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!

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