Feedback is always let me know whatchya' think. Leave a comment!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

FLD Scout. On Assignment Again.

Intrepid reporter for the Ogemaw County Voice (aka "puppy-raiser patti") on assignment in Rose City, with her sidekick, FLD Scout.

1st Annual Fall Wine Festival. Free hayrides between two wineries, wine-tasting, and food.


Saturday, October 29, 2011. (This was the second Saturday of the event.)

To get the inside scoop on this inaugural event with the added bonus of self-control exercises for FLD Scout with people, food, and animal distractions. (There's my two-birds-with-one-stone thing again--see my post from July 27, 2011,  "FLD Gus Goes Loony".)

(and sometimes HOW)
It was a misty fall afternoon at the wineries, but FLD Scout didn't seem to mind. Inside the tasting rooms were crowds of engaging people and scraps of food on the floor to keep her me  busy.

Even the sight of "witch" Elaine (proprietress of Valley Mist Vineyards) with her witch's brew had no adverse effect on FLD Scout.

What caught Scout's attention was outside. Horses. The winery was old-hat, but horses...this was a first!

As we approached the staging area for the hayrides, FLD Scout didn't notice the two blanket-clad Percheron teams tied up to the semi-trailer. She had her eyes on Matthew and Nathan, who were waiting for the word to harness up the beasts to the wagons. Puppy-tail-waggle going full-force for the two young men, FLD Scout suddenly saw the horses.

"Rrrrruuuffff," Scout muffled, not so sure what to think. Her waggle paused.

Scout, sit, I commanded, but she needed a finger-tap on her rump to follow through. She peered at the horses, glanced back at me, and went back to studying. I kept her in position until she settled.

FLD Scout catches site of the horses.
Her nose gets busy as we get a bit closer.

Scout, heel, I said and we took a few steps forward. I didn't want to frighten Scout, or the horses! (Matthew assured me that Scout would not spook them.)

FLD Scout walks on a loose leash toward the Percheron teams.

Scout, sit, I said. This time she sat without a tap. Good girl, Scout! I said and slipped her a treat.

We inched our way closer as I observed Scout's demeanor change from a tightly gathered "I'm not so sure" cautiousness to a waggle-returning "hey, what IS that?" curiousity.

You can see the change in her body as she takes an eager interest.

Soon FLD Scout was almost nose-to-nose with one of the horses, which quickly decided that the little black ball of fur wasn't so interesting after all.

Two creatures, almost nose-to-nose.
The big longer interested. FLD Scout sits back as if dejected.

The hayride part? Not a problem. FLD Scout negotiated the metal grated steps into the wagon with just a bit of coaxing, and seemed to enjoy the rock-along pace of the heavy horse team.

Matthew and Nathan prepare to harness the team.
Our driver, Paul, and Nathan guide the team.
FLD Scout would like to climb on my lap during the ride, but soon curls into a ball on the floor when I don't pick her up.

Two wineries and two hayrides later, I had my story.

And a very tired puppy. 

FLD Scout found an open corner in the busy winery to rest.

Oh. And two bottles of wine to take home.



  1. That's a big trip for that sweet little ball of fur. I LOVE the pictures!

  2. Thanks, it's hard to get good pics of a black puppy!

  3. Hi Patti,
    do you take the photos yourself while you are simultaneously teaching Scout things and responding to her actions? If so, that's even more amazing than the fact that taking pictures of black puppies is challenging!

  4. Hey Carolina! Yep, I admit that I do take pictures while working with Scout. I shoot from the hip, often quite literally (or the knee, or overhead), many times without even looking through the viewfinder! Thank goodness for digital...shoot, check the view, shoot again, check the framing, shoot again--eventually you get something you can use! (There's an old trick of standing on the leash, too.) But seriously, I shoot when the puppy is doing the right thing: being calm.

  5. Ah, that's good to make Scout look good. I almost never look through my view finder even after I take my photo as I don't want to get my reading glasses out or if the light is too strong. I just take lots of photos and edit them. Digital is great. Also I have a very wide angle lens so I can always crop later.

  6. Carolina--just want to be sure you know that my first responsibility is to my puppy-in-training. She is learning all the time and when she is behaving, then I can do the "quick draw" and risk a shot.

  7. Sweet creatures nose-to-nose! What a good puppy... I would like to have some sips of wine, too. :)

  8. Kathy--anytime you're in the "lower" swing on by! (I can vouch for the wine!)