Changing names

I’ve always loved the special names people give their dogs, kennels and racing teams. Puppy litter themes that allow the rest of us to identify litter mates, mean so much to the namers - a special point in time, a feeling, a tradition, a pop culture reference. Team and Kennel names around us are fun, Howl and Hoon; strong, Cry Havoc; elegant, Norstarr; specific, Cartymal; and sometimes all of the above, Snowsteeds.

I’ve been searching for the right name for us for years.

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J called his original photography business Huskywatch, but I never wanted to be tied to a husky specific name. We also toyed with Running Dogs and Urban Mushers, but I ended up with Sixteen Feet as a joke about the pitter patter of 16 little paws. For a couple of years, that suited us quite well. Then things changed and they haven’t stopped changing, and probably never will. Since we started Sixteen Feet, we have moved house twice, three times, had foster dogs come and go, brought our Wee Loch Ness Monster and Lil Bunyip home, lost Ishka and Bolo, and now we’ve acquired Kit. We’ve expanded from sledding into skijor, then Rally O and hope to keep moving into obedience, agility, back packing and maybe even dock diving. I wanted a name that would stand the test of time - something elegant, strong, clear, not tied to a surname, a suburb or a breed, and not related to a specific number of dogs. 

I’m hoping Evenstride will fit the bill. 

 

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Being three is awesome... but also hard

Being three is awesome - getting taller means you can help yourself to what’s on the bench. Getting stronger means you can climb and run and jump and explore new places, even out of mum and dad’s sight. Getting more coordinated means you can ride your bike further, open doors and containers and take your shoes off whenever you want. Getting more words means you can tell people what you want, and what you think of they say no.

 Trying bikejorring with Lily last weekend.

Trying bikejorring with Lily last weekend.

Being three is also hard. Sometimes being able to reach the bench means touching something hot or sharp. Running faster sometimes means falling harder. Riding further sometimes means getting lost. And it’s frustrating when you’ve just spent ages getting your shoes and socks off and suddenly you’re told you have to put them back on to head out to the car, or you quietly get that fascinating container open and it gets snatched away. You’re expected to know lots of rules - don’t squash the baby, don’t play with your food, don’t get excited and be too loud, too rough or too bouncy at the “wrong” time.

 He hasn’t managed to unhitch the van... yet

He hasn’t managed to unhitch the van... yet

Being three means you don’t fall asleep so easily anymore, so sometimes you don’t nap in the middle of the day, which is awesome because that means more time to play, but hard because you’re very tired by the end of the day.  

 It’s much better when dad naps with you.

It’s much better when dad naps with you.

Being three is hard because you have lots of intense feelings. Sometimes you can find the words, sometimes you can’t. Sometimes it’s easier to just say no, rather than try something new and scary. And this is good because listening to your gut reaction and saying no is the right choice  sometimes. Learning that no means no is important sometimes. But saying no might mean that you miss out on really cool stuff. 

A couple of weeks ago, our Wee Monster said no to running in Pee Wees and we let him say no. He was very disappointed when he realized that he wasn’t going to get a Lolly bag afterwards. 

This weekend, he watched other kids on little rigs, and he watched other kids climb on their parents rigs. A friend kindly offered the loan of her new rig and we had some practice with it around the campsite. Another friend gave up packing up time to push Wee Monster around on the rig. And gradually he turned the no into a yes himself. 

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Being tall enough to stand up on his own in the rig is awesome. Being able to race with Mia and daddy against Czar, Bunyip and mummy was pretty awesome too.

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Czar and the Bunyip; dogs and babies

Our Little Bunyip is nearly 6 months old and watching him absorb the world around him, learn about his own body and what it can do, is absolutely fascinating. Watching the dogs interact with him is especially wonderful. Dog body language can be very oblique, but sometimes it is so clear. 

Czar, who we estimate is probably 11 now, has definitely decided that this baby belongs to him. He was never as interested in the Wee Monster as Ishka was and then Bolo. He demonstrates this very clearly, offering his proximity as rarely before.

Today, Little Bunyip and I were sitting on the couch, when Czar came up and leaned his long back on the edge next to us, clearly looking for a scratch. He allowed a small hand to bury itself in his coat, but when I reached for my phone, he took himself off to his crate.

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Little Bunyip watched Czar with great interest. I called Czar and he came back for more pats.

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Czar initially stood with ears back, keeping an ear on LB and me.

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Something drew Czar’s attention, and his ears flicked forward, but he remained relaxed.

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Czar turned and put his head into the reach of LB. He allowed those little hands to grab his face, without showing any moon eyes, teeth or making any noise.

I’m always so impressed by his patience and trust!

 Of course, he might have just been looking for crumbs!

Of course, he might have just been looking for crumbs!