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May 17, 2021: Spring, Spring, Spring and Spring Again

I had high expectations for this year’s spring, and it is the best one ever. There were some good things about the Covid virus, one was fewer planes in the sky and fewer people on the road. We all got a taste of what it would be like if there were fewer people in Alaska. We don’t learn though, and people will continue to reproduce. And there will be more pandemics.

The best thing about spring, even with large numbers of people moving to and fro, is being able to be outside and doing things, unencumbered. Today we returned to Better Companion, after a winter hiatus,

Shadow looks at Alys while jumping through the tire

and resumed doing agility with Shadow. Beginning agility was challenging but intermediate agility is even more so.

We began by working on having the dogs follow our hands, this way they learn that we are providing them with directionals. We then worked on having them jump through the tire jump, while standing next to it. Then it was on to the teeter totter. Shadow leapt up onto it, and raced across, she did not pay any attention to the change in the balancing point. So a treat was put in the middle on the second go around, which she had to stop and eat. She did well coming to the end, which is a contact point. She stopped and consumed treats.

We worked on a bit of object discrimination, the dogs having before them, a jump and a tunnel. We had to position ourselves so that the dogs went over the jump. Shadow first decided to jump over the tunnel – the second time around she did just fine.

Where I am, and my body signals, are very important. I like agility because it does make me more body aware. At the same time, I am seeing how what I’m learning is going to be applicable to horse agility.

I am planning on spending the next six weeks learning as much as I can, from books and videos, and also putting theory to practice in the Playground of Higher Learning. Tomorrow, I will pull out our jump, teeter totter, and tire obstacle. We don’t have a tunnel – I might make one.

The icing on the cake came after class was over. I made the announcement before everyone left that I had 20-or-so boxes of books in the truck. Everyone then joined us there. I pulled out all the boxes and six or so students went through them. The sun was shining brightly, adding to everyone’s relaxed attitude. I so enjoy hearing book talk, particularly when it pertains to animals.

The best, though, was yet to come. Pete and I next drove to the Mat-Su Animal Shelter. We parked and a worker got out of his truck. I said good day – he was a bit surly. I think he thought that I wanted to drop off a dog. I told him that I was from the Bright Lights Book Project and had books and he then smiled and got Sue Fujimoto, the volunteer coordinator.

She greeted us and then got a cart. We loaded up the books and she and an assistant rolled it into the building. I had to fill out a report – when I was done, I noticed that a number of workers and Sue were flipping through and talking about various books.

This did my heart good. I do sometimes wonder about the feasibility of giving away books – but then remind myself the payoff is that they are more certain to end up in the hands of appreciative readers.

Next: May 18, 2021: A Long-Awaited Ideas Day

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