Saturday, February 13, 2016
At least that was the plan, but with Tilde, you never know.
Resting days are actually more busy than normal days. On normal days, in which for Tilde everything seems to evolve around The Big Long Walk where she can run and play, a rest day needs careful planning and must be executed spotlessly to keep little Miss Rocket occupied.
The good news being, the first rest day would be on a Saturday, and I would be able to devote most, if not all, of my attention to her.
At 6 am the alarm clock made its dreaded call, way before our normal wake-up time, but I was determined to make an early start. I grabbed the leash and Tilde followed with me out of the door. Before I could reach the garden gate, she did a little pee, walked back to the door, and looked thankfully at me when I opened it for her. I followed her back inside, tempted by the thought of a cup of coffee. Tilde was nowhere to be seen, she had already gone upstairs to sleep some more.
At 8 am - what happened at 7 am I forgot - she came down again. In the meanwhile a steady stream of coffee had done wonders re-establishing my backbone and this time we made it past the garden gate. We took a short walk on the leash, and Tilde could enjoy the sights and scents of an otherwise quiet weekend day. I was observing her left hind leg obsessively, but there was nothing to be seen anymore after yesterday's issues. When we came back home I made her some breakfast, after which she settled down.
At 9 am I took her Balance Disk with me in the living room where Tilde was relaxing. "Good," I thought, "I seem to be ahead of her, for once". We did some easy exercises, front-legs on disk, hind-legs on disk, make turns around the disk on two paws. This was good exercise for her leg without overdoing it. She enjoyed it, and earned her treats for a good job done.
At 10 am I hid some car-keys, wallets, and other items in the garden, and I took her out on a long leash for some Search games. It didn't take her long to find everything, so I repeated it a couple of times. We played some tug-of-war and catching the ball before we went inside again. So far so good. Tilde seemed occupied.
At 11 am we went on a walk with the leash again. I avoided our usual route, and followed a path along the canal instead. We usually don't get there very often because we have to follow a busy bicycle path on the way back. Tilde liked the distraction though, and investigated every tree base and any other typical dog message-spot vigorously. When we almost made it home, she tried to pull me towards the path we usually take, the path to the fields where we run and play, but I was firm.
At 12 am we did some training exercises inside. One of them was the re-instated "training blanket", my tool to train with two dogs, where one waits on the blanket, while I train with the other one. We haven't trained it since Kenzo's passing, but with the new puppy on the horizon, it would be good to pick it up again with Tilde. It was almost like Tilde had missed the exercise, as if she wanted to show me, she hasn't forgot, and she smiled all the way through, while I moved the blanket longer and longer away and asked her to wait.
At 1 pm I got my first complaint. We went out again with the leash, Merete was with us this time, to walk down to the shops and back again, but Tilde protested when we made a right turn, not a left turn, to her fields. The Big Long Walk was clearly overdue now, and I had to lure her to take the turn to the right. When we returned, it seemed to have worked out very well after all, as we passed many people and dogs on the pavements, re-energizing the extrovert which Tilde is. I was glad it worked out after all, this "rest" day. So far so good.
Coming through the door back inside from our walk, I unleashed Tilde and made two more steps before I realized my mistake. I looked behind me, where Merete was taking off her coat with her back turned towards the open door. Tilde was nowhere to be seen. "Where's Tilde?" I asked Merete. She was looking down at something on the floor, "Where's my new snowboot?", she asked.
We found her outside, standing still with the snowboot in her mouth, looking right at me with naughty eyes and her tail wagging in that firm rhythm which signals "Are you ready?". As soon as I moved, it was as if she exploded, her hind body low, zigzagging through the front yard. I reached out for her, afraid she would run out on the road, but that only fueled her ecstatic state of the zoomies even more.
"Alright then," I said, and went inside to get her leash, "The Big Long Walk it is".
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