Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Sweet Smells that Nourish my Soul.....

I smell things. Odors, scents, smells, aromas.....They elicit deep feelings and memories unlike any sounds or sights can bring. Fragrances can waft past me, and I can be flooded with delicious scenes in great detail.

There are several wonderful "dog smells" that elicit pure joy for me. The smell of a sleeping dog....Did you know that they smell differently when they sleep?! Perhaps a sort of protection to let others know they are not ready for immediate action... There's the Crown coat conditioner spray that is a signature scent of show dogs....And wet dogs, soggy from the rain or the bath. Adolescent puppies who smell like peepee and testosterone they cannot yet completely control. Paws that smell like toast. Ears pungent, warm and spicy. Leather leashes. Warm breath. A mane of fur to bury your face in.

I am amazed at how powerful the sense of smell can be. Amazed and quite thankful.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Almost Home from Camp

I attribute these feelings of "post Camp" rather akin to post partum blues......A Whole Year has gone by, and it only took a couple of weeks before we are counting the days till Camp again. I do not think I can ever write anything that even comes close to describing the experience I have each year. It is perhaps the most Positive Place on this planet, complete with everything Dog. And even if you have a dog who falls very short of being perfect, no one seems to mind or even judge. Mostly we just grin and tell each other we've been there before, too....

Prosper was perhaps the worst dog I have ever taken to Camp. Last year he was a puppy, around 8 mos old, and Very agreeable to all that he had to learn and experience. Of course, being the "thinking dog" that he is, he took it very slowly and "processed" everything new, but eventually he mastered it. THIS year, however, was quite different. Still the thinking dog---I'm guessing that will not change much, it's his method of operating--but NOW, he's a teenager, 19 months old. His world is altogether different now.

We started out Camp with my Very Favorite activity. An early morning walk in the Vermont woods with about 30 dogs off leash. It has always been so much fun, with the dogs tearing off to cavort thru the forest, then coming back to me, tongues hanging out, grinning broadly, exclaiming how much fun this is. The woods are cool, moist, green with ferns and lush undergrowth and thick, loamy soil. Spongey under your boots.

So, I elected to take Prosper on this walk Monday morning, first full day of Camp. We came to the area where we unsnap the leads, and Prosper took off like a shot to the front of the group. I never saw him again until an hour later when we finished the hike. He stayed up front with the "pack," wildly chasing and zooming with his dog friends and paid no heed to my requests to return to Mom and the confining leash. Some campers who were also towards the front took some video of mostly his backside, but I only got shots of him when we finally all gathered up at the end of the walk.

It took nearly 2 whole days to even partially "get him back" and convince him that I was, once again, the Center of his World. During that time, I wore blisters on my hands and even had to take my wedding ring off for a few days to let the sores heal......It was like skiing behind a 65# pulling Collie. Uphill and downhill. Life was so full of new and exciting activities and we were getting there waaaaay too late. Plus, there's that need to wet on every piece of grass and bush on the paths of the campus.