Scooter Love

Well… I saw my first robin a couple of days ago, the final red-breasted nail in the coffin of the winter that wasn’t. But at least the trails are finally completely clear of  ice and snow, so when I leaned over and whispered “scooter” in Squash’s ear this morning I really, really meant it although I was mostly goofing off.  I didn’t realize he really knew the word and I didn’t realize how happy it made him, so I was surprised but pleased when he went completely bonkers. He likes it, he REALLY likes it!

There is a little group of adjacent and partially connected little mini-parking lots at the park where we scooter. Even though I prefer to run the dogs on soft surfaces, I don’t mind pavement for short runs or parts of runs and for training commands.  So the plan for today was to use these little parking lots to do some Gee-Haw practice. We did pretty well, I think.

We did three short runs like that before moving on to a nice longer run mostly through the woods, which was a good workout for them as the ground is still quite wet and soft. I also switched to a shorter neckline which I was extremely happy with. Tangles with the neckline have been a frustration for me but for some reason I can’t remember I had been reluctant to use the shorter one. Call me reluctant no more.

Thanks to daylight savings, we were at the park earlier than usual for scootering and there were turkeys and deer everywhere going on about their usual, unaffected-by-daylight-savings-time morning business. This can be a blessing and a curse – the wildlife is great motivation for the dogs to run and it’s nice to have distractions to train against, but it can make for a wild ride and there’s always the potential for the dogs to get over-the-top excited and out of control. For example, immediately after these pictures were taken (in which, by the way, you will note that Squash has incredibly hunky thighs),

a small group of deer walked across the path at the crest of that small hill ahead of us. Normally, I help the dogs up hills by either kicking or hopping off and running beside the scooter, but their eyes and brains were full of deer and they rocketed up that hill like Popeye on spinach. It was amazing and exhilarating but slightly frightening, and once at the top they wanted to shoot off into the woods instead of staying on the path. We ended up at an impasse on the top of the hill, with them lined out like a compass pointing towards the true north of the retreating deer and me leaning back like some kind of bizarre half-woman, half-scooter counterbalancing cyborg. Obviously I came out ahead in the end or I would still be searching through the woods for my wayward beasts, but for a few minutes at least the outcome wasn’t certain.

When we made it back to the parking lots we took a couple more Gee-Haw spins around before heading back to the car. This picture isn’t that great, but it makes me happy. I almost never get to see their faces, and it’s nice to see them looking so happy and filled with Scooter Love…

And my happy, tired boy ready to go home after a cool down and water break, ready to rest up until the next time I whisper “scooter” in his ear.

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