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Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Rosie Road, part 13 "Stairs, Sand, and Waves"

Ok, I just can't get away from STAIRS!  Here we go again.....

September 5, 2008

FLD Rosie, in the work truck.
Working in the field with Gypsy, FLD Rosie along.  I've had Rosie for about one week.  She still fits in the small wire crate, perched on all my equipment behind the seats in my Invisible Fence truck. 

It is easy to bring her along.  Rosie rides quietly in her crate, content to sleep while I work.  Of course, I did take her on a walk before leaving for work this morning.

My last job of the day is a training session for a rescued two-year-old chocolate lab named Tucker at a house far north of Port Huron.  When I arrive after the long drive, I discover a problem with the signal field.  The older couple has trouble understanding the issues with their long, narrow lot.  I solve things by getting permission from their neighbor to extend the fence wire onto their property, thereby preventing the signal from reaching the inside of my customer's living room.

The simple train turns into a physical afternoon of re-installing the fence.  I don't mind much.  It is a beautiful fall day and a stunning location in which to work.  The house sits atop a tall bluff overlooking Lake Huron.  Waves crash on the beach below.  Wind tickles chimes that hang from a tree branch.  Clouds billow to expose blue sky and sunshine.

Gypsy, tied to a tree behind the house, can't see the water, but she knows the lake is there.  Still, she and FLD Rosie (snuggling in her crate nearby) wait patiently while I finish the re-install, reflag the yard, and train Tucker.  He does awesome, with Gypsy's help as a distraction!

My customers are happy.  Before I depart, I ask if I can bring Gypsy down to their beach so she can swim.  (I also want to take advantage of a learning opportunity for FLD Rosie--negotiating the staircase from the bluff.)  "Of course!"

Sit.  I command Gypsy.  As I unclip her leash and release her, Gypsy bullets down the steep concrete steps to the sand, dashes across to the water, turns, and barks in anticipation of a stick.  Hold on to your shorts, I yell.

FLD Rosie and I are still at the top of the long, precipitous stairs.  Rosie pauses, leans over to look, but backs away with a whine as if to say, "I want to go, but I'm not sure I can!"

I hold her leash loosely and sit on the third step, slapping my fingers on the second to encourage her, Come on Rosie, you can do it! 

Rosie stretches and reaches out with her paw.  There.  She touches the second step and swings her pudgy belly.  Her hinder follows and lands on the step.  Good girl!  I slide down another step and cheer her on.

She hesitates, finally reaches out with her paw again, and plops onto the next step.  That's it!  That's it!  The third step comes a little easier.

Suddenly, she has it and, with a few stumbles, bounces the rest of the way down at my side.

FLD Rosie gets halfway across the sandy beach before she realizes, "This is different!"  She sticks her face into the sand and comes up sneezing with a face full.  I laugh.

To a nine-week-old puppy everything is new.  Sand, waves, and water--she is thrilled with it all!

The homeowners watch from above as I throw a stick again and again for Gypsy, whose greatest joy is swimming after it, and who never seems to tire.  Rosie chases the waves. 

When it is time to go, FLD Rosie has no fear climbing back up the concrete steps, although she is a roly-poly klutz and sometimes misses her mark.

"You can bring your dogs to play here anytime you want,"  my customers exclaim when we finally reach the top.  "We had so much fun watching you!" 

They weren't the only ones who had fun.  I drive home with two wet and tired pups.

FLD Rosie, all tired out!

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