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No camp this year

After much consideration and feedback from “Take my poll, please,” I’ve decided to skip this summer’s agility camp in Colorado. I really want to go. Yet, I’m torn. So, I took the advice I often give my single friends about relationships … “You either know, or you don’t.” Waffling, any on-again-off-again tendancies, signal a problem when it comes to love (and marriage). Maybe it’s the same with agility training, or any kind of dog training for that matter.

When I left my first-ever agility class in tears, I knew I wasn’t a good match for that trainer. Yet, trying to be optimistic, I stuck it out for a while. Doing so may have set a bad foundation for me and for Lilly.

The animal communicator later told me that Lilly did not trust this trainer, but I knew that from day one. Lesson? Trust my gut.

So, since I’ve been dragging my feet about registering, that tells me I’d best stay home.

Instead, I’ll use that money to arrange private or semi-private lessons, where the focus can be on Lilly’s specific needs. In fact, I just registered for a one-night speed and motivation class. Lilly may not even get out of the car, but at least I can go learn strategies aimed at her issues.

And, maybe next year camp will feel more like a love connection.

Mind your knees

Lilly molested a man in public last Saturday. While shopping at our local farmer’s market, she gave a grandpa-dude quite a shock by kissing the backs of his bare knees as we walked by.

He spun around, like “What the heck?”

Thankfully, he started laughing when he saw her smiling face. I apologized for her boldness, explaining it was somewhat uncharacteristic. Then, he asked if she’s like to visit his grandson, who rode in the stroller he was pushing. So, Lilly “poked” the baby. (That’s her word for targeting with her nose pretty much anything I point at.)

He giggled as her cold nose bumped his bare leg too. Then, she did a bunch of tricks for him, and we went merrily on our way.

Lilly has kissing fits all the time with me and with Tom. Out of the blue, she’ll just start kissing whatever she can reach. Lots of wiggling comes with it. This is the first time she’s done it to a complete stranger.

It’s like she has bursts of joy and the only way to relieve the pressure of being so happy is to lick something.

I rarely see it coming, but I sure wish I could figure out the formula. Maybe it would help in agility.

Then again, maybe she’d just run around and kiss the jump setters or the judge.

Happy Birthday, Lilly and Ginko

So, happy birthday, Lilly and Ginko.

This year Ginko will be 7. Lilly will be 3.

After our very old Dalmatian dieWe don’t really know Lilly’s birthday, but the humane society guessed (based on her teeth) that she was about 5 months old when we adopted her in October 2004. Counting back, that means she probably was born sometime in May. Since we do know that our big boy Ginko was born May 13, we decided to make life easy. d in June 2004 from kidney failure, all of us needed some time to grieve. Plus, Ginko was still recovering from bi-lateral knee surgery (TPLO, for those who know the lingo), so we didn’t want him running around too much until we were sure the bone had fused and the muscle strength was rebuilt.

Yet, it was a lonely summer for Ginko.

Come fall, we started searching local dog rescues for a new buddy – for him and us.

Shelters, however, freaked Ginko out, and every time we took him to meet potential pups, he got a little snarky with them. I was very discouraged. It seems all the time here in the boonies, all the time with an old, crotchety Dal did not prepare Ginko for meeting lots of strange dogs. (I realize now that I did a bad job socializing him. Live and learn!)

But, we really wanted another dog. So, thanks to my friend Connie, who is the director of operations at the humane society, I got permission to bring Lilly home to meet Ginko.

(By the way, the shelter was calling her Daisy, but my mother-in-law’s sheltie Daisy had died recently. I wanted to stay in the flower family, but my husband would not go for Poppy Anne, which I thought was *very* cute. You see, he could not get that Seinfeld episode where Poppy pees on the sofa out of his head. I looked through a flower book and settled on Lilly Elizabeth.)

Anyway, the deal was that we’d introduce them here, and if it went well, we’d return the next day to do the paperwork. If not, we’d bring her right back. You can guess what happened. ;o)

He snarked at her just once, then when he realized she happily ran around and played with him, he was sold.

He’s been a very good big brother to Lilly, and she’s an enthusiastic partner in mouse and vole hunting, swimming in the pond, playing fetch and all manner of other crazy things –like eating and rolling in horse poop.

So, on Mother’s Day, we’ll also raise a glass to our best, best friends – Mr. Ginko Cornelius Hawn and Miss Lilly Elizabeth Hawn.

The power of “NO!”

I stopped mid-sentence with my fingers poised above the keyboard when several things registered in my mind at once. Ginko was sprinting toward the upper pasture. The thing he wanted to chase was Lilly. She was outside the fence, sprinting low and hard toward the road. And … there were cars coming.

My emergency mode kicked in, and I screamed, “Lilly! No!” That got her attention and slowed her pace, so I followed with the most authoritative “COME!” I could muster, considering I felt like throwing up.

She stopped short of the road and began wiggling like a small hover craft toward our gate. (That’s her standard submissive posture. She does it any time she’s scared or thinks she’s in trouble.)
 
As I grabbed my cattle gate opener out of my car and ran up our football-field-long driveway, I saw the lure … our neighbor John and his new pup Charlie were outside. Charlie sometimes comes over to play. Lilly, it seems, decided to return the favor.

Out of breath, my heart racing from terror more than the run, I reached the gate to let her in.

I did not scold her. I just squeezed her tightly and cried. I was already having a stressful, deadline-soaked day. Utter terror did not help.

It’s a blessing that my husband got a new laptop today for his work. I happily took it outside to write. Had I been working inside in my south-facing office, I never would have known Lilly was loose to the east and running hard. She very well might have been hit by a car on the road.

After I finally stopped kissing her, I walked toward the back fence since that’s the last place I saw her before I settled on our front patio to write. She had been digging for voles. I thought maybe she’d accidentally made a hole under the fence.

Lilly followed, smiling, as I walked back to her hunting ground and asked over and over, “How did you get out? Show me.”

Seriously, the kid is an accomplished escape artist, but now that we have three of the four sides of our acreage stalwart with new fences, her wandering ways have stopped. (It helps that snow banks no longer top our fences.)

As I approached the 30-year-old back fence, I saw the problem. One whole section of wire was bent 90-degrees away from the corner post. A good 10-feet of boundary sat completely open, entirely unprotected. (… and what dog doesn’t see an opening like that and think, “Whoo-hoo!”) She likely poked around on the ranch behind us, until she saw Charlie.

It looked like someone used a can opener on the cattle fencing, but evidence pointed elsewhere.

Today our entire property is dotted big piles of elk scat. It seems members of the large elk herd that spends calving season near our home came visiting last night. And, they’ve been known to mangle fences during their spring-time stay.

If the tracks around the pond are any indication, they came to get a drink and to get some sleep.

I secured the section of fence the best I could, asked Lilly to please stay home from now on, and went back to work.

That was hours ago, and I still haven’t recovered from the scare.

Yet, I’m thankful for the laptop that got me outside at the right time. I’m thankful for Ginko, who is ever watchful over his baby sister. And, I’m thankful for the power of the well-placed (and rarely used) “NO!” which saved Lilly’s life.

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