Saturday, October 23, 2010

The Exchange Student

Hello!  My name is Jaxson.  Spur tells me that I can dictate my message to Kate since I've never typed with my paws before, so here goes.  As I've said, I'm Jaxson--Action Jaxson to my family back at Grand Paws.  I live at the wonderful kennel where Spur was born and where his doggie mom and two siblings still reside.  Since we shelties lose a good bit of our luxurious coat this time of year, I'm not on the show circuit and I get to stay with Spur and Kate for three months or so and be trained in the Way of Agility.  The other shelties have told me about it and Spur speaks of it quite highly, so I'm sure that I shall enjoy it.  I start class in a little over a week at the Columbia Canine Sports Center!!
It's been quite adjustment since I arrived on Thursday.  I felt more than a little hesitant to leave my mom Adrienne and climb into a strange car for a three hour car ride.  My nerves (and something I ate before--some fur?) got the better of me and I did lose my lunch about 20 minutes out from Columbia.  Kate put Spur in her bedroom and let me get used to the house for a few minutes.  When he did come out to say hi, he was a wild crazy thing!  I do enjoy playing with him, but I have to tell him to be gentle every now and again.  Luckily, I know how to deal with Beaucerons--I rock back on my hindpaws and grab their face in my paws and give a small but eloquent growl: "STOP."  I have had to remind Spur several times now that my esteemed person is not to be used as a chew toy.  He can be a slow learner.  Kate helps by timing him out every now and again and now he's pretty good at backing off with just a voice command.
Seeing that we were both quite wired from confinement, Kate whisked us back into the car to go hiking.  And here, dear readers, came one of the strangest but coolest things ever: a seatbelt harness.  When Kate first put it on, I was not entirely convinced that I could still move.  Some treats and coaxing later, I managed to walk stiffly down the front steps but still had to be picked up to get in the the front seat!  Kate says that I am the perfect size to ride SHOTGUN!!!  I curled into a ball of anxious fur at first, but now I LOVE IT!  The comfy seat, the sturdy harness, the breeze in my fur--bliss!  And that was before the hike...

Me and Spur on our first hike
So much for being freshly bathed...I looked like something blown in from the Scottish moors within the first mile.  Kate kept me on leash while Spur ran loose like a wild banshee back and forth through the woods, chasing squirrels and bringing sticks.  I stayed on Kate's heels like a shadow at first, wondering to where we would be wandering.  Apparently it's one of those journey-not-a-destination things.  When Spur would breeze by, I would pluck up my courage and sally forth ahead for a few steps--until the scenery changed and then I would stop and let Kate go ahead.  It was all so new!  I peed on everything vertical object I could find and accepted treats with Spur when he responded to Kate's recall.  A high-pitched "PUPPUPPUP" will turn me on a dime now:)  We finally left the brush and reached a bigger forest with a relatively open area below.  Spur jumped over every log in sight and I tried to follow--it usually takes me two hops to his one jump.  But I was beginning to get the hang of this hiking thing and ventured out in front more, trying to follow my speedy Beauce friend.  We turned around after romping in the forest for awhile and ran part of the way back in short bursts.  My little sheltie legs were working overtime--good thing I have a nice extended trot!  It was all I could do to climb back in the car.  Kate says that both Spur and I were completely passed out on the way back home.  
That night, Kate left Spur at Faurot and took me to Petco while she taught a puppy class.  I behaved quite well if I do say so myself--was very quiet (too tired to be otherwise!).  And so I was awarded Petco mascot status and allowed to come to work with Kate and Spur when they work.  I love the adoring crowds and how they have flocked to me when I trot down the aisle to a potty break--it never fails!
I think that I shall like this new hike/Petco/riding shotgun routine:)

Action Jaxson signing off for the night!

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