Monday, February 21, 2011

Outdoor Weekend

Jonah, Dave and I had an agility-free but still wonderful weekend.

On Friday, Dave got out of work early and we went to the beach!  I had no idea what to expect with all the snow, but it turned out that the beach itself was fully clear of the snow.  The dunes and surrounding area were still all white, but the beach was lovely sand.  The weather was beautiful--50 degrees!  That meant that the parking lot was a complete lake of mud.  Luckily Dave and I had worn our boots.  Jonah was not so lucky and Dave had to pick him up while I wiped his muddy paws before we put him back in the car when we were leaving.  Once we were out of the parking lot, though, the beach was lovely.  

They have an expansive area for off-leash dogs (you go left off the board-walk for the dog area, right for the horse area.  It's well planned!).  Mostly Jonah wanted to stay with us rather than meet new dogs, but he did make some casual acquaintances, and at the end made a good friend with whom he ran and wrestled for a good while.  

The beach was fantastic because it was the first time Jonah had been able to really run full speed in a good long time.  The snow really slows him down at home, and the agility rings are small enough that he's never flat out.  He had a ball chasing us up and down the beach.  You could see how thrilled he was to really put his ears back, flatten out and gallop across the sand.  We all got tired more quickly than we should; the combination of not having run much lately and the sand underfoot made for quite the workout.  

Jonah was a little unhappy when he was thirsty but the water was salty.  Yuck.  He did like wading in the water.  He didn't go in past his legs, but it was shallow a good ways in and he was happy to be wet.  There weren't really any waves to speak of, so he was more comfortable going in the water than he was the last time we went to the beach.  When he came out he was diligent about rolling in the sand so he was good and dirty.

Right when we were headed back to the car, Jonah met a nice dog that he got along well with.  As they were running the dog's mom asked if we did agility.  I thought that was kind of cool since it was out of the blue.  Apparently Jonah looked like an agility dog to her.  

- - -

After leaving the beach, we all drove up to Vermont for a quiet weekend away.  It was cold and snowy again once we got up there, but we got to enjoy winter the way you're supposed to.  We made warm fires, slept late, read books and enjoyed playing in the snow.

Dave and I rented snowshoes and we went for some great walks in the woods with Jonah.  He was able to run on top of the snow, and the snowshoes allowed us to get around without falling in past our knees. Jonah still thought we were way too slow, but it was a huge improvement from the alternative.  We spent a couple hours each day out on the trails behind our house, exploring.  There's a nice pond we like to hike to, and then on Sunday we tried a new trail that took us to a beautiful view on the other side of the mountain.  There was a hefty elevation change and we were sweating, but it was all worth it.  Jonah chased a flock of wild turkeys and went after a deer, but otherwise he was just as thrilled as he could be jogging along the trail in front of us, stopping frequently to look back at us and remind us of our inadequate speed.  He was grinning every time I looked at him.  It makes me feel guilty that we don't get to do things like that every day, but it's tough when it gets dark so early and most of the local trails are icy messes right now.

Other than our snowshoeing adventures, Jonah and I went for a brief morning run on Saturday.  The air was cold and hard to breathe, but the run got our blood flowing.  We were running on the snowy shoulder of the road, but there was a lot of sand and salt that got all over us.  Jonah was a mess when we came in and even after toweling him off we had to wash the comforter of the bed which he got all muddy.  

Then, on Sunday morning, we almost got a new friend.  Dave and I were just about to go down the hill for breakfast when we looked down the driveway and saw a dog.  She was a beautiful Bernese Mountain Dog.  At first we figured she must be from the house across the street, since she was sitting in the street between the two driveways.  We let Jonah go play with her and they had a nice time until Jonah started to get a little tired and her size started to bother him.  At one point she wrestled him into an icy snowbank and he cried a little.  She was clearly just trying to play, but it was a bit much for Jonah.  Anyway, they played for 20 minutes or so but there was no sign of the dog's people.  We didn't want to just leave her out in the road, so we thought we'd walk around the block with her and see if we didn't find her house.  Well, we went all the way around and saw no signs of people looking for her.  By the time we'd gone back to the house she'd been with us for over an hour.  We got the dogs some water and I called the clubhouse to see if anyone had called to report her missing.  Nope.  I left my number but no one ever called.  After I'd gone in to use the phone, she trotted off down another driveway and wouldn't come when I called, so we just hoped that she was on her way home and we went on with our day.  She had no sense of cars so I hope she got home alright.  There's not a lot of traffic up there, but I'd still be very nervous if Jonah just went missing.  It seems to funny to me that no one was calling for her or actively looking.  I guess it's just a different mentality.  As for me, I'll keep Jonah close by.

When we got home Jonah's collar had arrived.  It looks really good!  I'll have to post a picture soon.

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