I was feeling rested on Wednesday, and felt strong and stupid so I was planning to take Max, Theo, and Jack out for a hike together. I was planning a long one and contemplated letting them pull me until we were all tired out. Clay was home that day so I figured I could leave Maya with him and just take the three boys. Max was in the dog yard and he wouldn't come to me even though he saw me load up Theo and Jack. He must have known we were going hiking, but the voices in his head held sway over him as they often do. Maya came along in his place, and we had a somewhat more civilized hike as a result.
Stick, stick, stick, I've got a stick, I'm carrying this stick, this is a good stick. But wait, that looks like a bigger, better stick. Stick, stick, stick, I've got a stick, I'm carrying this stick, this is an even better stick. But wait, there's a nice looking rock. Rock, rock, rock, I love this rock, everyone else wants this rock, but it's mine. This is a great rock.
My name is Jack and I've got a rock. I also have a big brother, Theo. I love Theo and I want to be just like him when I grow up. Theo and I walk together and we play ball together. Mostly Theo plays ball, but I carry one when I can get one, unless there's a stick or a rock to be found.
I had a really big stick, but the Loud One grabbed it and broke part of it off. It's still a great stick. No one can call this a stupid stick. But there's a rock . . .
I love going for walks with Theo, the Loud One, and She Who Must Be Obeyed. The Loud One calls her his "little girl" and she gets to do anything she wants. Theo told me not to cross her so I don't, but she is kind of a bitch. I just learned from her that our walks are really about patrolling our property and running off deer. I thought the walks were about hunting for rocks and sticks.
The best thing about walks, other than being with Theo and hunting for sticks and rocks, is the water. We walk and walk and eventually come to a stream. We walk in and have a drink and I lay down to really cool off. Something the Loud One calls "the current" takes my stick away, but wait, there's a rock.
I am Theo the Great, champion ball player, not some damn puppy sitter. This kid brother thing gets old after a while.
No one really cares if he wants to carry a stupid stick, but choose one that doesn't hit everyone else in face as we are walking! It's better if he sticks to rocks. They will wreck his teeth, but no one loses an eye.
The kid ain't bright, but I have to admit, he is fast. I hate to say it, but he has beaten me to the ball a time or two. He's fast and he sort of slides into it and grabs it on the run. He'd be a pretty good ball player if he'd learn to focus, but right now he rarely does so I am still the undisputed champion ball player.
Our territory is vast. We patrol at least part of it on most days, but we can't cover it all each and every day, so the deer sneak back in. Dad and I have been patrolling together ever since I came here. We have an arrangement: he handles any people we encounter and I take care of the deer. I also run off squirrels and some of those big birds that Trooper hates.
I prefer walking with just Dad and Trooper, but I don't mind if another dog comes along. Trooper can't do really long hikes any more and we have a lot of ground to cover, so Dad brings along another dog or two, rotating them so everyone gets to join us, but I always go; Dad needs me so that's what I do.
The leashes make it difficult to be a very effective deer patrolling pack, but Dad says that "leashed means loved" so I always keep him on the other end of mine.
After being chained up outside some white trash Kentucky trailer, this seems like heaven. I love walking, going places, seeing things, smelling things, just moving around! I love having dog friends and human friends. I love eating regularly, most days He Who Feeds brings me food twice a day! Imagine that, food in my bowl, twice in one day! I love having that growth removed from my belly. I tried to just pretend it wasn't there, but I knew it was, and I love having it gone. I've got a lot of love to give; He Who Feeds can't handle all of it. He seems to object to a friendly nose in the armpit when I'm wanting a love exchange. I hope my new family is ready for it, because it's just pouring out of me all the time, I can't help it.
I can't explain what it felt like when I first came here and The Hiker started taking me out on these long hikes with Maya and maybe Cookie or another dog. I'd been chained up forever it seems, and I'm a Husky, we were born to run! We are limited to his pace, but truth be told, I'm almost 12 years old and The Hiker's pace is fast enough for me most of the time. Since it's been getting hotter, the longer hikes are kind of rough on me. I'll keep up, however, and I will never be the one bringing up the rear. I just need to go a little slower on the hills, and The Hiker does too, so we get along pretty well. I'm happy going on shorter walks, especially if we go every day, or nearly every day.
Life is good here, even if it did cost me my balls.
What, me walk? I walked last week, I'm good for a while. Besides, what you euphemistically call a "walk" is more accurately described as a forced march through woods, field, and stream, vaguely reminiscent of the Bataan Death March. You could at least have the decency to carry a lady across the streams. So, no thank you, I'll stay right here, but you may pet me now. I'll be down for breakfast in about an hour; please have it ready.