Sometimes I start to write blog posts in my head about events that haven’t actually happened yet. I’ll have a running commentary in my head along the lines of “when this happens, I’ll say this about it”. When, not if.
For example, I was going to entitle today’s post “And Then There Was (Temporarily) One” and start it out like this: “Calm down, nobody died. Squash was neutered and had another minor elective procedure at the end of last week and is on exercise restriction for the time being (and I’m also pleased to say that his hips look good). So when the weather turned out to be warm enough today to start melting what very little snow we had gotten on New Year’s Eve and I unexpectedly found myself with the afternoon off, I decided to use this time to take Maisy out by herself and just let her fly unimpeded. I’ve been meaning to do it for awhile, but (a) I always feel guilty at even the mere thought of leaving Squash behind and (b) it’s hard to pass up any opportunity to exercise more than one dog at a time.”
See, I had good reason to think that unimpeded, she would fly. When Maisy and I very first started scootering, I spent a lot of time with her just going up and down the alley behind my house (Squash was too young at that point to be pulling), and then a few times slowly around the block. God only knows what the neighbors thought. But the very first time that Maisy and I ventured into the rest of the wide world, this is what happened:
I mean, the girl has some chops, with or without big little brother.
As an aside, that’s an embarrassingly excessive amount of jibber jabber, my worst mush baby habit that I am trying hard to shed. GEEGEEGEEGEEGEE isn’t really the ideal way to tell your dog to go right… this is much better:
But today to my very great surprise, she wasn’t that into it. She didn’t want to line out. She didn’t really want to move. She just stood around sniffing the ground in her “I’m a wee bit stressed and can’t verbalize my feelings because I’m just a dog” way rather than her “I’m part hound and there’s actually something interesting here to sniff” way. When I got off the scooter and walked it, she walked along ahead of it, but she just wasn’t into it.
I got off and checked her feet, and her back, her joints, and her harness. I swapped out a the D-Clip attaching the line to her harness with a smaller clip, in case it was heavy enough to bug her or banging on her butt. I checked the rest of the equipment and walked around on the ground to see if was too rough/icy/cold/wet/anything. I walked her around a bit for a potty break. All seemed well. So I walked, then jogged, then kicked the scooter for awhile (which was actually fairly good exercise for me) while she tentatively went from a creep to a walk to a trot and finally to her normal run, and we did eventually fly:
And… can I just say… Holy cow, her thighs.
Anyway, I checked her over again before she got back in the car to go home and I couldn’t find anything wrong. And she’s playing bitey-face with Squash right now, so I don’t think there IS anything wrong – physically. What I think, which is actually beautiful to contemplate, is that she actually missed her big little brother being there.
I gush a lot about how awesome she is at this stuff, how she keeps Squash on track, keeps him moving, loves to pull, glad to have a natural leader, blah blah blah. But today for the first time I truly, fully realized an appreciation for what he brings to the table – maybe he’s young and distractible and needs a little big sister to keep his mind on the job sometimes, but he’s not just a big goofball. He obviously adds energy and exuberance and confidence to the equation that she depends on to be at her absolute best… and he deserves some credit for it.
Somehow along the way, something beautiful happened. I don’t think they’re just two dogs that happen to run together anymore, they’re really a team who count on each other and feel each other’s absence. The thought almost brings me to tears. And makes me think that there’s hope that someday we’ll all grow out of being mush babies together.