I can't believe how lucky we have been with the dry weather lately. It really makes life easier when I don't have to wrap the boot in Saran wrap and duct tape for each park trip, and save a ton of time hosing and toweling off the dogs. Not to mention less wet dog smell for all. I don't want to curse it, but I hope this trend keeps up! ballwalkpark has been going through some changes in the past few weeks, with Kendal joining the crew to help me while I am slightly gimpy, and Nancy has started taking daily park trips with Pepper, Jambo, Mokee, Woody and sometimes the little schnauzer puppies - Heinz and Rommel. Kendal is doing so awesome taking over the pack and the dogs just love her. She has just the right mix to discipline the dogs and still have the fun exuberant energy to play and have fun with the dogs. Nancy's dogs are are absolutely obsessed with her. They are her shadows, her entourage, her loyal followers. They get so excited when they see the other pack, it's all wiggles and fun, but as soon as Nancy starts to walk in another direction, they are like magnets, right by her side.
The newest addition this week has been the mini-schnauzer puppies, Heinz and Rommel. They are tiny, and shy at first, but have really opened up and seem to be having a lot of fun at the park! They are doing great in Nancy's pack. I have to admit, when she has them on leash, it looks pretty funny since they are so little and their legs move so fast and they wind in and out between each other!
Rex and Bonita have been on a roll lately. They have both been relentlessly stealing balls, dabbling with a little poop eating, and digging the occasional hole. Somehow those two always seem to get dirtier than the rest, even the other goldens.
Bonita has been pretty ridiculous about the ball stealing, to the point the other dogs have learned not to drop the ball when she is around, so I have enrolled her in my own version of bootcamp. In this case, I will call it "Bootcamp Bonita". What this means is basically that Kendal and I make sure to focus a lot of energy on the behavior we want to work on or change with Bonita. Every single time she steals a ball, we make her leave it and give her a treat and start over. In a normal situation, if she steals a ball that the other dogs didn't seem to care about anyway, she would take it over and seduce Harley into playing mouth-tug. Not this week. Bootcamp Bonita is learning to drop the ball like a big girl :)
Walker has rejoined the pack after spending the last two weeks at boarding while is mom is traveling. We ran into him at the park a couple times during those weeks, but we were so happy to have him back. He is sporting a new snazzy red coat. He had a great time running and being chased for the big blue ball with the Coopers, Sammy, Floyd and Bam.
Floyd, our new labradoodle, has been with the pack for a few weeks now. In the beginning he was very very attracted to Rex and was humping him nearly non-stop. He was recently adopted into his new home, received a new name, and has a lot of adjustments to go through. We moved him from the morning group to the afternoon group on Tuesdays so that he could meet some other pups and give Rex a break. He is doing much better in the afternoon group! He and Sammy are great retrieving/chase buddies. They both love the squeaky toy and it keeps them going in circles forever. I get tired just watching them. Floyd is very intense for the first 20 minutes or so - it's almost like he can't stop running even if he wants to - he just sprints in circles - round and round. There is almost no stopping him. After the initial period, he calms down and is a really well behaved pup who has learned recall pretty well and drops the ball and plays with the other dogs great. His owner texted me after the park today and asked how the "Furry Fury" had been - I definitely laughed at that! He was great :)
Milkshake was bouncing with energy. When he gets super excited he is literally like a Mexican jumping bean - bounding in the air on all fours. He got super excited when we found a huge stick that had probably been blown off a tree in one of the wind storms. He ran in circles almost taking other dogs out trying to invite them to play tug. He was missing his buddy Max, I'm sure!
In the past two years I've watched my pack change a lot and have gotten used to the ebbs and flows of new dogs and puppies adjusting to the pack and then eventually being the veterans who welcome the next generation. This constant flow makes for periods of time that can be very difficult, working to get new pups adjusted, or super easy going with all veterans. I love mixing up the easy times with a new challenge, and then I love when I realize the "new challenge" has settled in and things are running smoothly again. While I am used to this with my pack, I am not used to this with my humans (aka employees) and had a realization today. I was walking with Kendal and her pack, and realized my foot hurt and I would rather hang out with Nancy and her pack in the other field. All of "my" pack, even my own dog, Bailey, stuck with Kendal as she walked the other direction. I walked up I saw Nancy's pack attentively perched at her feet waiting for a treat. As I was walking in between the two, being that awkward person at the dog park without a dog, I realized that ballwalkpark is no longer just a girl with her pack of dogs. It's still all the same great dogs, but now spread between three girls who shower them with that much more love, attention and affection. I had that realization today that everyone is settled into the routine and things are pretty easy going right now... It's a great time to rest my gimpy foot, take some fun pictures of the pups playing at the park, and spend time with my amazing ballwalkpark family :)