My Facebook memories for today are full of Denali birthday posts (Andrew too, but I guess Denali is more photogenic lol). I can hardly believe she’s ten. We’ve been together since she was 9 weeks old. As I’ve been thinking about her birthday, I’ve come up with a few lists about my baby dog.
What she doesn’t like…
- Her harness. She’s had it for 8 or 9 years now. And yet, every.single.time. we go to put it on her, she backs off, runs away or has something to say about it. She doesn’t have the same response to other leashes. I think it’s because she knows the harness won’t let her pull and do whatever she wants.
- Smoke or steam. I was watching Lost back when she was a pup, so, in the winter, anytime she backed away from a car with visible exhaust, I called it her smoke monster. She doesn’t like to be around campfires. When Boogie Burger (RIP) was in the heart of Broad Ripple, Denali would get on the other side of me as we approached the intersection because there was smoke coming from their exhaust system. I mean, really.
- I guess this makes sense. A husky wasn’t made for summertime in Indiana. At my old house she would lay on the vents after a long walk or run. In our current house she finds the tile floor to help her cool down. She’s in a tough predicament – she loves walks, but the older she gets the harder it is for her to be in the heat. But, she loves walking more than she dislikes heat, so we walk (just shorter distances)!
- To be barked at. She is a sensitive soul. She only barks when she’s really excited – if someone she hasn’t seen in a while comes over or if she’s got a lot of energy and really wants to play. Otherwise, barking is not her thing. However, she gets barked at a lot and it appears to make her uncomfortable. Many times she starts whining when the barking starts – we talk about being brave and all that, but some habits are hard to break.
- Eating on a regular schedule. I’ve never known a dog to leave food in her dish for extended periods of time. In fact, sometimes she waits so long to eat that she gets an upset stomach and wants to spend a ridiculous amount of time outside finding just the right grass to eat and then throw up. This then leads me to do a ridiculous thing and feed her by hand so that she’ll.just.eat.already. The first few pieces of kibble she spits out. No joke. The dog spits out food. Eventually she gives in and starts eating. She’s an odd one.
- This developed later in life, maybe 3 or 4 years ago? When it thunders she needs to be as close to one of us as possible. In bed, on the couch – both of which are not usually allowed. She hides under Brad’s desk or my sewing table. I’m not sure why or how that fear developed, but it’s a strong one for her!
What she does like…
- Bananas, carrots, celery and peanut butter…anything with peanut butter! I’ve done a horrible job training her. But, I’ve trained her. I open the vegetable drawer in the fridge and when I turn around, there she is staring at me, waiting for a carrot. She waits for the last bite of banana. She waits to clean out the yogurt container. Maybe this is why she doesn’t like to eat her own food… 😉
- She loves people. People of all ages. When Rosemary learned to crawl, Denali followed her around sniffing her butt and trying to figure out what this little creature was. All of our nieces and nephews know her and trust her. When Brayden comes over, he immediately tells us that she needs to go outside. So, we put on the leash and he pulls her all over the yard – no protesting on her part, she just goes along with it. She remembers people and is excited to see them come to the door. Some of her favorite friends are Jake, Danny and my mom.
- Walking and running. She loves to go on walks. When she was younger we would walk miles a day – that’s what eventually led me to try running. I figured we could get more bang for our buck if we stepped up the speed a bit! In her younger years she would train for every half-marathon with me. The longest run was 12 miles! These days we keep it to walking – through the neighborhood, in parks. She’s content with the slower pace – more time to check out all the smells!
- Sitting in the grass. After she’s done her inspections, Denali loves to just sit in the grass and take it all in. Sometimes she’ll lie down, but mostly she keeps her head up sniffing the air, watching the birds and enjoying the outdoors.
- A chance to escape. It’s happened to me countless times. It’s happened to most people who have watched her for us. One open door and she bolts. It’s so frustrating, but I know it’s in her nature. She loves to just run around freely and pretend, for even just a moment, that there are no rules. Once she’s finally caught and returned home, she doesn’t care if she has to stay in her room alone all day… she just lays there panting and smiling like it was the best adventure ever. Which it probably was.
Denali is stubborn and a free thinker. She is independent but knows who to go to when she’s scared or hungry or wants to play or needs to go outside. She doesn’t like seeing suitcases. She likes it when she gets a visit from Jake during the middle of the day when we know we can’t get home right after work. She likes visiting with kids we encounter on our walks. She’s sweet and playful. She’s not as energetic as she used to be, but is often referred to as a puppy by passersby. She takes after me in that she looks younger than she is 😉
We’ve both grayed significantly in the last 10 years. More pounds, more bumps and bruises. But, we’ve stuck together through it all. She got me off the couch when life felt too hard. She made me laugh when all I wanted to do was cry. She continues to be the cutest.dog.ever and I tell her that every day. She’s my baby dog. Always. Happy birthday Denali!
And now for your viewing pleasure…