My dog Junior. A Belgian Sheepdog as considered by the American Kennel Club. Known as a Belgian Shepherd in Europe. The black variety are Groenendaels, a short hair version are Malinois (a favorite of the US military and also used by the US Secret Service to guard the White House), and a brownish, longhair version called is called Tervuren.
Junior is a purebred dog. His sisters are competition champions. Had his ears remained erect, he may have been too and eventually led the life of a gigolo. We’re glad he had faulty ears and was able to come live with us.
The weather has made dramatic changes. The night before this photograph was made Junior and I were walking in the rain at a balmy 57F. Donned by old waxed cotton drover’s coat and headed out in a torrential downpour completely unprepared. With only a ball cap for protection the water poured down my neck, followed my spine past my ass and down my legs to quickly fill my boots. On the outside the rain soaked my leather gloves and the exposed bottoms of my jeans. A wide brim hat would have saved much aggravation.
Still, it was a magnificent night to be alive and walking in the rain. I let Junior off the leash and he pranced around as we walked through the neighborhood and into the park. Lessons learned about how to dress. And one about the iPhone 6S — when it’s pouring rain and your hands are wet — you can’t answer the phone. The touchscreen is worthless.
When I arrived home about midnight the temperature had already been falling. In four hours it had dropped from 57F to 11F. The rain turned to snow and we woke to an icy, white world. Junior prefers the snow to the rain I think.
The past two mornings have been frigid by central Pennsylvania standards. Single digit temperatures with snow and ice. I’ve fully acclimated to the winter weather now and march through the garden as the dogs race about. Some new merino wool long underwear arrived from LL Bean that’s helped make the cold a pleasure. The winter doldrums have given way to something new. A little excitement to be out in the world.
Once the ice clears from the roads it will be time to ride again.
Lily, Junior’s niece, loves the snow. She pretty much loves being outside in any weather. Lily, or The Hammer as we affectionately call her, is a rough and tumble brute of a dog. Don’t let her lithe physique or smiling face full you. While she’s gentle with people, poor Junior takes punishing body blows from her even though he outweighs her by 20 pounds. When they play ball, if Junior manages to get the ball (usually only with my help since she’s lightning fast) she pursues him relentlessly until he gives it up. And if he doesn’t quickly surrender the ball she’ll begin the body blows. Junior puts up with her antics. But as she’s found out a few times, other dogs take that behavior differently.
As I write this post at 3:30am the temperature hovers at 5F. The dogs are asleep and I’m drifting away.
Thinking of Belgian Sheepdogs.