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Sunday, December 4, 2011

Venus and The Garden Fairies, Written by Nori Goodhue 12/4/2011

About Venus
Venus is our little princess, a 3 ½ year old female Keeshond AKA “daddy’s girl”. Venus is a retired show dog, absolutely loves agility, retrieving her favorite ball (yep! That’s right, you throw it – she brings it back, for hours….), playing Frisbee, catching flying discs, and she simply adores Garden Fairies!

Depending on her disposition for the day, Venus displays different personalities. We haven’t resorted to calling her Sybil since this has such a negative connotation. What I mean is – Venus can be as gentle as a lamb or she will protect our fortress with the determined dedication of a lion. She will roll over belly side up when you give her the command “show me your belly”. She will dance pirouettes when given the command “do a lap”. She’s graceful, agile and cuddly….all the “warm and fuzzy” that a Keeshond can offer.

At the other end of the spectrum, Venus is our first alarm system. While we do have a home security system, Venus walks the perimeter and if a squirrel so much as looks like it’s coming into the yard, she is the first to warn us. No home alarm system does that…only Venus can alert us to the potential emergency of a squirrel burying an acorn or walnut in our yard!

Jiminy, our male Keeshond, only becomes vocal when chicken is involved as the reward. He never lets out a peep, be it someone walking past the house or that indiscriminate squirrel happening to walk along the top of the privacy fence. He simply watches closely – totally out of character for the breed. Not a peep – unless of course he wants his chicken, then he will move mountains with “his voice”. Apparently squirrels don’t taste like chicken – that’s all I can figure. LOL

Springtime at The Goodhue Ranch
Winters in Michigan abound us with lots of snow, which we all know that Keeshond absolutely love since they are a northern breed. Their love of snow is second only to their love of being on the water since historically that was their purpose….protecting children, providing companionship on the Dutch barges.

In the spring, my husband and I begin our annual ritual of spring clean up around the yard – opening the pool, cleaning out the flower beds of the leaves and such that were blown in with the winter winds. This is the time of year I look forward to most – being able to hang out in the yard with “our keesies” and not having to bundle up in a parka and snow pants anymore, at least until next winter.

After the yard clean up is completed, it’s time to bring out the hummingbird feeders, wind catchers, windchimes…and yes, the garden fairies! These whimsical yard ornaments are strategically placed throughout our flower beds among the many types of clematis and other perennials and annuals. I love puttering around in the yard and enjoying all of the signs of spring.

Venus and Jiminy are in a peaceful, solemn, relaxed state all the while I’m working in the backyard. They rest in the spring sunshine, Venus close by, Jiminy in his favorite spot “up high” on the ceramic tile table where he can keep cool and see everything. Life is good. Occasionally throughout the day as they see me digging out a weed that has miraculously grown in spite of the winter weather (how does that happen?) or while digging a place to plant an additional flower to the garden, Jiminy and Venus decide that they intend to “do their part” in being helpful. Yes, “digging” is the key word here – right alongside me my two amazingly smart fur kids decide where another flower should be planted….LOL! Of course, they stop the instant I give them the command….not! I proceed to wipe off their feet and give them a “timeout” while I finish the planting and placement of the garden fairies. The completed project is delightful…time for some much deserved lemonade and a break in the coolness of the garage.

Who Let The Dogs Out?

While I’m in the garage enjoying my lemonade and a much deserved break, my husband Gene has completed his springtime tasks in the yard. He’s gone into the house to wash up a bit and join me with his choice of cold beverage….yep! a barley pop…LOL! As he comes out of the house, he invites Venus and Jiminy to come out and take a potty break and bask in the springtime fresh air. Gene joins me in the garage and we chat about our additional plans and projects that we’d like to complete for the season.

What’s that? It’s so peaceful, serene, pure tranquility. Wait a minute….it’s waaaay too quiet. Venus hasn’t let out a peep. Really? Not a single squirrel to protect us from? Hmmmm…..something is amiss!

I walk out into the yard to check on Jiminy and Venus. My first image is of Jiminy lying on the table in his favorite place. He’s all relaxed in that “frog dog” fashion, back legs sprawled out, head and chin resting on the table. He doesn’t move a muscle when I come out through the garage door…just opens his eyes and sees that it’s me and then closes them again.

As I round the corner to check on Venus, I’m presented with an image that makes me laugh so hard that it brings tears to my eyes! She has collected every single garden fairy out of the flower beds and they are encircled around her in the middle of the yard! Some of these garden fairies are bigger than she is!!

This is a game for Venus. Day after day she carries the garden fairies out into the yard to be with her and I put them back. The moment I’m not within her sights she will carry them back into the yard to be with her. I’m not sure if this is a motherly instinct thing for her, if she thinks they are toys or if she does it for the attention. Clearly I reinforced the behavior by laughing about it….but I can’t help it! Honestly, wouldn’t you have reacted the same way?

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