Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Nine Lives

I think Benny is part cat.

I have several reasons which explain that notion. He's been known to play with small toys by tossing them in the air, much like his feline counterparts do with mice. He's a lap dog - any chance he gets. He loves to bask in patches of warm sunlight. He's curious as all get out.

And he seems to be working his way through nine lives.

Unlike most cats, Benny is very fond of the water. It was his penchant for water play that got him in trouble at Frank's family cottage a few years back - and where Life #1 was relinquished.

We took possession of our new home on the last day of July. Frank has been living here since then but I had spent most of my time back in the city preparing my house for sale and finally packing up to move here - which I have now done.

During Frank's earlier days here, he had our dock lengthened so that it would extend beyond the shallow portion of the shoreline, and he bought a boat so that he could pursue his lifelong passion for fishing. He had been so hungry for getting out on the water and hauling in walleye, that he has become the last one on the lake to bring the boat and dock in for the winter.

Overnight after my first day living here, the temperature dropped well below freezing to -15C (5F). The morning didn't warm up all that much and when we looked out through our living room window, we saw that the bay was frozen over.

1 Alex Ben
That's my son, Alex walking with Benny. He helped me get the last of my stuff up here and provided another familiar and comforting voice for the cats during the long drive up. He's a tough guy. His long hair was still in a towel after his morning shower and his jacket remained inside the house. He seemingly does not feel the cold. Note the boat stuck in the ice.





1 icy morning
After the towel came off, Alex continued to stay out in the cold playing with Benny. He's tough and nuts.

The ice was nowhere near thick enough to hold our weight but a certain little Jack Russell Terrorist has found that it's plenty strong to support him very close to shore.

Frank has been out there a few times, rocking his baby boat in order to create some movement and subsequent melt.

slight melt
It only helped open the ice up in one very small area.




snowy iced in boat
There had also been precipitation recently - both rain and snow and some accumulation of each in the boat. With the milder days and colder nights, his boat has endured melts and refreezes and ultimately enough ice for Frank to crack and break up into bits. Those kinds of bits are very enticing to a crazy little dog like Benny.

Frank cracked some of the ice from the bottom of the boat and gave them to Benny. After a while Benny just began helping himself to the ice chunks, allowing Frank to abandon ship and warm up inside.

ice chunk
Doggie-sized chunks of ice make a good chew toy.

It was then that Frank came into the house to do the obligatory annoyance that some little boys men feel compelled to do. He commenced warming his icy hands... on my bare back, underneath my shirt. After jumping a foot in the air admonishing him with mild expletives, he explained to me about picking chunks of ice out of the boat and handing them to Benny's waiting jaws. That was the reason for the cold hands.

It was not the sole reason for the cold shiver down my spine.

As Frank was telling me this, I happened to glance outside to see if I could see Benny doing his thing, transporting ice chunks from the boat to the dock. Something looked very wrong. The bit of open water surrounding the boat had grown larger and choppy, and there was a fair bit of broken ice, where moments before it had been smooth. One of those large white chunks was our Benny.

Frank and I made a mad dash out to the dock and onto the boat. He was only a few feet away with his head out of the water and and his front paws clinging to the ice in front of him. The rest of him was in the icy water. He was not overly distressed. Frank was hoping to avoid going in after him (it was only about three or four feet of water) and he quite adeptly took the rope which was tied to the boat and looped it around Benny's neck, causing him to fall backwards. I was ready to scoop him with the net but there was no need. Frank was able to tug him closer, reach into the water, take hold of his collar and snatch him up into the boat.

Crisis averted.

broken ice
This is how the previously-smooth, icy water appeared after Benny's impromptu dip. The white rope hanging from the boat is what Frank used to haul him in.

One crazy, shivering wet dog tore his way around the yard for a few minutes before we grabbed a towel and wrapped him up in it. He shivered so hard in my arms while I carried him downstairs to the propane stove. This is where his similarity to cats ends. He had no interest in lolling in front of that heat source. He continued tearing his way through the house, rolling himself on the carpet and sofas to rid himself of the excess moisture that the towel left behind.

He was fine. And like Frank said, he has hopefully learned something about the perils of ice. Frank and I had recently discussed our concerns about how he would handle ice during the spring thaw, after he would presumably spend a winter walking on water. We might all have a better idea of that now.

There's never a dull moment in Benny's life, and in my estimation, our little ice-breaker has seven of them left.

Next post will be one that I had previously scheduled and it coincidentally contains photos of Benny playing in the water late in the summer - back when water showed no signs of turning solid.

57 comments:

Lisa RedWillow said...

Thank God you saw Benny in the water and I know how that an be. We had a dog go though ice in a pond in winter and we got him out. Never did forget that. Your place is going to be wonderful in winter . Happy to read your getting settled.. and walleye is the best.

Karen (formerly kcinnova) said...

I hope that is Benny's only heart-stopping adventure this season! (I also hope he remembers it during spring thaw.)

Indrani said...

That was scary. Good you saw in time. The pics are great, but when placed in the story gives a different meaning to them.

Andy said...

The adventure begins. :-)

Bob Bushell said...

What a brilliant house you have there, and snowing. Great post Hilary.

Anita said...

Good story, Hilary--giving us a few days of adventure with you. Frank's "delay" in getting the boat in reminded me of many things that my husband has done. Reality seems to escape him sometimes. :)

I'm very happy that Benny was rescued and hope that you won't have to do that again!

And lastly, for a split second, I thought your son Alex was you! I thought, how thin she is and her hair is really long. :) Yes, he is tough and nuts to be playing outside without hats, gloves, a coat, etc. as I would be. But... he's young.

Out on the prairie said...

Hopefully he learned to stay clear , but the play in him may prevent that.

Hilary said...

Oh, dear God, I could hear that one coming, and I got chills myself.
Sweet, crazy Benny. I am so glad he is ok. I could imagine the two of you racing out to save him.
I hope Frank is right, that Benny now "gets it".

Midlife Roadtripper said...

I hope the rest of the winter isn't quite as exciting. Poor Benny. Poor you!

How great you are now at the lake all the time. Looking forward to seeing your year round photos of the water. Enjoy.

DJan said...

Thank heavens you were paying attention! I am so glad Benny is all right, Hilary. He's one of my favorite people! :-)

Brian Miller said...

oh my goodness...you had me scared there....iced over lakes...ugh....i was afraid he was going under the ice which would have been a whole other level of fear...

TexWisGirl said...

i re-read the dock episode. yikes! then reading this... he is a stinker! gosh...

Linda Wildenstein said...

Stars above, that is one lucky little dog that you two saw and rescued him. Hope he will remember the scare...enough to take heed. Crazy critter.
Your place is beautiful as I have said in the past. Looking forward to winter scenes from your neck of the woods. Oma Linda

Maggie May said...

Its so lucky that you happened to see Benny floundering. It will be tricky to keep him from doing that again. He sounds like he has a mind of his own, safe or not.
Glad you are settling in now.
Maggie x

Nuts in May

Red said...

I think Benny taught you a lesson rather than Benny learning a lesson. we think we are the masters but these little guys have us wrapped around their little paws.

ellen abbott said...

How lucky that you happened to look out when you did!

rosaria williams said...

Oh, he tests the waters all the time, doesn't he? I hope he has learned a big lesson.

Gail Dixon said...

Oh, that Benny! So glad that he was seen at the right moment. Can't get over the cold there, goodness gracious! Benny has a lot to learn as he navigates this new area. I'm sure you'll be keeping a keen eye on him. Bless his heart!

Linda said...

As I was reading about the ice and knowing Benny's penchant for playing in the water, I feared where this was going. So glad it turned out OK, and thank God you saw him. I bet his escaped took a day or two off your lives, too.

Theresa said...

He's a Jack Russell, he is thankfully hardy because he is also hard headed, stubborn and it will take just about 6 of the 7 lives remaining to learn that lesson. You either love a terriers perspective on living life out loud or you don't.
Glad all ended well, maybe outfit the little bugger in a full time life vest, at least they are a bright color...and have a handle!

Rita said...

OMG! So glad you saw him out there! He sounds like a little spitfire--LOL! Time to get that boat in! ;)

messymimi said...

If i may labels for my favorite animals when they do something absolutely crazy -- Benny, you are a nickel-wit! LOL

Daryl said...

if only our 4-legged babies would learn from their near misses ....

Kat said...

Oh no! That poor little thing! Thank goodness you saw him right away!
Well, hopefully he learned his lesson and this won't happen again.
So glad he is okay!

Stephen Hayes said...

A valuable lesson, and i hope Benny learned it well.

yaya said...

Jack Russell terrorist! Love that! He's one lucky pup...hopefully he'll be ok from here on out! This whole post made me shiver!

Tabor said...

Long before I got to the end of your post I was preparing to warn you about the dangers of small dogs and icy water...now you know! Be careful and keep and eye on him! I have a tale about a small dog who almost drowned in our bag yard...and if I remember I will post!!

Lisa Gordon said...

Oh my goodness, I am so glad that he is okay, Hilary.
This must have been so scary.

Kerry said...

omigosh. That was a very close call. I am sooo glad that you ran back out there when you did. Egads. You'll have to watch this boy very closely whenever the ice is thin.

Also: brrrrrrrrr! It's cold up there in Ontario!

Jackie said...

When I saw the link to the story of Benny's "first life"....I clicked on it and read. I have not been following you long enough to know about his earlier escapade. I then clicked back over here and read about his newest "adventure."
J.R.'s are definitely "B B's in a boxcar" dogs. He is soooo cute...and I am glad that you and your hubby were heads up on noticing that he had fallen through into the icy lake. Poor little guy...(and your hubby is my hero.)
Love being here....love your photos...love your story telling.
Excellent.
Hugs,
Jackie

Terra said...

What a shocking thing for you to see, and I am glad this story has a happy ending.

ADRIAN said...

He is one lucky dog. I think a large net would be a good investment.

Swati Singh said...

Spectacular pictures! Indeed, place looking cool and calm to walk..

Anvilcloud said...

TG you were looking out the window.

Dianne said...

I remember the first incident with a chill, this one gave me extra chills

thank goodness that you looked up when you did
oh Benny, you're a caution as my Nana would have said - a caution

glad all is good

ladyfi said...

How frightening! So glad to hear Benny is all right!

A Cuban In London said...

I can't wait to see the photos you will take when winter comes. Glad to read that you saw your dog at the right time. Great photos.

Greetings from London.

Linda said...

I hope you're right about those nine lives. I think Benny's going to need them. That WAS scary. And I went back to reread the post about his getting trapped under the dock, too. Those little JRTs just know no fear, do they? Or they have complete confidence in their humans to keep them from disaster.

Mage said...

Benny is going to make a wonderful book after you get settled in. :) Gosh, what an adventure.

Gary's third pottery blog said...

we have had some snowfalls too with A LOT more expected this week...but ICE ON A LAKE! OH CANADA! ;)

Jennifer A. Jilks said...

That is so scary. My Daisy likes the ice on the goldfish pond, but I've put some logs in. My ex-late father-in-law's dog died in the ice. It haunts me. A lovely Kerry Blue.
You take care in the cold.
Cheers from Cottage Country Ontario , ON, Canada!

Cloudia said...

I love that little guy!!!!!




ALOHA from Honolulu
Comfort Spiral
=^..^= <3

chariskalee said...

Glad to hear your little adventurer is OK!

Along These Lines ... said...

Newest member of the Polar Bear Club

Ercotravels said...

How much cool place! Nice photos and funny doggy..

Lady Lilith BloodCrave said...

Cute. Benny seems to have such a personality.

Shammickite said...

Crikey, lucky escape I think. Do you think mad dog Benny has learned his lesson? No way.... he'll still keep pushing the envelope.
Congratulations on finalising your move.... hope you packed lots of fleecy long johns!

Glo said...

Oh, Benny! What a chilling story ~ I've been shivering ever since reading this. I've also been humming Bennie and the Jets substituting Benny is a Cat! I'm so glad Benny is safe. Tearing around was a good way for him to get his blood warmed up again. That first photo of Alex on the deck is a crispy one!

Tammie Lee said...

never a dull moment indeed!

June said...

Yikes!
Thank God you saved the little guy!


Would it be possible to lay a net over the entire body of water so that Benny would be completely safe?

Linda said...

B-R-R-R! You picked a cold season to move! Well, I'm glad Benny is okay, poor thing.

Bossy Betty said...

Benny! Oh my goodness!!! Save the rest of those seven lives!

Barbara Shallue said...

Oh my gosh, my heart was in my throat. I'm so glad you warned us that he was okay before you told us what happened! And I'm glad y'all were fast to notice and get down there. (Also that Frank didn't have to go in the water!) It's in the wet, high 30's here and I'm freezing. I'd never last up there!

holdingmoments said...

Reading this Hilary, I just knew where this was going. So glad Benny's OK.
Scares like that take years off us lol

Michael Manning said...

Relieved that Benny survived that plunge! Hope you are enjoying your new home, Hilary. Stay warm! :)

Sandy Carlson said...

Oh, you are some hardy folks, and that Benny is your mascot!

Betty Manousos said...

yikes. thank goodness you saw him right away. this must have been so scary, hilary.

xx