Bella's visit

Annie's off on her normal Tuesday hike today, so Bella turned on the charm and gave me the big, big doe eyes. I tried to resist. I tried really hard. I woke up late, making our usual hike uncertain. I wasn't sure if we'd be back at the house in time for a call I had in the morning, so neither Bella, nor Shadow (who was at home with Blue), nor I went for our hike this morning.

Since Doyle said he'd be late into work, I didn't think he'd notice initially that there was a little tan doggie wandering under the desks. Bella spoiled my surprise by greeting him at the door, tail wagging and mouth grinning.

Unlike for previous visits, I managed to keep Bella from making lots of noise. She still clicked as her nails tapped on the ground when we walked down the halls. She didn't howl when I went to the bathroom, as she had done last visit, as I took her into the bathroom with me each time I went. Keeping her from going into the other stall when I was doing my business, however, was much more difficult. I can just imagine how scandalized another woman in the bathroom would be seeing a dog slide under the stall wall and come greet her.

Yeah, that would make friends and influence people.

 Constant vigilance

 Stinking poo

You know, picking up a stinking mass of dog poop on a walk has to be one of the least desirable actions when you're sick.

Even if the dogs are cute.

 Shadow joins us

As Kris, Annie and Blue were preparing to head off for the dogs' all-day, off-leash hike, I bundled up Bella and Shadow into my car and starting driving away this morning. We were going on the the short hike we went on before, mostly because it's short (about an hour long) and close (only about 20 minutes away).

As I pulled out of the driveway, Bella and Shadow in the back seat, I noticed the car smelled funny. I opened the vents, rolled down the windows, but nothing helped. I turned around to comment to Bella that she should stop farting, when I realized there was a pile of doggie puke, full of Bella's breakfast, in the back seat. Fortunately, she had chosen to throw up on the blanket I had in the back seat, which I removed after quickly returning home. Andy and Kris were puzzled when I returned after being gone all of one minute. Understandably.

Second try, we made it to the Open Space, and out of the car. Bella immediately began pull, pull, pulling. Shadow looked at me funny when I put the leash on him, but walked along beside me as we left the parking lot and started for the trail head. I wanted to keep the leash on him until we were at a minimum outside the obvious park rangers' locations. The parking lot is typically an easy place to catch dog owners with dogs off leash.

We managed to walk about 20 yards before Shadow was done with his leash. He stopped, dug all four paws into the ground, and tugged in reverse. Bella, meanwhile, was charging ahead, nose to the ground, straining to go faster. Three seconds later and my shoulders are taught with doggie tension, both pulling in different directions.

Assuming Shadow didn't want the leash on, I went back and took it off him. When I walked forward, he didn't follow. Dog! I walked fifty yards up the trail, then back the fifty yards to see Shadow sitting there, staring intently through the trees back at the parking lot. Nudging, pushing, cajoling, didn't help. He wasn't budging from that place.

Thinking this was going to be a really, really, really long hike, I put the leash back on him, and started tugging. Now, imagine a border collie on the end of a leash, digging in and pulling backwards with all his might. On the other end of the leash is a woman, with her feet dug into the ground, pulling backwards with all her might. In the woman's hands are not only the first dog's leash, but another leash with a smaller beagle dog howling at the two of them, "Arroooooooooo!" simply translated to, "Come ON! Let's go!"

Eventually Shadow lost the tug of war, and we started back up the hill.

For another 20 yards.

Then he dug his feet in again and pulled backward on the leash.

Well, crap. Maybe this hike wasn't such a good idea.

Shadow and I continued this leash on, leash off, digging, stopping, nudging dance for the next 300 yards, until I noticed behind us by about 50 yards was another hiker. With a dog. A dog Shadow wanted to herd.


I let the other dog pass, and suddenly Shadow was a great dog. He walked along next to me except when Bella peed on a spot. Then he had to sniff, sniff, sniff that spot. Annoying dog.

We continued along the hike with Shadow behind me until we reached the crest of the hill and the start of the loop trail we walk. As soon as we reached that top and walked along the top ridge for 30 yards, Shadow realized hey, hey, this is a flat hike, and zoooooom! he was in front of Bella, in front of me, in front of us and go go going.

Bella and I followed our fearless Shadow leader for the rest of the hike, and finished just over the expected hour.

Andy offered to watch Bella for the afternoon, since he'd be home watching Shadow anyway, so I dropped the two doggen off at his house and went to work. Not paying attention to my phone, I missed a call from him. When I called back, he said, oh, Bella didn't look good for a while, but then puked again and seemed fine. Hi, let me drop off my sick dog for you to take care of. I was embarrassed, but Andy said, hey, its part of having dogs, this cleaning up of the doggie puke.

Uh, okay. You clean up. I'll be here, embarrassed.

 Two doggen

Bella hates Annie. Annie tolerates Bella. That's pretty much the way it's been for the last four years. Bella was first, and thinks she's the alpha dog. Annie was second, but knows how to use her size and weight on Bella. They don't really play together, and usually each does her own thing.

Recently, the frost between the two of them has started chilling. Not really warm yet, but warming.

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