February 4, 2010

Contrasts

Last week, my Aunt Krista in Virginia sent me this photo of her car…

This week, I’m sending her these photos from our walk today…

Quite a contrast, yes? Well, much to my sorrow, winter seems to have passed us by. No cold temperatures, no snow, not even enough ice to scrape off the windshield. All the snow and all the winter we usually have found it’s way to Virginia and we are left with blooming flowers.

Yes, they are beautiful and I shouldn’t complain because today was warm and gorgeous and we had a great time. It started with school, but the kids were on a field trip so I just helped Gretchen grade some papers. Then we picked up Ollie who escorted me home so I could eat my brunch (I’m no longer calling it breakfast) and here even the two of us are a study in contrast.

We’re both Doodles as you can see, but Ollie has got that red, red coat while I am what’s known as an apricot. Ollie’s curls are much tighter, too, kind of like Monty’s, but Ollie’s are much softer.

Ollie is smaller than I am, too, but equally focused on the treats Gretchen has in her pockets. Our tails are pretty much the same and everyone thinks we’re related because of the bounce in our step.

Doodles bounce, if you didn’t know, which I think comes from our poodle ancestry. Ollie’s like me, though, in that he likes to bark and he HATES being away from his people.

Often, when we walk away from Ollie’s house to go out on our adventure, Ollie stops and looks back at his house longingly. He’ll even whimper occasionally, but once we get underway, he gets that bounce back in his step and he’s ready for some fun.

Ollie’s fun came in the form of Gemma today. After I got dropped off at home, Ollie and Gretchen headed over to Gemma’s house. When they arrived, Gemma was sound asleep on her bed and barely heard Gretchen enter the house. Apparently, Gemma’s shots got updated in the morning and those things can really knock it out of you.

But Gemma warmed up once they all got underway and was in fine form as they posed in the sun and both of them eagerly nibbled on treats — their reward for posing!

Gemma walked Ollie home and then Gemma and Gretchen headed to Saber’s house for his first walk of the day. This is when Gemma really woke up. There’s nothing like having a elephant-sized puppy playing with you to wake you up!

Of course, luckily Saber tires out faster than Gemma…

Still, even Gemma was ready for a rest after her walk with Ollie and her romp with Saber…

Saber walked a tired Gemma home  where she flopped right down on her bed, while Saber practiced his “stay” on the porch. He’s such a good dog!

It’s pretty obvious how Gemma and Saber are contrasting — their size, their color, their temperament — but let me tell you, those two know how to whoop it up when it comes to playing. They play hard and the sleep hard that’s for sure.

Next up was Rosie and her contrasts are more subtle. She’s a skittish girl, but luckily the warm, sunny weather livened her up a bit and she’s also gotten used to Gretchen bribing her for a posed shot. Sprinkle a few cookies next to the flowers…

Get Rosie to smell those pretty yellow flowers…

And then snap the photo right when she licks her lips! Nice work everyone! That’s a wrap!

The two of them walked along the ridge and looked off in the distance at the snow-less mountains and the band of rain clouds hanging like warning signs to the south.

Gretchen photographed the flowers I’m sending to my Aunt Krista while Rosie waited patiently.

Perhaps Rosie’s biggest contrast is how she was when Gretchen first starting walking her and what she’s like now. Now Rosie is much more confident. She still gets spooked by sudden movement and gets really agitated if there is a squirrel racing by or a cat lounging on a step (I get that, Rosie!), but she doesn’t go into an altered state like she used to do.

Instead, she stops herself, turns toward Gretchen, and then looks up longingly for a treat.

Who could deny that face?

Gretchen can’t so she feeds her a cookie or two and then gives Rosie a hearty scratch on her hip and a soft kiss on her head.

With only 20 minutes to spare, Gretchen came home to get some lunch after dropping Rosie at her house and then we hustled up to Alice’s. Alice and Rosie have a lot in common. Not just their coloring, but they are both a bit on the jittery side, but over time, Alice has gotten more comfortable with our visits. Now she only woofs once when Gretchen comes into the house to get her and then she wags that long, skinny tail excited to see Gretchen and excited to say hello to me as I wait outside.

Then she gets really excited when we head north to pick up Woobie. The three of us really demonstrate the concept of contrasts!

I’m curly-coated, Woobie has long flowing locks, and Alice is very short-coated. Alice is nervous, Woobie is laid back, and I’m right in the middle — sometimes laid back and some times nervous. And we play very differently too. Woobie likes to just hang out by Gretchen (sometimes)…

I like to play fetch and Alice likes to hog the balls, but I’m nice and let her =-)

After we played a bit, we walked Alice home and then I escorted Woobie back to her house. I love Woobie’s courtyard. Gretchen opens the gate, takes off our leashes and Woobie and I run back and forth, up and down the steps to Woobie’s front door! It’s a lot of steps, let me tell you!

We’re a lot faster than Gretchen so we race up and down and up and down while she huffs and puffs her way up the stairs. And when she gets to the top, we’re there to greet her with wagging tongue and a look of concern, “Are you okay?”

Woobie runs into her house once the door opens and then sits and watches as we leave. She hates it when we leave. I do, too.

I wanted to race up and down and around that courtyard for the rest of the day, but we still had another play session with Saber to complete so off we went back down through the neighborhood to Saber’s house.

Saber was happy to see us and was really ready for some play time at the tennis courts, but when we got there, another dog AND a tennis player were there. Uh oh, but guess what? They (Linda and her dog, Gizmo) invited us in and soon enough, Michael showed up with Desi and we had a whirligig of a time!

As you can see, Gizmo took no time at all getting acquainted and though he was a bit shy with Saber (the racing elephant), he loved (and I mean LOVED) Desi. Desi must have like Gizmo, too because generally Desi doesn’t let another dog get so close to him.

And once I wrested the ball away from Saber (Linda’s ball, I might add), I gave myself a nice rest in the last of the afternoon sun.

Would I have preferred snow? Probably, but today was busy, full, and bright and well, who can complain?

Until Tomorrow!

Rubin

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