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Bruised Peach, 4" square, Pentel oil pastels on wirebound ProArt sketchbook. I can't believe this, I am still managing to keep up with daily art during the worst season of the year.

Today I also managed to write a new article for my oil pastels website, Artistic Risks, based on a post in the Oil Pastels Talk forum at WetCanvas.com -- a friend ran into that common situation of having a perfect sketch and being afraid to proceed with the painting.

Heh, remember that Sea Dragon sketch from 2004 still on its canvas because I haven't even gotten to doing the sepia value painting stage? Yep yep. But I wrote an article on busting through that block because I have broken it with many other paintings. Some of the problems with Sea Dragon are pure logistics -- setting up for oil painting, putting it on the easel, having my room clean enough for oils, cleaning up after the session... and working that large, which will take my having a really good day. I might get some progress on it come fall when the weather gets good.

Yesterday, Ayla jumped over the fence again. Unlike the other two times when Karl was home to go running after her and catch her, I was home alone. Kitten and Karl had gone out and taken the kids to a local park to play.

So there I was going after a vigorous large young dog who believed I was out there to play since I am not either of the people who train her or command her. I'm just one of the cats. I hole up in Cat Central and give her a pet now and then but chase her out when she comes sneaking in to steal cat food.

Ayla is faster than I am.

Ayla is stronger than I am.

The neighbors' kids banged on the door. I went up the stairs to answer, feeling the weather with my back spasming just from those stairs, and saw this nice kid next door looking up.

"Is that your dog?"

"Yes, that is our dog. Thank you." I set off across the small front yard.

Ayla wagged her tail, bounded, gave a big sloppy canine grin and bounded off, tail waving."

"No, don't go in there! She's going in Grace's yard!"

Sure enough, Ayla nipped in through the open gate into our neighbor's yard when I tried to corner her by the fence to our yard. I had only crossed half the distance to that open gate when she was halfway down Grace's yard plunging through what looked like a nice row of irises or tulips or something planted all along the fence.

I yell her name. I'm trudging along. My back goes. My hip starts to go. She gets to the end of the yard and will not stop, runs back and forth teasing me, runs away to their kennel where their tied-up big dog is laying in the shade watching with canine curiosity.

I chase Ayla around the kennel if it can be called chasing and some ten feet away from her remember that she got trained to sit. "Sit!" I yell, waving my hand and trying to remember the Sit command gesture. Total blank, I don't use it that often. I try two or three variations repeating the word.

She sits down in the weeds ten feet into the funny little area behind the kennel and thumps tail, looks up with doggy delight. "Good girl. Sit. Stay. Sit there. Good girl."

Walk over, by now lurching around worse than Boris Karloff as The Mummy pet her head. Happy happy puppy. Touch her head again. One step closer. Get a grip on the collar.

"Come on, Ayla, let's go home."

WHAM! Sixty pound dog trying to jerk free like a hooked trout. Gasping, choking sounds as she struggles against that solid collar, turning it into a choke-chain even though it's not. My right hand -- the weaker hand -- locked in a death grip. Dog almost pulls me over.

Brace my weight. Stand like a mountain. Throw my weight and haul that recalcitrant dog back toward me. We manage a step toward the yard away from the back of the kennel.

Thus begins the fight to reel in the puppy. She's a little over a year old but still has puppy mentality with full grown dog size. No growls, just the whining and the choking alternating with playful tail wagging, slobbering, sparkling happy eyes and lunges. The dog has mood swings every step.

She lays down in their flowers. Throw my weight again. Drag dog to her feet. Trudge.

I wrestled her to the end of the neighbors' very large long yard and by then I'm out of breath and shaking, struggling, switch hands, get strong left hand into collar because the right hand is about to go no matter what I do. More dexterity in the right, but almost human strength in the left. Both hands in collar. Drag dog out of flowers.

Kids wandered off seeing the dog was in custody and being hauled home.

The last bit all the way across our small front yard to the front door involved more laying down, more lunges, more struggles, I'm weakening every step and throwing everything I've got into it because Kitten and Karl would be heartbroken if this obstreperous mutt got lost. I find myself wishing I had a motorized chair to chase dogs with. Or maybe a steel Velociraptor cage to keep the dogs in so that I never have to wrestle them. My back has gone from spasms to numb and hip is giving signs of going down.

I shove the door open.

Dog nips in, tail waving like nothing happened but we had a nice outing, went walkies.

Ayla had fun.

Karl fixed me a wonderful Denny's style skillet dinner with potatoes, pork, cheese, onions, goodies in celebration and today when they went out, they secured Ayla on a long chain to something solid in the yard. No more runaway puppy while the disabled guy is in charge. It's Ayla's problem if she runs around the tree too many times and ties herself on a short lead.

I can't say I feel sorry for her. It took me about an hour to get my breath after that titanic struggle.

I am back curled up in Cat Central paying for it this morning, but we do still have two dogs as well as two cats and they've solved the problem putting Ayla on that lead. Kitten explained that context is everything for dogs. I was the wrong person in the wrong place. I don't belong outdoors. I don't give orders or take her on walks so she doesn't have to obey me. Um yeah right.

It was hilarious though that once she got inside she was perfectly sweet, good dog, did what she was told, went in the kitchen when I told her not to go in the living room. Inside the house, cats rule and she does what I say even though I'm the cat man and not one of the dog-leaders.

I thought it was funny, hope you enjoyed the story. And hope they keep Ayla on that lead every time they go out, because I really don't need to do this again!
Explore-Oil-Pastels-With-Robert-Sloan.com Articles at eHow.com, ETSY shop, My Bonanzle Booth, deviantART gallery, SFFmuse and look for art by robertsloan2art on eBay. Listed on Art Blogs 4 U
Proud member of the Oil Pastel Society
Interesting art blog: Patrick's Art Blog focused on realism!
New Topical Blog: www.robs-art-supply-reviews.blogspot.com for all the cool art stuff that isn't oil pastels!

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
faunhaert
Apr. 24th, 2009 02:41 pm (UTC)
how are you doing after the dog trampoline?

its great they've got the chain

don't know if critters are worth it somedays!

robertsloan2
Apr. 24th, 2009 02:49 pm (UTC)
Still resting up on day two after it, taking it easy. I got up early though, that was surprising and weird.

On my own I would never have gotten a dog, let alone a big dog. They take too much care, they take daily walking and I can't count on being able to walk every day. Aside from which, they take a certain type of attention to train them.

Cats take a lot less care. I suppose some of it is that the type of interactions that build a healthy relationship with a cat come easy to me and don't take any effort, while having to take charge of the dog does take effort. I think of cats as no work at all, but I do things for them and put up with things from them that would drive dog people nuts.

Some of it's just personality -- but some of it is also that dogs require a lot more physical activity. For most people this is a good thing because sedentary hobbies (like hanging out online) and jobs are very rough on abled people.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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Robert A. Sloan, author of Raven Dance
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