Today the sky was open, clear, and blue bird perfect, the snow was deep, lots of wind drifted mounds, and 400 acres of open space. I had a hard time finding a place to park, it was either in the middle of a country road, blocking any cars, if any, that were going to come along, or pull over and get stuck for the rest of the day. I chose to block the road. Luckily a pheasant near by was the only one disturbed by us being there, so it all worked out.
Winter time is my ideal season to train dogs in the outdoors. I use Mother Nature as a training partner, and she has yet to let me down. When the snow is deep it is a good time to work on off leash trail skills. There are generally two options, stay on the trail and the hike continues, or option two, run off the trail and get stuck, and then figure out how to work yourself back to the trail so the hike can continue. Most dogs choose option one.
When I opened the car doors and released the dogs, Rhumb was a bit confused. I usually release The Boyz, and then put her harness and leash on and she steps out politely, she has yet to have the experience of jumping out of the car naked! I stood there and let her figure this out.
She finally jumped out, and without a glance towards me, took off, utterly unconcerned with the consequences, at a breathtakingly beautiful speed.
Most of my dogs try the Jesus trick once or twice, none have been successful, until today.
While Jesus may have walked on water, impressive in and of itself, Rhumb levitated over the snow as she covered acre after acre after acre. It wasn’t until she stopped that she sunk in, almost to her belly. And then she started up again.
The Boyz and I were helpless in her presence today. All three of us stood there, mostly in awe, of Rhumbs physical prowess, lack of self preservation skills, and a cellular level of joy that I rarely am privileged to witness.
A hike wasn’t going to be part of our adventure as I had hoped, she taught me all I needed to know in her first ten minutes of running. She was like herding lightening, you literally have a nano second to decide what to say, which direction to turn, and how to move. If you are slow or late in anyway, you’re shit out of luck. And I wasn’t willing to take that risk, especially because we would be moving back into more remote country. A lost puppy in the snow is not a good thing. Hence no photos from today. When you’re working with lightening you have no time to blink, let alone take a photo.
So I pulled the toys out, and we played. To watch a young wrecking ball of an adolescent dog crash through soft snow drifts, plow at mock speed through deep snow, and then jump up and dive head first into the unknown to find her toy, well I just wish I could bottle it and drink it each morning. It’s awesome, it never gets old, and I just love that power and fearlessness.
The Boyz have grown up out in this area, and love to hike or play fetch or walk around with me, this is like their second winter home, sans heat. But even they were getting tired. They wanted to lay down, roll in the snow, catch some sun on their faces, and play with me. Rhumb would have none of it, full speed ahead.
What was so super cool though is her wanting to come back to us at the same speed in which she left, fast. She would blast out and spin and turn around trees and bushes, and then I would call her, and she would spin on a dime and come back. So super duper cool. We didn’t have that a couple of weeks ago. Ounces of progress.
We eventually settled into a pattern of playing fetch in a 200 yard length area, lots of running, and then going for a walk in a different direction. Back to fetch at great distances, and then a walk in a different direction. This went on for about one and a half hours. Story eventually looked up at me and let me know it was time to go home, so the next time Rhumb came over, leash on, and we walked back to the car together. The Boyz were very grateful.
Is she reliable now? Hell no. This was her second time in big open space and her first time off leash without a fence around.
She is so fun, super edgy, destructive, incredibly talented, and a hot mess all in one. I love this sexy beast!