September 7, 2009
I told you about my long trip back to Albuquerque and that Penni said she didn’t ever want me to leave again. Well, I thought that meant we would just play a lot. I was so wrong!
I got home on June 8th. That weekend, we went out tracking. It smells so good outside in the fields. We also tracked on a sidewalk, and a parking lot, and through landscape rocks. When I’m tracking, I find lots of things that Penni has dropped. She is very careless. But she’s also very grateful when I find her stuff and she gives me treats. My favorite time tracking is when it’s Adrienne’s scent I’m following. I love her because I can reach her face easily. She gives such good hugs! When I find the things Adrienne has lost, Penni gives me treats.
On Monday night (I’d only been home for a week), we went to Intermittent Obedience Class. A lady called Rosemary told us what to do, and I tried to do it – I really did. I learned to lie down and stay for a long time, and to sit in one place for a pretty long time. We did some things that I’d learned in classes before I went to Sherri’s in March, but Penni wanted me to do them the same way every time. Don’t you think that is a little boring? This isn’t feeling like much of a vacation!
Most days, I have to go to work with Penni. There are other dogs at her office building. When I know they are outside in the grass, I act like I need to go outside. Penni stops working and takes me out – and there are my friends. I usually get to play with them for a little while before we go back in the office. Penni and I do what she calls “Doodles”. She jumps up from her chair, grabs some cookies and says, “With me.” Then I run to her side and we walk around furniture and the desk, we turn in different directions. When she stops, I’m supposed to sit right down lined up next to her. She wants my ears at her knees. If I do that, I get a cookie. Then we walk around the office again and she says, “Drop.” When she says that, I hit the floor. Sometimes she has me stay and she walks around me, sometimes she has me go back to a sit, sometimes we start walking while I’m still on the floor. Every once in a while, Penni will turn really fast and tell me to “come front”. I like that the best because I can look right into her eyes and smile at her. She always smiles back.
We are learning what Penni calls a “Swing”. It’s hard for me to turn around in a little circle and end up with my ears next to her knee, but, if that’s what she wants . . . When I do it right it’s worth a cookie and lots of petting. I graduated from Intermittent Obedience and we started another class right away. It’s harder because we do something else every few steps. Penni talks to me the whole time, but I have to really watch her because otherwise we’d go in different directions. It’s called Rally. Is this sounding like a vacation to you?
The best part of the summer was when I sent a FedEx box to Phoebe. Because she opened the box, we’re going to have puppies on September 21st. I hope I don’t have to share my food with them, but they can play with some of my toys.
I don’t want you to think I’m having no fun at all. Inca and I play. We race through the house and fight over the toys. You wouldn’t believe it, but in my yard there are apples falling from the sky. You can eat them, but you can also roll them around and toss them in the air. Inca’s getting a little porky because she eats the apples while we are at work. Penni picks them up and puts them in bags and takes them away, but more fall from the sky every day. No one in my classes believes me when I tell them that’s where apples come from.
When I’d been home for two months, we went to a match at a park. Penni and I did Rally even though we’d only been in the class for a few weeks. Penni says I’m a natural. We also hung out with a lady named Lisa for a “Test”. She wandered around leaning on a metal thing with wheels. I stayed on the ground and then came when Penni called me. I sat with Lisa while Penni hid behind a tree – that was pretty silly, don’t you think? Lisa and some other people milled around me, and then I had to be polite when someone came up with a dog I don’t know. The only hard part of this “test” was when Lisa was being nice to me. Janet (you remember Janet from when I was in Topeka), told Penni that if I “sucked face” I would flunk. That means I can’t jump up and lick people – bummer! But, anyway, I did alright on the test. Penni said I earned a CGC. That’s a good thing, I think.
After we’d gone to the new class – did I tell you it’s called “Rally” – for six weeks, there was a practice show. It was at a place with a dirt floor. There are horses in pens next to the place with the dirt floor. I know about horses because G-Ma Shelley has horses. But, anyway, Penni said we were entered in Rally Novice. So, Penni and I did a whole routine with the signs and arrows all over the place. The judge said I did everything right, and Penni didn’t make any big mistakes. That was fine with me. I like to make Penni happy.
What I didn’t understand is that Rally is like a dog show. You have to go to a bunch of them and do the same things over and over. If you do them right you get pieces of paper and shiny material. That’s sort of irrelevant to me . . . but if it makes Penni happy, I’ll go along.
A couple of weeks ago, Penni left late at night and when she came back, Phoebe was with her. Phoebe is really fat and smells differently than Inca does. Penni rubs Phoebe’s tummy all the time and says the same thing over and over again (it’s just like Rally). She wants Phoebe to have an easy whelp (a what?), healthy puppies, and mostly girls. Girls are good – I really like girls! It’s fun to have Phoebe here. She and Inca hang out together when I’m with Penni. We eat apples together. The only problem is that Phoebe takes my toys. She puts them in one of the dog beds and she lies on them. When I come to get a toy she growls at me. I can fake her out by bringing her an apple, but I leave it far enough from the bed that she has to get up. When that happens, I run in and grab a toy.
We’ve just had a holiday weekend. It wasn’t time off though. On Saturday, we drove up in the mountains to a little city called Los Alamos. We went really early in the morning when it was still dark out. We stopped at a park and found lots of dogs there – oh, and show rings. So, Penni and I did Rally. We got a couple of shiny ribbons, but no food. If I did a good job (like everyone said), why would I not get treats? Then the next two days we went to dog shows in Albuquerque – that’s where I live – at the dirt arena. Penni and I did Rally on Sunday and today. She said this is Labor Day and I’d say that’s true. I did very well again – you all know how hard I try to be good – but no one gave me any treats. I got more pieces of shiny material, people took my picture. Today they gave me a squeaky toy. I brought it home and Phoebe took it away. I’m the one who did ALL the work! Penni says I now have a new title – RN. Maybe I’ll get a treat later.
So, that’s how I spent my summer vacation. It hasn’t been very restful. I do like hanging out with Penni, so I am trying to be a really good boy. I want to keep doing things with her.