White Dog gasped as we read the advisories to stay indoors as much as possible because of the incoming smoke from our first major wild fire (in the Gila National Forest). As 82,000 acres burn out of control, cities as far away as Albuquerque remained under a health alert until Sunday afternoon due to smoke from the fire, which has spread across the state. Residents were warned to limit outdoor activities, especially if smoke was visible. The haze hangs over parts of the city and at times the Sandia Mountains are barely visible.
But we didn't have to share the news. The rest of the White Dog Army had already smelled the fire as it crawled in through our windows and down the swamp cooler. They were nervous and thought the fire was much closer. Steve spent part of the morning out of doors and came home complaining that his eyes stung. The hot humorless wind which kept firefighters from containing the blaze in Gila brought no refreshment or relief to us.
Puff was having a hard time with coughing. With her pneumonia, further breathing issues were not welcome as we increased her medication to ease the congestion. Nuka, too, had breathing difficulties. She is our allergy-prone pup and wheezed and backwards sneezed until she received a decongestant. Quinn was in a state of heightened nervousness; his instinct to hide from the fire smell made him cower in odd places and cling to Steve like glue. We humans are watching closely to react quickly should Quinn have a seizure (paws crossed, not).
We curtailed the usual trip to the Park and car ride choosing a stay at home day that minimized health risk to the senior members of the WDA...and to me. White Dog and YoYoMa understood but still they missed the chance to run and stretch their legs a bit.
Tentatively, we will meet Dragon, Sen-ge and their humans early Sunday morning for a brief jaunt at the park but it will totally depend upon the air quality conditions...and unfortunately, Puff, Nuka and Quinn may have to stay home and guard the Ranch.
This is barely the start of fire season so we are worried that this foretells of a rough year. Meanwhile, all of the national parks and state wilderness areas have a no fire ban in place over the weekend...even the city has asked for people to avoid charcoal grilling and bonfire building as they celebrate.
As the holiday weekend continues, the White Dog Army asks that you be careful and stay safe. We remind you to remember the four-legged heroes that have served our country with valor and who are still considered equipment to be destroyed when retired.
And yes, we also wish you a wonderful celebration of family, friends, sharing and freedom...the things that make this country great.