(photo by Randall Wiseman)
Note: I apparently made the pictures too large when I uploaded them and when I tried to resize them within the blog, it's made them all funky. I guess I learned that it doesn't keep the aspect ratio, even if you drag from a corner. But since it took me a good hour and half to upload all this and write the blog entry, and I have a very bad cold and am not feeling up to doing any more tonight, anyone reading this is just going to have to deal with funky photos. If I get the time and the energy tomorrow, I will try to reimport all the images in an appropriate size. Gah! :End Note
Larky, Larky, you are one impossible, funny little dog. And you are most assuredly the CUTEST DOG ON THE PLANET. You were an adorable puppy and you're still adorable, even when you're playing mind games with me and making me think I've gone mad.... Lark is the first picky eater I have ever encountered. Where Laura likes to talk about Nick and his "not food," Lark takes it a step further to This. Must. Be. Poison. Just the other night I had gotten carry out from Wendy's. Lark was begging and begging a french fry off my housemate, so he obliged. Lark took it very gingerly and within a microsecond: Ptooey! Ejection onto the carpet. That's not food! That. Must. Be. Poison. Okay, at least until Twist comes along to try and mop things up, at which point the poison french fry becomes the BEST PRIZE IN THE WHOLE WORLD! Granted, it's still inedible as far as Lark is concerned, but Twist isn't going to get it no matter what. Okay, if we want to be charitable, perhaps Lark is simply trying to save Twist from a gruesome fate from the poison french fry. Except that I've gone through this with Lark over and over again. The best way to get Lark to eat? Just make sure there's a pushy gluttonous dog around who is willing to lurk and threaten to eat Lark's food. It's clear she's eating it only to prevent the other dog from getting it. How on Earth did I end up with a dog like this? Every other dog I've ever had has been a Hoover vacuum when it comes to food. So perhaps Lark entered my life just to test my patience when it comes to feeding time.
Lark has other quirks. She is the barkingest border collie I've ever known. But barking only happens when she's playing, so at least it's not all the time.
Lark loves poultry. Today while I was cleaning all the layers of old wet straw and hay out of the ram's stall, which is also where the big chickens perch at night and nest, Lark spent the entire time eyeballing a hen sitting on a nest. Once the hen had completed her egg-laying mission and vacated the nest, Lark went over to examine the fruit of the hen's labors. No worries, though. Eggs fall into the category of food that must be poison.
Lark likes to crouch on the bank to the creek and wait for me to say "Go, Larky, Go!" before she dives into the water. She also does this at the edges of ponds. Why she feels that she needs that special encouragement is beyond me, but it clearly makes her happy, so being the easily-manipulated human, I comply.
If a cat gets into my lap or under the bedcovers with me, Lark has to get right up next to me on the other side so she can put her face as close to where the cat is as is possible. She doesn't want to touch the cat, doG forbid!, but she's got to be close.
Lark is the only one of my dogs that has figured out how to jump through the stable window to get to the paddock behind. She doesn't do this unless I am out there doing chores, but if she thinks I'm ready to go feed the sheep in the paddock, she's through the window and holding the sheep off the feed bunk patiently until I get there.
Who knows what goes on in Lark's mind?
And why this special post about Larky. Well, it's hard to believe, but Lark was born three years ago today. At the time I had just two dogs I was trialing, Twist and Kat, and no youngsters coming along. My friend Kay, who had bred Twist's litter, told me about these pups when they were already a few weeks old. It was an accidental breeding, but the dam was very closely related to Twist. And when Kay said there was a smooth-coated, tri-colored female in the litter, how could I resist? Her mom's name was Scout, taken from To Kill a Mockingbird. I like bird names, obviously, but Mockingbird is a bit long by any standard and doesn't really roll off the tongue very well. So I thought a bit, and then seeing a Meadowlark on the wire above me, decided that Lark would be a fine name, with a double entendre. The obvious meaning--the bird, and the less obvious meaning--the fact that I was taking this puppy pretty much on a lark.
So here's what Miss Larky looked like at between 5 and 6 weeks old. She was impossibly tiny. And impossibly cute. She's still pretty tiny. And she's definitely impossibly cute--the cutest dog on the planet.
This series of photos was taken the week I got her home, at 6 weeks old. She came to me that young because there was transport available, and I was dog savvy enough to deal with a young puppy, not to mention that I had a houseful of dogs to help teach her doggy manners. It had hailed right before we went out in the yard for a photo shoot. What do you think she's looking at?
And walking up on?
Yep, my tiny flock of sheep: Coalie the dorper, the four border cheviots, and the two Scottish blackface.
In the following photos Lark is between 7 and 8 weeks. She was already enjoying trips to the pond.
Of course I never spoiled her. Here she is sleeping in her wicker basket.
She adored Boy, who didn't return the sentiment.
In May, when she was about 16 weeks old, Lark's ears started to do some amazing things. I've never seen an ear curl backward.
Calling her through on the shed. This photo was taken by Laura Carson.
Lark last fall lying on my bed and trying her best to ignore the camera.
So Happy Third Birthday Miss Larky Malarkey! I may never figure out your strange little mind, but I love, love, love you anyway!