World according to Nora the Schnauzer

Nora has a little different take on the wildlife adventures she takes with Don Davis, aka Bossy.

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Nora waits while lizards are photographed.

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Nora the Schnauzer's ready to go.

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Nora takes a rest on a recent excursion.

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A sage lizard basks in the sunshine.

I got mail!

An e-mail, addressed to me: Dear Nora!

Bossy read it to me.

Woof!

The e-mail said: "Every week we look forward to the description of your travels and the pictures your human takes while following you."

The "human" must be Bossy. I call him that, affectionately, because he is.

The e-mail also suggested that I get Bossy a bird book for his birthday or Christmas because "he struggles to identify birds correctly."

The mail came after Bossy and his boss (he says Darlene, dear) took me in the truck to see elk. They look like cows.

On the drive, Bossy made a picture for the paper of a golden eagle and magpies eating a wild turkey.

Then he called the magpies "blue jays."

Pretty dumb, huh?

Well, Bossy says, "Stuff happens."

He had confused birds before, especially raptors.

Now he calls them all "hawks."

When picture taking, though, he mutters "focus" or "exposure," more than "magpies" or "blue jays."

Sometimes he holds up the camera all day.

That's OK. I sniff for mice or voles while he clicks away.

He clicks, then he looks in the camera's little window.

One evening on Mill Creek, for example, he saw a big blue bird.

"Heron, and great light," Bossy said.

When it flew a little ways, we followed. This went on and on until Bossy said, "That looks OK."

The same thing happened when we saw a big white bird there the next day. "Egret," he said.

More waiting for me.

Once, in December at Mill Creek, Bossy said "swan" and stopped.

He stood there forever, and I hung around.

We barely got home for dinner.

Darlene makes dinner.

I like to be home then.

Soon after that, Bossy spent a long time pointing the camera at weeds near Rooks Park. "Preying mantis," he said.

He muttered something about "unusual in December."

Whatever, I thought, and headed down to sniff on the rocks by the water.

One picture Bossy really liked came when I flushed pheasants at Bennington Lake. I sniffed the bushes and heard them. They took off like crazy, six or seven.

One flew right at Bossy. Nearly bumped him as he looked into his camera.

Bossy smiled at the window and said, "Wow! Good wing shot." He rubbed my head and said, "Good dog."

Then, on a recent sunny day, we hiked to the white cliffs down on the Walla Walla River.

At a bank, Bossy said "lizards" and stopped.

"Oh, great," I thought

He pointed the camera at the bank. It had holes. He clicked the camera. He got on the ground and scooted closer and closer to the holes. He clicked the camera many times.

I sniffed around for a long time. I sat on the bank. Then I sat in the shade. Then I flopped on the sand and closed my eyes.

After awhile, I heard big clomps on the trail. I jumped up to warn Bossy. He didn't look up.

Then, two smiling Darlene-like riders came around the bank on tall cows. They spoke to me. They saw Bossy on the ground and pointing the camera about two feet from the holes.

He had sand all over his shirt and pants.

My face turned red. Well, almost.

He finally looked up as they passed and mumbled "lizards."

"Neat," one rider said.

Then two more riders came.

"A little dog," one of them said. "And a person lying on the ground."

Bossy said "lizards" again.

"Yes," a rider said. "Maybe we'll see them in the paper."

"Hummm," I thought.

Bossy finally stood, and we walked.

We stopped at the cliffs for water and treats.

He bossed, "drink this" and "eat this."

But, heck, that's OK.

That afternoon we walked to the cliffs and back. I dug in 12 vole holes, flushed 43 quail and 21 turkeys.

Bossy said, "Good dog!" when the quail and turkeys flew.

I love it.

And I love looking for elk and the e-mail that said: "Good luck in your future travels and keep your nose to the ground."

It ended with, "Warmest regards."

No wonder I like people.

Contact Don Davis at dondavis@wwub.com . More of Don's photos can be found online at www.tripper.smugmug.com .

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