Tuesday, May 17, 2011

early morning dog run fun

my draft post has reappeared!! this is it! well, actually, this is it but with a bunch of editing. and i have since taken some better pictures, but i didn't upload them yet and i'm too excited to wait to post this. wooooo! (it's the little things)

desmond goes out for a walk three times a day, and i'm his morning pal. we wake up together at 5; he eats, i have coffee, and then we're out the door. i have been getting up at 5AM for over four years now (previously to work out); so i'm used to it, but desmond didn't seem all that thrilled when he first started his life at the forge house.

at this point, he wakes me up before my alarm goes off--sometimes by as much as a half an hour (bad dog!)--and is ready to make moves. we have worked our way up from walking only to being able to run or jog almost the entire time we're out (anywhere from 30-45 minutes). this allows us to get over to the dog run in bay county park and still get back home in time for me to get ready for work.

we took our first morning trip last week, and it was a bit anticlimactic considering how much he has loved the park in the past. first of all, no one is at the dog run at 5:45AM, and i was kind of bummed out. for one, it highlighted how grossly early it was (and how possibly crazy i am); for two, it meant that desmond didn't really know what to do in there.

this is an old picture, but this is pretty much what it was like, except there were no people or cars or dogs anywhere and the sun was just coming up.

he started sniffing quickly and with vigor. he walked all around, head to the ground, sucking in as much air as he possibly could in each spot before hurriedly moving on to the next. i seriously think if we had the time, he would have sniffed every single spec of every single thing in that dog run before finally coming back to me and sitting down.

the sniffing action kind of looked like this but with more intent and urgency and a face closer to the ground

i called his name. no response. 

i tossed a ball his way. no response.

i ran past him. no response.

i ran up behind him and stopped short. no response. 

desmond was on a mission, and i wasn't invited to help. i had treats with me, though it's only now occurring to me that i could have tried to get his attention with them and bribe him into physical activity. oh well. i figured that mental exercise would have to do for that day and made sure we ran or jogged all the way back without stopping.

a few days later, i decided to give it another go. he seemed particularly energetic that morning, and he was well-behaved the whole time we jogged over. during the jog, we passed a house whose front bushes had bloomed all at the same time, and it was gorgeous. i cursed myself for not taking my camera. the past few weeks i've been wishing i had my camera almost every morning, because there are so many fun things happening outside: the sunrise and the birdies and the blooming; desmond doing something ridiculously cute; and sometimes other people are throwing away some sweet furniture that i think we could refinish and i'd like to snap a pic for the husband in case we really do want to drive over and swipe it. alas, i suck and forget it every time.

on the block before the park entrance, there's a bunch of grass along the side of the road, on which a couple of cranes were hanging out. i cursed myself once again for not having the camera and braced myself for desmond's attempt to run away and capture/smother/lick/chew on/eat/love/play with the cranes, but he didn't even notice them.

not the cranes but some cranes. sandhill cranes, to be exact.

as we got closer to the actual dog run, desmond seemed to get really excited about being there, but once we got inside he just started sniffing around again. lame! we were again the solo visitors, but i was determined to get him to play and run around.

this time, i tried running away from him after strolling alongside his sniffing path for a while and this seemed to get his attention. he chased me. i tossed a ball past him and he ran right after it. (we're still not really fetching, exactly, but we're getting there). then i got him to chase me up the ramp, and from that point forward it was total playtime. excellent!

he was so into it that i was able to get him to run up and over the ramp after that without having to run onto it myself. then, i started tossing/rolling balls over to the other side of it, and he bolted after them. he even leaped up onto the ramp and off of the ramp a few times when he didn't feel like going around. the best part of the whole thing was when he tried to pick up the tennis balls. the dog run is all sand, and he was having a hard time, so he kept trying to use his paws to help him. unfortunately for him, the almost-digging movements he was using were pretty much pushing the ball down further into the sand. he would start using more and more force, sometimes popping the ball out and away from him. then he'd jump around and try from a different angle. at the end, his face was all covered in sand. it was glorious.

i had a hard time getting the pup to jog back home--which was troubling as we were passing Crane Land, and one of them was out in the middle of the street--but i was hoping he was really tired and therefore he would not spend the day trashing my house. although, part of me realizes that his being tired is because of his legs, not because of his energy. the trainer explained this to us after we asked about desmond's behavior when he plays with other dogs (how he gets bored with it pretty quickly and goes to lie down). he said that it's not boredom with the activity, it's that desmond simply doesn't have the stamina of a normal dog. his legs leave him no choice but to take a break. sad face (kind of like his perma one, seen below).

actually, that looks like an angry face. that face says, "if you don't stop taking pictures of me right this instant, i am going to bite you." i used the cell phone for this shot at the dog run. will post better pix soon.

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