September 8, 2010

First Day of School

There was a time when I went to school, but now that Gretchen is no longer a teacher, I am no longer a school dog. I have mixed feelings about it all, but when I was out with my friends/clients today, I was happy about where my life has landed me. What I miss about school is hearing everyone say, “Good morning, Rubin!” the moment I walked through the door. I think Gretchen felt a little put out since rarely did anyone greet her with such enthusiasm, but it’s something I really miss these days.

I also miss the way I could wander around the classroom and lick up any food droppings on the floor. I usually don’t do this at home, but the food at school was a lot better than what we eat around here (no offense).

I thought that I wouldn’t miss the getting up early, but it seems that’s not going to change. We got up early this morning to make breakfast for Ann’s first day back in the classroom and then we raced home at the end of the day to make dinner for her too. I guess, since we both know what it’s like to be a teacher, we need to support her in every way that we can, but still, it would be nice to sleep in late.

But our day was busy, too. True, Ann has 29 kids in her classroom and we don’t have nearly that many clients, still we walked a lot today and I for one, am as tired as if it were my first day of school.

First up was Monty and I was kind of dreading it. Not because we were going to be with Monty. I LOVE hanging with my BFF. No, what I dreaded was the rain. Gretchen looked out the front door and then looked at me and I knew something awful was about to happen. When she headed to the closet to get my raincoat, I raced upstairs and tried to hide.

I guess it was kind of turning out like the first day of school. “Mom, don’t make me wear that! My friends will all laugh at me!”

But wear the coat I had to and I was none too pleased. Especially when Monty decided he needed to shake off the rain at the pea patch. He didn’t wear a coat and I suffered, as you can see, the consequences!

Rosie and Tyson didn’t have to wear their coats on their walk, but lucky for them, the rain stopped about halfway through their walk. Unfortunately, the clouds were pretty heavy and the light was really dark as they headed down to Leschi and then up through Frink Park. Only one photo turned out okay, but still, you can see they are without raincoats!

By the time Gemma was retrieved from her house, the rain had gone away and the sun actually came out. Oshi and Perrito were happy about that — Gemma could have cared less. She was far more interested in the squirrels that kept racing across the telephone wires behind Gretchen and her camera.

Still, no one got wet and no one had to wear a raincoat.

And I didn’t have to wear one either when Monty and I picked up Saber from his house.

Instead, we got to walk in the sunshine and once again, Gretchen headed down to Leschi for a sweet shot of us by the marina.

Of course, Saber was disappointed that he wasn’t going to go swimming so he refused, at first, to look at the camera, but once Gretchen said the word “treat” he behaved.

Monty, too, who was slowing getting up from his sit/stay to see if Gretchen really was really going to cough up a cookie!

By the time I met up with Paige, there was actual blue skies and man, was I ever happy because that raincoat dogged me all the way to Paige’s house (Gretchen left it in the back of the car RIGHT NEXT TO MY BED!).

When I was a dog teacher, exciting events would happen occasionally, but basically, not much changed from day to day. I liked the predictability of it all, but I also like the variety of my work now. Take, for instance, going on a walk with Paige. We visited Jack Block park and then walked up onto this high tower to view the city.

What Paige and I  saw in the distance over our shoulders(the black spot in the water) was a seal munching on some sweet seafood…

…the Seattle skyline in the distance…

….and the LONG WAY down from the tower to the ground. It might not look like it, but I was totally freaked and when Gretchen asked me to sit, I sat as close to my friend Paige as I could get. Paige, being the good friend that she is, let me lean into her and I really appreciated the support. Finally, she told me just to line down and the world would stop spinning. She’s so smart!

But things got even more exciting on our way home. Paige and I were walking side by side, gently bumping into each other when all of the sudden, with the force of a powerful huntress, Paige stabbed into the bushes and emerged with something big in her mouth.

I jumped. Gretchen jumped and immediately reached for Paige’s mouth to pull out what she thought was going to be a hamburger wrapper or some garbage. But no…the “garbage” had a tail…a really, really long tail and the whole thing wriggled in Paige’s mouth. I ducked behind Gretchen’s legs, my eyes as wide as they could get and Gretchen jumped back realizing that the thing in Paige’s mouth was a LIVE RAT!

Not just any rat, but a huge wharf rat about the size of a small cat. Gretchen yelled, “OUT!” and with a swift shake, Paige shook that ugly thing and then dropped it onto the path.

OH MY DOG! Gretchen checked Paige who, with blood all over her mouth, smiled proudly. I stood by in amazement and just kept saying, “WOW!” over and over again. The blood didn’t really belong to Paige. Nope, it came from the belly of the rat she’d killed (yippee, one less rat in the world!) and a slight cut on her lip.

All the way back to Paige’s house I kept asking her questions, “How did you know it was there?” and “How did you learn to be so fast?” Paige just continued to smile, her ears on alert, and finally said, “Shucks, Rubin, it was easy. I’ll teach you how if you wanna learn?”

Oh my dog! Stuff like this NEVER happened in the classroom.

So, while I’m sad not to be curled up underneath of a student who needs some dog love, I’m really happy to be out in the “wild” spending time with my friends and learning all sorts of cool stuff I never even dreamed of when I was a teacher.

Until tomorrow!


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