Sunday, October 3, 2010

De-Leafing Puppies and Adventures in Sponsored Walking

Here we are again on a Sunday evening after another whirlwind weekend. It's a dreary Sunday night. It's been cloudy all day with the vague threat of rain. It actually just started raining but it's that slow type of rain that just dampens the world outside rather than make it wet. The leaves are falling a little quicker as they're weighted down with the dampness.

It means that the wet leaves will be easier to tread inside, especially when puppies are involved. Given that I spent the day cleaning my house from top to bottom, it's Murphy's Law that we get this rain that will allow my pups to bring the outside indoors merely by running around the garden.

Of my two puppies, it's Rory who I affectionately refer to as my "messy little sod." If there's a puddle, Rory will be the one in the middle of it. If there's a pile of leaves, Rory will dive. If there's a place to dig, Rory will be the one with dirt covering her from head to toe. Sookie is one of the perpetually tidy dogs. Even when she digs, the dirt doesn't stick to her. She doesn't get the leaves trapped in her coat the way Rory does and while she doesn't mind getting a little wet, she doesn't stick her head in my parents' fish pond the way Rory does.

Today, we decided to take an autumn walk over at the park we went to before. It briefly was sunny this morning and blue sky peeked through. It was at this time I decided we should take the walk. Naturally, by the time we got to the park, the sun had gone, the blue sky had vanished and the murky threat of rain loomed overhead.

Still, we walked. For a few moments. Then we suddenly saw crowds and crowds of people walking towards us. I'm talking hundreds of people, snaking their way along our trail. It turns out we had decided to take our walk on the same day there was some type of massive, multiple charity sponsored walk.

We bravely kept walking. It wasn't terribly fun. One of the reasons I take the girls to the park is because I'm trying to socialize them slowly with other dogs and other people. Sookie tends to be rather skittish around strangers and barks a lot when she's nervous. Today was a bad day to try to slowly socialize the girls. It was like being thrown in the deep end and hoping not to drown. At first, Sookie panicked. She woofed and ran around, frightened and worried. By the time we were embedded in the crowd, both she and Rory were clearly just trying to keep their heads above water. I'm all for charity and sponsored walks but it was a little frustrating because the trail is divided into two paths, one for people coming one way and one for the people coming the other. We were walking against the crowd but we were frequently bumped off the path of the trail so that we had somewhere to walk because at times there were up to seven people all trying to walk side by side.

Rory and Sookie were very popular. I can't count the amount of people who exclaimed, "Aw, look at the weiner dogs!" or "AWWWWWWWWW!". It was good for the girls' egos except I think they were just trying not to go mad in the throng of the crowds.

We finally got to the place we found last time we walked there. It's an outcropping over the lake that is a detour from the trail. I took the girls there and, thankfully, we were alone. I sat the girls down, made a fuss of them and gave them some treats and water. It seemed to really help calm them down. We waited until the passing crowd had thinned out and we started back up. We were lapped by some of the same people who'd already passed us but it was much easier after that. By the time we got to the girls' favourite area which is another trail bypass, we were back to being alone in our walk. Their favourite area is by another small lake. There's an actual walking path but we prefer to ignore that and, instead, cut through the trees and explore.

The girls were in heaven then. They found piles and piles of leaves in which to dive. There's a dried up stream that's full of rocks. We normally walk around but today, the pups had scented something and were on the hunt. They wanted to ford the dry stream so I let them. It's much easier for a puppy than a human, it seems. I had a bit of trouble on the rocks but we made it through.

Then Rory decided to dive into yet another pile of leaves. Sookie followed. Rory emerged covered head to tail with burrs. They clung to her ears, her tail and her belly. Sookie emerged...burrless. I tried to pick the burrs off Rory but a couple of them were tangled in the long hair of her ears and there was no way to get them off without cutting them out.

Still, by the time we were done, the puppies seemed happy. Their eyes gleamed with the thrill of the hunt and my own cheeks were red from the wind and the effort. It turned out to be a lovely walk in the end even if it was a bit of a nightmare in the beginning.

When I got home, I attended to Rory's burrs. I also untangled the leaves from her fur. Sookie, of course, had no such issues.

Now we're home on a wet Sunday evening. It's a perfect stay-at-home type of night. It's the type of night in which you want to curl up with two puppies, watch some TV and enjoy the fact that it's Fall.

Of course, I'll have to inspect Rory first to make sure she's not carrying any debris before we curl up. Oh, my messy little sod.

I wouldn't swap her for the world.

Happy Monday

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