Friday, December 23, 2016

The Secret To a Good Dog and Unexpected Joy

Ragnar and I complete a 10k run and 2 mile cool-down walk
On our first full day dog-sitting our granddog, I started us off with a long run. I figured that an energetic, young puppy could do a lot of damage unless he was exhausted. I intended to exhaust him.
Here we are starting off on our run.

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As you can see, he is full of energy, tugging for all he's worth and squirrels are like crack cocaine to him. He cannot resist them. So, I ran faster. After mile one, here he is.

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He is still pretty energetic, and squirrels still are a definite danger to my frozen shoulder and healing surgical site. However, he is panting harder, and I am noticing a distinct loosening on the pull of the leash. We move on to mile 3.

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I am just hitting my stride, as he is beginning to realize that you don't stay in shape for long distance running if all you do is sprint after squirrels. By Mile 4, he is not as certain as he was early on that squirrels are worth any effort anymore.

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By Mile 5, he is POSITIVE squirrels are not worthy of any effort, and he is beginning to wonder when his real owners will be returning. The ones that like to sit on couches. He sure hopes it is before Mile 6.

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Mile 5 is coming to a close, and the human clamped to his leash seems to be showing no sign of stopping anytime soon. He is now dragging behind almost as heartily as he was pulling ahead at the beginning of this saga. He hears that human say something about, "Just a little further and we will have finished a 10k." He doesn't know what that is, but should he hear those words again as she approaches with a leash, he will know to skedaddle.

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Then, after mile 6, we did a cool down walk. I let him sniff as much as he wanted during this part of our jaunt together. He glanced at squirrels, but didn't seem very interested in chasing them anymore.

We walked into the house. First he raced to the water bowl, and drained half of it. Then, immediately he did this:


I rewarded him by mixing chunks of feta cheese in his dry kibble. The bowl of dry kibble had evoked little interest.


That was not the case once the feta cheese spiced up his meal. Maybe this gig is not so terrible after all....


After his long nap, he sat on the top of the stairs off the back deck, surveying his kingdom.


Wonder of wonders, there are dogs in all sides of the fenced back yard, and all of them are converging on a noisy corner.

It took him a little while to dare to approach all those yappers.


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But finally, he worked up the courage, and found out that they were indeed noisy, but friendly. He spent the next hour playing in the corner with them, and thinking it was maybe okay if his real owners enjoyed a few more days away.

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My two dear dogs died within a few months of each other, both shortly after I was diagnosed with cancer. Frankly, I had more pressing things to deal with than considering how much I missed my dogs. Strangely, I find myself weeping about their absence now...months later. I guess I just didn't have the emotional energy to fully mourn them then.

I am not sure I want to deal with the stress and responsibility of a dog anymore...but I have to say, God has given me  unexpected joy with this pup during my first Christmas with no kids coming home.


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Psalm 43:3-5 

Send out your light and your truth; let them lead me; let them bring me to your holy hill and to your dwelling! Then I will go to the altar of God, to God my exceeding joy, and I will praise you with the lyre, O God, my God. Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.

But the meek shall inherit the land and delight themselves in abundant peace.

The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.

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