Friday, May 29, 2009

Running with the pack

Yet another wonderful day to behold and a day of fun to remember. Jennifer, John and his brother Benjamin invited Pea and Chap to a day of running wild with the pack. Jennifer is my daughter and John is almost her better half, though I'd argue which half is better on any given day. They both are bleeding hearts for dogs and have a pack of four as a result. Daisy and Duke are brother and sister and were rescued as puppies. They are such an awesome pair and comical to the observer. Duke, white with black spots, walks to his very own tune, this drummer is one that is rare; he is a seventy pound lap dog among other things. Daisy, black with white spots, is the alpha dog and is bird dog to the core as she loves to run and investigate everything, to her detriment most times; she is quite a thinker too. Taco and Rocket are their other two pooches and I've discussed them in a previous blog. This was Sweet Pea and Chap's first introduction to Daisy and Duke and on Daisy's home turf. So I loaded up the dogs and unfortunately I forgot my camera... so the memories will have to serve for the visual.

A trip to the country is not that far away for this pair of suburban dogs. Our house has a lake and a dock and a bit of land, just like the house in the country but yet there's still the excitement of going somewhere special to run. Uncle Barry's house is nestled way back on a long winding dirt road in a thicket of wilderness woods. There are driveways along the road that are lengthy like their own roads but lead directly to a house. As we arrive at the homestead there is a level acre field of fresh cut green grass with a line of trees dividing the road. Behind the house is a pond edged by tall grass and woods; there's a path or logging trail head.

Chap and Pea are the first to arrive and watch the truck load of dogs disembark from their tailgating travels. Chap is yet to master his social skills and we all keep a watchful eye on his interaction with Daisy and Duke. As sure as mountain water runs cold, Chap has found himself in a tiss with his new friends. He just can't resist the growling and macho dog behaviors as each time the pack runs, so goes he, and the running provokes the macho man. Jennifer disposed of him twice and I twice more by putting him down to the ground and making him submit. Though our attempts seemed futile at the time, he finally got the message that it's better to be social and play than to be forced to lay on your side and watch a fun day go by; much less the humility of other dogs standing around watching you get punished.

Once the lesson was over we decided to go for a walk on the trails. As we were dispatching some of the dogs were already running back from a quick swim in the pond. There's an open field on the other side of the pond whose entrance way is the top of the dam. As we approached, the dogs were already enjoying a romp around the pond and at times diving in from the dam for a swim through the cattails, then back for a romp to enjoy the round again.

Their pack is a wonderful group of dogs whom each contributes an individual personality. Bonita and I have enjoyed our opportunities to dog sit and there's been regular trips to the lake. These dogs love water as we spend lots of time in the summer on our boat. Duke and Daisy enjoy diving off the boat and swimming to shore for a romp on the water's edge and then the swim back to the boat. But today they are enjoying Barry's pond and his wilderness trails, it's their place to run wild off lead.

Just ahead there's a deep crevice and at the bottom runs a creek. The pack romps through the creek for a splashing good time as they follow the bed to the shore. Everything to do is a race to them as they run through thickets and weeds. All of the pack had run their course and found their way back, but Chap had gotten stuck in some vines. You could see that he wanted so baldly to run through the creek but the others had left him behind. So I began to call him from the opposite side to spur him on. He jumped and romped and fought his way out and found his way down to the bed. I moved my position to the opposite side and began calling. Chap responded by running through the water but found himself stranded on the wrong side yet again. Daisy decided to step in and help lead him out so down in the gully she went dragging Rocket and Taco in tow. To Chap's delight he paired with the pack and they were off once more for a round in the creek.

On our way back we stopped by the pond once more for a game of Tag, You're It! The dogs were a site as they chased each other round the field, down into the water for playful dunking each other in the water. Rocket found himself playing tug of war with a tree limb while Taco observed. Chap just couldn't resist aggravating Duke and Daisy. Daisy has this way of displaying her thoughts; it's like the scene in the movie Alien, where the it drops its head and curls the edge of its mouth to shows it's teeth. There is all this dripping and oozing stuff coming out of it's mouth; it is just nasty and you know what's about to come. None the less, Chap is a persistent little fellow and chooses to disregard her display. Well... on to better parts of the story.... he learned his lesson though let it be known that Daisy, being a gracious host, never laid teeth on him; it only took the bark to set him on hind quarters.

Before our departure the dogs took one more romp in the green grassy fields and it was off to the foot races with John. In past years I've enjoyed watching John race Daisy in the fields of Kennesaw Mountain; it is a foot race that he always loses. But sometimes John has a heart much larger than his wind so racing is the last call for the day. Now Daisy fancies herself as the fastest dog of the pack and until her recent weight gain, that was the case. But at a tender young age, Taco is a lean, mean and twice the running machine yet Daisy refuses to give way. With any attempt of young Taco's desire, alpha Daisy will run his butt down. In return for his stake she surely makes him pay with punishment, but still it is a game. She trips him and flips him at any opportunity, these come as he slows down when he transitions from smooth fields to rough terrain.

It's unfortunate that Sweet Pea chose to be an observer today. She spent the first ten minutes running with the pack but as we hit the trails she chose to stay by my side and from time to time chat with a dog or two. You could see that she was having a wonderful time but was content to spectate.

1 comment:

  1. I just keep reading your wonderful blog like a book. It's so interesting and I love your writing style. Can't wait for the next one! Thank you Tim.