May your heart’s desire be close at hand this Valentine’s Day!
That’s right, the Little Prince is five years old today. He says he doesn’t feel a day over four.
He’s had a busy summer, like the rest of us: entertaining the family, swimming, playing tennis, chasing birds, barking at things that inspire him. For his birthday dinner he had chicken and pasta. Don’t tell anyone, but he also enjoyed a drip of his namesake.
We actually took a day off on the Fourth of July. We watched tennis from Wimbledon in the morning, went to a barbeque in the afternoon, and came home just in time to watch the fireworks from our patio. Okay, I cheated on the “day off” thing long enough to take photos at that point!
Now, the Fourth is definitely not Tinto’s favorite day of the year. Although our neighborhood is pretty much firecracker-free during the day (thank you, Lake San Marcos Security!) we have hillside seats for the best fireworks display in North San Diego County come nightfall. People even drive up to our street from the flatlands to get a peek at the festivities.
Tinto, however, does not approve.
As a matter of fact, the flashes and the noise literally scare the you-know-what out of our otherwise intrepid terrier. Rescue Remedy, unfortunately, does not keep me from having to follow in Tinto’s wake with Nature’s Miracle once the Grand Finale is over. Axel took the poor little guy into the most boom-resistant room in the house and turned up the tv, which helped enough for me to grab my camera and get in a few minutes of photo-play before the sky show was over. Rest assured, Tinto’s fine. By the time the 10:00 news came on, he was bringing tennis balls to us for tossing. Which I did, in between processing this batch of photos.
Here’s the inside scoop on these photo (I know you want to know!) No, there was no tripod involved. It was either run back into the house, grab it, set it up and miss more of the fireworks, or just wing it. I did lean the camera on the patio rail at times. Yes, there were some experiments in post-processing done on some of them… but not all!
Click here to see the whole gallery at a little larger resolution.
Between book designing, painting, World Cup, and the spring dressage scene here in California, I realize that Tinto has been missing from my blog scene for a while.
To his fans, Tinto sends his regards. And expects a cookie, please.
As you can see in his pictures, his coat is in the “sheep” phase. People keep commenting on how big he’s gotten: I just reply that underneath all that hair is the same skinny little dog. He’s wearing his collar on the last hole right now because his fur is so thick. And I know it’s time to clip him because when it’s warm he stops playing his version of Tinto-ball after a few minutes, and usually you have to pry him off the thing when playtime is over.
So welcome to Tinto’s day: first we chase the ducks off the studio roof. They come up from Lake San Marcos, hoping for something besides pond water. For about a week our pool cover was stuck in the open position, and the ducks thought that our pool was their personal spa…. Let’s just say I was glad that the water was too cold to swim in anyway. Then there is napping in the studio or office, depending on what’s on the work agenda for the day. Eventually lunch happens, and then there’s more sleeping to be done. When the mail comes, we go on “the cheese leash” to the mailbox: he will follow any command, including sticking to my ankle and paying no heed to birds, lizards or fascinating smells, when I say “heel”, as long as I have a piece of cheese in my hand.
Then there’s playtime with the Big Ball (see below) unless Axel and I play tennis, in which case Tinto is the “ball dog.” I kid you not, he retrieves every ball that hits the net or the fence, then deposits them in a pile under the chairs. No, we did not teach him this. The balls get a little moist, so we have to play with two cans at a time. The only problem is when he starts to go after balls that are still in play. He doesn’t understand the difference between a ball that’s about to flop into the net and one that just puffed over…. You know, the one that I’m racing full tilt for until the Projectile Terrier snatches it out of the path of my racquet. But those are rare. We have Tinto rules when he’s on the court, and you’re always allowed to call a Doggy Do Over.
One of these days we’ll play when someone else is around with a camera. Until then, you’ll just have to use your imagination!
Fans have been asking, “Where’s Tinto?”
Tinto joined me this weekend for a photo session at Kathy and Tom Pavlich’s Shadow Ridge Equestrian Center in Highland, CA. While I was photographing lots of beautiful horses, assisted by my pal Sharon Fibelkorn, Tinto was being hosted by Kathy and Tom’s golden retriever, Maggie.
It got hot that afternoon. When we were finished photographing, we humans took our shoes off and cooled our feet in the pool. Tinto, who won’t go swimming unless his people are in the pool, took that as a cue to leap into the water…. and then refused to get out, except to run to the edge and leap back in again. And again, and again. Even Maggie, whose pool it is, just sat down and watched him, amused.
On Sunday, Tinto and I stopped by a dog show near us in Vista, where Tinto’s “grandmother,” his breeder Kit Marks, was showing some of her Cherry Creek stars.
Of course all of Tinto’s cousins looked fabulous, with their stripped coats and perfect coifs. Tinto felt a bit out of place, having let his hair grow for the summer while he was at “camp”. As luck would have it, Kit’s groomer, Shari Halldane was on the premises prepping the terriers. She worked some clipper magic (we don’t strip him) on TInto, and voila! he looked like a Lakeland Terrier again:
Tinto thought it was quite exciting and fascinating to go to a dog show. According to him, it was a big dog party, and kind of a canine gallery of good smells. And he loved talking to his cousin Jocie and meeting other dogs that looked just like him… But he told me that he’d rather go to horse shows, where he doesn’t have to stay in his box all day. So we went home with out new hairdo and went swimming, of course!