where to go. Oh joy!

Meanwhile my humans decided to snap a couple of portraits. Now I’m going to wrap it up because I’ve run out of things to say. We have to go and boss a horse around now. We make sure he gets some food and medicine, then we pick at his feet and walk him around. I’m his motivational herder. Later we put a blanket on him, toss his poops in a big tub, and stuff him back in his stall for the night. It’s my job to help.

Elise and Ranger on the trail at Sunol, CA. Photo: Jeff Grubb

Ranger trots towards the camera on the trail

I'm coming, I'm coming!

Ranger off leash goes ahead on his own.

Here I am, over here, going 'round the bend.

I’m sorry I haven’t blogged in a while, but I would love to hear from you. Are there any topics you wish I’d cover? Do you want me to go back to obedience school and write about it? Do you want me to try and talk about all I’ve learned herding, about the art of herding sheep? Should I be more altruistic and become a therapy dog? You know, give back to the community?

There’s shot here at the end that Elise took, of my end. It’s humorous, they think. I’m lying down under a chair, but my butt is hanging out. I didn’t want to post this one, but they convinced me it was cute. They make me do a lot of things! (They’re pretty bossy.)

humorous, we think, Ranger the Corgi under a chair.

Under the Chair

And finally here’s a shot from Blue Ball Park at sunset. I like this one because the moon is stuck in the tree. I’ll end with the sunset. That seems like a pretty good idea. Please sniff back around here sometime. I’ll return in a few weeks to tackle a subject of your choice.

Also a special “woof woof!” to my sister Valentine in Nevada! Someday I hope I meet you.

Licks and nose pokes, Ranger the Corgi

Sunset at Blue Ball Park