There was a time when I was the center of Alys’s universe. Then she bought Raudi. Then, all these other animals, horses, chickens, goats included, followed suit. This didn’t seem right to me. As each one entered the picture, I got that much less of her time. I did not allow this to bother me; because I’m not that kind of a dog. Life is too short, especially if you are a canine. As she flew past, on her way to do this or that with one animal or another, I constantly counted my blessings, of which there were two. First of all, I have a huge yard to run around in. And secondly, I have Pete. He, who always errs on the side of all animals being equal, has always made it a point to take me for hikes in the spring,
Rainbow drives and Jenna rides
summer, and fall, and skijoring in the winter.
Lately, Alys has begun to pay more attention to me. It first began in September, with pre-breakfast walks. Then she began taking me out when she went riding, first fastening a lead rope to my collar. I let it be known that I preferred the walks, by moving as far away as I could from the horses’ legs. However, I have since come to realize that an outing is an outing.
It took me years to figure this out, but the reason why Alys remained uninterested in taking me on outings was because of my propensity to run far afield. What most pissed her off was when I failed to appear at the trailhead near conclusion of a ride. Who could blame me? I had to check out (among other things) the neighbor’s rabbits. Oh, I love to kill and eat rabbit, even to this day.
I’m not quite sure when I had the all-important revelation, but it was this—my appearing at the trailhead at the ride’s end, and allowing her to hook me up increased the likelihood that she’d take me out again. The reason this took so long was because the cause and effect thing is totally alien to both husky dogs and Australian cattle dogs. Thus, my having both in my genetic make-up made for slow mental going. This came easily to Jenna, who is an Australian Shepherd. And this then, is why she has been Alys’s erstwhile travel companion. In fact, Jenna stays so close that Alys has never, ever had to put her on a leash or lead rope. Go figure.
So the past few months have been good. I’ve accompanied Alys, Jenna, and the horses on trail rides. It’s been a lot of fun, in fact so much fun that I stick close when Alys is saddling up the horses. I’ve also perfected my please take me along look. And while on trail, I keep her in sight.
I first accompanied Alys on a short ride. Then I later went with her on a long ride. She rode Tinni on the first outing. And she started out on Signy on the second outing. Pete rode Siggi, and Alys’s friend Victoria started out on Raudi. Hrimmi and Jenna also came along.
I don’t mind Jenna’s coming with, but I must say, we are not at all on the same wavelength. It’s like this dog is in another world, and it’s one that I don’t inhabit. For instance, she has no interest in hunting down mice or chasing moose. Rather, she occasionally gives sniff or chase because she knows this is what a dog is supposed to do. Alys and Pete think this is funny. I think it’s pathetic. It’s a good thing she’s been spayed because a dog like this shouldn’t have offspring.
I’m a very perceptive dog on most days, and today was no exception. I knew as soon as Alys lead Raudi out of the pen that she was in one of her “I’m going to behave like an idiot” moods. I don’t know why she’s this way—and she doesn’t know why either. I’ve tried to talk with her about this, but she turns her butt to me, swishes her tail, and saunters away. What’s a dog to do?
Anyhow, Alys and Victoria conferred—it was finally decided that Victoria would ride Raudi bareback. If anyone had asked me, and no one did, I would have said that this was a mistake. I was right. Raudi began acting like a ditz before we even hit the trail, by refusing to stop for Victoria. Then once on the trail, she upped the anty. Hrimmi went skittering past, and Raudi then chose to kick up her heels and bolt. Victoria’s a good rider, with a firm seat and hands; otherwise, she would have come off. She’s also a considerate rider; for example, at one point she told Alys that she who usually rode with a bitless bridle, was being very careful with Raudi’s mouth. The latter made no difference to Raudi, who does not have one iota of empathy. She next began jigging. It was then that Victoria suggested that she instead ride Signy.
I, who was standing close by, saw a look of concern cross Alys’s face. Quite clearly, she wasn’t too keen on the idea of riding Raudi bareback either. But she had no choice. So she climbed off Signy and Victoria climbed on her. Pete adjusted Victoria’s stirrups, and then held Raudi for Alys, who climbed up on her broad back. I could tell right away that Raudi knew Alys was on her back. And she pretty much behaved for the rest of the ride. This may have been because Alys rides her nearly every day. It wasn’t because Raudi was watching out for Alys. Raudi only watches out for Raudi.
Alys nearly came off once, when the group was going down a steep incline. However, Raudi cooperated when Alys, in the lead, lead the entire group through an icy section on the trail.
Pete hooked me back up at the trailhead, and we all made our way home. At one point, Alys, who was the last one in the group, was singing a song, the one about working in the barnyard. Then it happened—Alys sang out the line “can’t you hear the mare a snorting?” and Raudi snorted. It then occurred to me that Alys loves Raudi, and vice-versa. This begs the question, where do I fit in? The answer is this—Alys has a very big heart, and cares about me as much as she cares about that blasted red horse. Otherwise, she would not now be taking me along on trail rides. Consequently, I’ve forgiven her for leaving me behind more often than not. Life is good now, and this is what counts.
Next: 337. 11/12/12: Jenna’s Turn