Sunday, November 21, 2010

Hyperbole and A Half

My Mom absolutely loves to read this blog and begged me to post this for all you doggie parents out there.  Enjoy!

Dogs Don't Understand Moving

In Which Jaxson Pretends He Is Evil Knievel

Oh my goodness.  Cricket, Kai, and I took Jax took The Field today for the first time and had a grand time running about, chasing one another in turns.  Tongues long, we three regular attenders bounded down to the creek in our usual spot and Jax padded along behind.  We skittered down a huge fallen tree just above the water line and made it to the sandbar in the middle of the creek.  Becky, Kai's mom, climbed up on this fallen tree that arches 6-7 feet above the creek.  Kai and Cricket love to climb trees and have followed her up there several times.  She readjusted the Ziploc bag in which her treats were kept and all our ears pricked.  Cricket ran up and I tried to follow but Jaxson ran under my legs and knocked us both off into the water.  I pulled myself out of the creek just in time to see a blue merle flash charge up the tree past Cricket to claim a prize.  Jaxson!  Mom called him back down with a treat in hopes of getting him away from the tree but he would not hear of it.  He ran up and down the tree several times, collecting treats at each end, even after Becky climbed down.  

Jaxson the Wonder Dog
I also have other photos that haven't been posted yet, so I guess I'll do that now...

Duppin Bridge

My first backpacking excursion, at Three Creeks.  My pack was filled with towels, so when I took a dip in the creek on the way back, my load suddenly became much heavier!

In the Branches at Gans Creek

Saturday, November 20, 2010

One Collar to Rule Them All

Jax and I are watching the Lord of the Rings trilogy and so tomorrow we are resolved to play Frodo Bigguns and Samwise Sheltie on a quest to save our Grindstone "Shire!" 

Pack of Four

Cricket and Courtney are back!  So now Jax can run with a dog his size;)  All handlers and dogs have ventured out on the new trail that Longtail Patrol, Division 3 had discovered earlier this week, along the High Ridge and over Duppin Bridge.  It's the best trail ever, secluded and varied in terrain and animal life.  We see lots of birds at particular junction where forest,marsh, and creek meet--often a blue heron in the morning and once a kingfisher.  I have several favorite swimming holes (even in this colder weather) and run swiftly through the creek, lapping water as I go.  Mom fancies me a noble dog of Bretagne legend or Rosemary Sutcliffe novel when she sees me do this.
Today, our pack of four climbed a fallen tree.  I was even able to do it since it was a much wider tree than the one we'd previously tried.  Mom was exceedingly proud of me, and of Jaxson--he had no reservations about leaping onto and off a tree 2-4 feet from the ground in places.  Jax must have been feeling his oats after this, for he led the charge onto the sandy beach and led us on several merry trips through the brush before Kai took the lead.  To top it all off, Jax even went into the water of his own accord to get a drink for the first time ever!
Crossing the creek again in between the Capen and Quarry bridges, we had a beach party!  I initiated a game of Chase the Dog (me!) Who Has the Stick and everyone joined in for quite some time.  All in all, a most enjoyable outing:)

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Jax here!  Spur and I just realized that we have yet to post in November, so here I am.  We will be in our third week of classes--he in Rally and I in agility.  Spur's class is after mine so I get to watch.  He and Kate have been working diligently on their finishes and turns and I must say that they have much improved.  The left 270 is still rocky sometimes--Spur often finishes the turn first  and tries to spin in a 360 before Kate is done:)  Enthusiasm!
Anywho, my agility class...Kate was very worried about me at first.  Hand targeting, I see now, is one of the basic agility concepts but I just didn't get the point of it for about a week.  It was not until I began to follow her hand to the tunnel that I finally got it and now I'm a pro!  I can also target off a lid, too.  Our first class was overwhelming--there are 6-7 dogs!  My best friend is Pocket, a Soft-Coated Wheaton Terrier puppy and fellow show dog.  We talk and exchange sniffs in between runs.  Kate says that we have seen that kennel at shows before. 
My second class went much more smoothly:)  I was actually excited!  I trotted through the tunnel and folded-up chute with my tail high.  I chatted with Pocket and tried my best to calm a VERY bouncy Samoyed puppy named Nala.  Vicki, our instructor, was pleased with us.  Mom told her about my little frog toy with the pocket for treats and Vicki recommended that she put it on a string and let me chase it.  Since Mom has been sick, we haven't had a chance to try it out yet, but I think I will like it.  
We've also had some new toys recently.  Howl-O-Ween toys are on clearance at Petco and Kate saved back for us the last of a plush pumpkin tug toy.  It's AWESOME!!  Spur and I wrestle over it and since it's four feet long, its tail perfect for pouncing on as the other dog runs off with it.  We also got a new jack with squeakers in all 6 ends!  Kate just pulled that out of the toy box today and we have had quite a run-around with it.
Since Kate has been sick, we have been hiking infrequently.  She has a nasty cough and Spur is quite concerned.  He keeps an eye on her at all times and checks each times she coughs to see that she is all right, resting his head on her pillow and looking up at her with big brown eyes to make her smile.  It's worked fairly well thus far and Kate is feeling mostly better now.
I went to a place called Grindstone for the first time today.  Spur says that he and Kate went there all the time when he was little and that there are other dogs there sometimes.  I like it because there are no burrs!  No burrs mean no combing for me afterwards:)  We took the left trail--Spur's favorite.  I must agree that it is the prettiest trail we've traveled.  Kate says that it runs along the creek through a "riparian border zone"--hence the variety of trees.  There is also a small marsh and in it we found a large grey bird with long legs and a big yellow beak.  Kate calls it a blue heron and says that she's seen it there many times before.  The trail runs just along the edge of the creek, sometimes crumbling into it.  Spur says that Kate saved his life along one particularly treacherous cliff when the water was very high in spring.  Two creeks meet and swirl below a eight foot bank, close to the bridge at the other entrance.  When Spur was small, he mistook her looking out over the water for the new direction of their hike.  He ran out and slipped down the muddy slope onto a tiny patch of bank at the edge of the swollen creek.  Kate laid on her stomach and reached over but could not reach him.  Spur began to panic and whine, jumping at the bank and trying to climb but to no avail.  Each of his attempts only served to erode the bank he was on and bring the water closer and closer.  Kate was starting to panic too since the water was moving so quickly and would pull him into a huge bank of dead brush, where he would certainly be trapped and drowned.  She kept trying and trying, praying.  She tied his dog leash to a tree and leaned over as far as she could, calling to him and encouraging him to jump.  Spur gave it one last go and Kate managed to slip her fingers under his collar and haul him up the bank and on top of her.  She held him and cried before they continued the two mile walk home.
I confess that my fur was standing on end by the end of this story.  Spur assured me that they never take this trail after rain and they have also discovered a detour around the perilous place they take every time just in case.  Our hike, however, was splendid and we ran into four other dogs with whom we exchanged pleasantries and played.  I'm glad Kate and Spur know all the trails; we zigged and zagged all over the place until I had no idea which direction we were headed.  Spur took us to the Chimney Tree, where he says he shall play the role of Macbeth's dog when Kate and her sister want to make a film of the Scottish play.  Spur says that there is a very special place Kate and Maggie go to, a place they call Scotland.  Spur says that he has only been there twice, once as a puppy and the other time early this summer.  Brit is the real expert, he says, and so when we visited Faurot this afternoon I took the liberty of inquiring further.  Brit says that Scotland is not very far away and full of great landmarks.  It has its very only Lightning Tree and a windy creek full of fish and frogs and cast-off treasures: a shopping cart, tires, feed sacks, a pink flamingo, etc.  A tangle of branches along the creek serves as the Weird Sister's shelter and their is a hollow tree on Flamingo Cove in which all three of us could fit.  Dunsinane and the Iron Gate stand at one side of the valley and the Two Trees of Meeting on the other ridge and all manner of trails run in between.  Brit also says that there is a ghost hound that runs there at night!  Her name is Kris, Brit says, and she belonged to Kate before Spur.  Scotland was Kris' favorite place in the world and she and Kate hiked there right up till the end.  Sometimes at night you can hear her bay on the trail of a rabbit and she leaves tracks by the creek...  Spur and I can't wait to check it out!