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A Boy, A Girl, and The Marine Corps: A Love Triangle: Puppy's Adventure

A Boy, A Girl, and The Marine Corps: A Love Triangle

"I cast my lot with a Marine and where he was, was home to me." ~ Anonymous.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Puppy's Adventure

I took Puppy to the park today.  It's not a dog park. It's a baseball field/BMX course/parks and recreation daycamp park. It also serves as the local Park and Ride for our Metro system. It's a decent sized park. It's not too small, but it really is only as big as a baseball field with a little extra grass.

The dog park in our area is really nice, but Puppy doesn't really love it. She's not interested in playing with other dogs and won't run around much. She just walks around and sniffs everything. Oh, and marks her territory. (Yes, I have a female dog that likes to mark. Weird, I know.) The dog park has also had a number of attacks in the last few months, one of which ended with the death of a little dog. When it's crowded, I'm just not comfortable talking her there.

So I take her to the park that is walking distance from my house. We walk there, walk around the park a few times, there's a little walk way that is the circumference of the park, and walk home. This weekend, my husband decided that we should start letting her run through the outfield off leash. We did this with moderate success. She will usually come when called. I say usually, because she won't come to my husband when he calls and she gets distracted easily, but, all in all, she is pretty good.

So today, I decided to take her there to let her off leash and practice her recall. For about 10 minutes I let her run in happy circles all around me. She pranced and sniffed and smiled the whole time. She loves grass and loves to run. She ran in circles, usually around me. Big loops and whirls that are nearly impossible to watch it so dizzying. I couldn't catch her if I tried, she is lightning quick. I would let her get a ways away and call her back, then reward her with a treat for coming. Each time, I varied how far I would let her get and the time in between calling her back. She did great. She would joyfully run back to me as fast as her little legs would carry her, smiling and panting the whole way.

It was better than I could have ever expected her to do. That is, until we saw the crows. In a small section of the park, just off of left field there was a small murder of crows happily digging for worms. Pups caught sight of them. She pranced around as if not interested and happily came to me when I called her. Then one of them took flight, and it was over. Her prey drive kicked in, she zeroed in on the crows and took off after them. They all scattered to the wind and flew away, but they didn't fly up in the the air, they stayed low to the ground. Pups was able to track them because of this. She flew as fast as they did across the lawn and into the parking lot. She chased them all the way down the road.

Picture this, if you will: A six pound dog flying after a handful of crows in a small parking lot off a major road. Me, the owner, wearing jeans and shoes not fit for running, chasing after her yelling, "Puppy, Come Here!" as loudly as I can, but as nicely as I can because she won't come if she thinks she's in trouble. She leaps through a strip of trees, to catch the nearest bird. I sprint after her, only to find out the other side of the trees is a hill with a soggy, swampy, bank at the bottom of it. It promptly sucks my shoe off. So now, I'm shouting, trying to get her attention, while trying to free my shoe from the mud while it's filling up with water, all while trying not to actually step into the marsh.

Once I freed my shoe, she came back on her own. The birds flew up into trees, unharmed and she was as pleased as punch with herself. She danced back to me all proud of her accomplishment. She had successfully chased the crows into the trees. I, on the other hand, am now covered in muck, with a soggy shoe, wet socks and jeans that are dripping with mucky water. I did decide to let her stay at the park. I tried to let her off leash, but she began ignoring my calls, so I put her back on leash and we walked the circumference of the park and back home.

She got a lot of exercise, which was the whole point of walking her to the park to begin with, so technically, I'm calling it a victory. Or at least a tie. I don't know if we will attempt the off leash thing again or not. My husband will want me to give it another go, but without him there to chase after her, I just don't know if it's all that good an idea. Besides, my shoes need to dry out.

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