Posts Tagged ‘rescue dogs’

Today, we did something spontaneous. In my world, “spontaneous” means that my husband asked me on Friday if I’d like to do this little trip. I have to plan for spontaneity. I can’t just drop things and do something fun because it might interfere with being responsible and downright boring.

He interrupted me this morning while I was planning out everything I needed to take (and hence, I forgot several items) and asked, again, if it was Okay to do this “spontaneous” thing.

This “thing” was going out to hunt for morel mushrooms. The only thing spontaneous about the trip was I decided to take Harvey along. Harvey is a pain when we go hiking or camping, mostly because he has no woods-sense and just follows his nose. He runs off.

I figured hunting morels would be easier than hiking: short leash and slow walking. I was right. Harvey loved it and he was so good on his leash (except when I wanted to take a photo of something). He did tend to want to follow my husband and his dog everywhere, but if they were out of sight, he was zoned in on his environment and all the smells. We climbed over tons of dead fall, so he may be sore in the morning, but it was worth it to see how happy he was.


I didn’t find a single morel. My husband found a dozen, very fresh, ones – enough for an appetizer at dinner.

010I found this very cool sculpture by a Pileated woodpecker (large, rectangle holes).

036I found a California tortoiseshell butterfly.

013Beetles having sex.

065Lots of orange gelatinous fungi.

Harvey and I also scared up a pair of elk. I only saw their tail ends as they trotted off, but Harvey caught a whiff of them. Everything he smelled, he got so excited about: his tail wagged nonstop, even when he was tired and just wanted to lay down on the grass.

074He did the most un-Harvey thing ever: he waded out into Bear Springs creek without any coercion – belly deep, even. This is the dog that hates water. I just stood on the little foot bridge and waited for him.

072Bear Springs picnic area is one of my very favorite places. It’s a natural meadow, surrounded by a mix of evergreens. You can stand in the center and get dizzy, staring up at the trees that encircle the meadow. Very few people come in there, even though there’s a highway just beyond the trees in the photo.

075I think it is one of Harvey’s favorite places, now, too.

004Just check out my very happy English Setter.

Epilogue: it’s almost a ninety minute drive one way, over the Cascades. Harvey didn’t even get car sick. He pretty much rocked the day.

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Something happened tonight that gave me a little more insight into Harvey’s psyche. It wasn’t pretty. I mean, Harvey’s memories are not pretty, not the events or Harvey.

We were watching a movie (“Buck”, if you must know – made me want a horse again. Like I ever quit wanting a horse). Harvey was being a good dog: stretched out on his bed and snoring peacefully.

Murphy was being a pill. Don scolded him a few times, but he kept it up. Then he got into the trash. Well, Don got up and scolded him severely (and raised his voice) and ordered him to his own bed on the floor. Really just routine dog ownership stuff.

But not to Harvey. He freaked out. He tucked his tail and made as wide a berth as he could around Don and Murphy and headed for the dark hallway where he shivered and lay down.

Once Don got Murphy settled into his “time out”, we both tried calling and coaxing Harvey back. No dice. I had to go get him and with my hand on his shoulder, gently guide him back to his bed in the living room.

We finished the movie, but Harvey was still acting “off”. He needed extra pats and soft words, which both of us gave him. He did make up to Don and he’s up here in the studio with me and he is finally calmed down.

Someone beat this dog, and they beat him severely.

This dog craves love and attention. He loves to be brushed. He loves to have his chin scratched. He hasn’t a mean bone in his body, but he does have some broken ones.

He has never reacted like this in the two years we have owned him. Tonight, some dark memory was triggered and he relived an event or series of events that left him damaged, mentally and emotionally and possibly physically. Suddenly, a lot of his past behavior is falling into place in my mind.

When we traveled last spring, he often became quite frantic and I had to sit and hold him until he calmed down. He needed to be told he was a good dog, over and over and over. When he ran away last summer, he had this terrified look in his eyes whenever I got close to him. When I finally caught him and we walked home, he had enough time to process the walk so I never had a chance to understand that look in his eyes.

Now I think I understand. He was chased and beaten. Maybe he was beaten for running away. He was hurt. I wonder if that was when his tail was broken? His back legs show signs of having been damaged somehow: I wonder if that was when he got hurt? Whoever did this to him, hurt him a lot.

I think it has a lot to do with why he sometimes eats frantically, as if he is not going to have a chance at another meal. He’s afraid he’s going to be kicked around.

Don felt bad. He was just scolding Murphy. Murphy is over it in ten seconds. “What? I got in trouble? Oh, that was SO ten seconds ago!”

But Harvey took half an hour to calm down, and he was not the dog being scolded!

I told Harvey that there’s a special place in hell for people who do that to dogs. Or any other living creature.

A little more of Harvey’s “story” has come to light. I am reminded, once again, how fortunate I am that he has come into my life. I’m pretty sure that if he could process thoughts in a human way, he would feel the same. He is presently stretched out and snoring peacefully.

I hope I never meet the person who owned Harvey before me. I really, really hope that for their sake. Because it won’t be pretty.

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