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March 5, 2019: The Peaceable Kingdom

I sometimes forget just how amazing it is that our animals are so well behaved and (I think) content. Today, for instance, I rode Hrimmi and Pete rode Raudi to the Murphy Road turnoff. Raudi was a bit balky when asked to trot – there was considerable tail switching. I need to ride her more – I’m not the pushover Pete is.

Then after we came back home, I rode Tyra around the loop and Pete took Ryder on an outing – he rode his bicycle. Tyra did amazingly well – together, we negotiated the icy patches on the road. At the near conclusion of our ride, a very impatient neighbor (unbeknownst to me) near goosed her with his pickup truck. She bolted but settled down before I comprehended what has happened. I hopped off her and together we panther walked the final quarter of a mile home.

Kirby at Rainy Pass - enroute to McGrath

I’m planning on doing more work with her in Playground of Higher Learning because sometimes her head carriage is a bit high. I’m going to put weights on her back and do obstacle work with targets.

Upon his return, Pete and I worked with Ryder in the playground of higher learning, this on her recall. She is a herding dog, and if given the opportunity, she will chase vehicles that contain dogs or familiar faces. Yesterday, she tore off after a neighbor driving an ATV (the same one who goosed Tyra today). His not so germane shepherd was in the back, and took it upon herself to bark at Ryder. I inadvertently dropped her leash (I was walking Raudi and Tinni) and she tore after him.

Pete and I then decided to work more with Ryder – and so started today on come. I set up some obstacles, and we had her go back and forth. She clearly loved doing this, so we are going to keep at it. We’ll soon make things a bit more challenging by creating some bicycle and car-related distractions.

After, I took Tinni out for a ride around the loop. He seemed a little stiff, so I am going to resume doing body work with him.

Okay. So as the above indicates, there are always things to improve upon when educating our animals. But it is because I take great joy and Pete takes some joy in doing this that they are such fun to have around. It’s also easy to forget that this is an ongoing, time-consuming process that requires a high degree of focus and patience.

I was reminded of this today. I’m taking a yoga class through the college and one of our ongoing assignments is to practice random acts of kindness. I decided that my random act of kindness for the month of March would be to watch our neighbor’s older dog when they went on vacation. Now I knew that Arkose, a 13 year old husky mix, was a headcase, but I forgot how much of a headcase. Her owners (as is often the case) got her prior to having children. Sharing the responsibility of raising her convinced them that they should have children. The children then came first.

Arkose had neurotic tendencies to begin with, tendencies that came into full bloom when she no longer was the center of attention. I forgot about this when I said we’d take her on. And true to form, within an hour of being here, she chewed up our front wooden gate. I could not believe it – there were splinters and blood everywhere.

Pete told me what she’d done when we were in the Playground, working with Ryder. When I saw the gate I was livid. Pete who in appearance now looks like St. Francis of Assisi, said what you’d expect a non-canonized saint to say. He said in a soft voice that Arkose saw us having fun and wanted to be with us. This gave me reason to pause. I was the one who agreed to take Arkose on – and then I was the one who was pissed when I saw the damage.

Right then I understood that Arkose has not, as has our animals, been given the time and attention that she deserves. And it very well may be that a dog like this could never get enough attention. This is not her fault, or even the fault of her owners. It is what is. So while she’s here, I will treat her as I do our animals, with love, kindness, and affection. A very big life lesson for me today, for sure.

Next: 64. 3/6/19: Conversation Between Left and Right Halves of my Brain

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