I’ve noticed that ever since my third birthday a few weeks ago, Mike and Heather have started to trust me more, letting me wander a bit on my own without holding onto my leash. And I’ve been rewarding them by sticking pretty close by. When I decide to go off on a toot, it’s usually a brief one. I’m back to scarf up a treat or two without too much coaxing, unless I’m onto something better, such as discarded pieces of sandwich or a partial mouse carcass.
I tend to find more of that kind of stuff in Discovery Park than I do when we’re out at my foothills getaway, where we went for a whole week. Several times Mike took me walking without attaching a leash to my harness at all. We did a lot of walking out there, just the two of us, because Heather was mostly working and Tara, bless her grumpy heart, knows she’s too sore to come along.
Tara is really slowing down. She limps around, and her only brief spurts of energy come when she’s trying to head me off from playing with one of her toys. She gets between the toy and me and charges with a growl. I think that’s as far as Tara would take it, but I just take a wide berth and let her think she’s still boss. Then I immediately get another toy from her endless toy pile. She can’t head me off from all of them, and as a lagniappe, I got repeated praise from Heather for treating Tara so kindly and respectfully. That’s what I call win-win.
While we were out at the Getaway we had to drive into the city and back a couple of times. I got to sit in the front seat every time, even though my seat belt is hooked up in the back seat like I’m supposed to sit there. I was happy with the front-seat arrangement, even when I had to stay in the car alone for a couple of hours while they went to a restaurant. I snoozed and survived, even though it was pouring rain outside. I was warm enough.
We also walked in some places I hadn’t been to before, Lake Sammamish and Cougar Mountain. Most of the trails were wide enough for ball-chasing, and Mike was into all the moss on the leaf-barren alder and maple trees, especially green at this time of year due to winter rains and popping out in intricate networks against the gray under story. We didn’t run into any bears, bobcats or cougars (always Heather’s biggest worry), but we did get to the top of the Fantastic Erratic, a large boulder in the middle of the forest. I actually found the gently rippling Lake Sammamish a lot more erratic than that big rock.