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Monday, September 1, 2014

Dakota's first weekend - Part 2

This is what Dakota looks like waiting for Rich to come home after he’s just left 10 minutes Hehehe.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014 @ 1:38 PM

Hi hi.  This is me and this is the second part of trying to capture some of Dakota’s first weekend.  I can’t believe we’re already up to Wednesday.  We’ve just finished getting the last couple of entries into the blog.  I’ve read them through a few times so have a general idea where we’ve left off.  I think the last entry was written sometime after getting back on Monday from the airport for Katherine.  We talked briefly for a few moments yesterday while we were driving to know that she got back probably about 4 hours later than expected.  She had problems getting out of O’Hare.  There were thunderstorms and I guess that really slows down traffic now days.

The gist we got was that everything was fine and we were happy to hear her voice, and we said we’d talk to her later, but things are mentally a little bit out of control, in that the system isn’t letting more time go by WITH Katherine until we get the weekend recorded.  We want to catch-up but it’s not time.  So let’s get this writing going.  It’s already mid-afternoon.  Some of the things happened as scheduled, but for the most part, we are trying to create our schedule as we go along to provide some security for Dakota. 

This morning, Rich had to wake us up about 6:30 am.  He was leaving and wanted to tell us that he’d let out the dog and had secured him in the cooler sun room.  We were startled because we couldn’t think of all the implications.  For a few moments we just lay there coming out of the morning daze.  We had been so pleased that Dakota had been able to stay in the crate until we were up, showered, dressed and ready for the day.  From Rich’s perspective, he saved Dakota from HAVING to be in there.  We’ll talk about it later.  When asked he said that Dakota was out for about 5 minutes and he couldn’t tell us whether he had gone to the bathroom.  That wasn’t acceptable either, but we didn’t want to discourage Rich from taking some time with Dakota.  Dakota did look comfortable when we got up and looked out to the sunroom.  Good Rich.  Be nice Ann! 

Much later in the day – to properly orientate you; we’re at the computer listening to Ariana Grande – first time.  Dakota is lying directly under us, so that I’d run over his ear if I moved.  He seems to be ok with the music.  The washer and dryer are going and the dishwasher has run its cycle.  I looked through yesterday’s mail and put it where it belonged, and the kitchen area is cleaned-up.  The living room is good except the few blankets and I hadn’t gotten to the bed in the bedroom yet.  I also have to do the sheets in Katherine’s Guest room, but I don’t have enough clothes to go with it.  I’ll have to do that maybe tomorrow or Friday. 

I still don’t know what is going to happen with the Girls this weekend.  Maury called on the way home from the airport and stated that he broke his hand playing the drinking game – Mercy.  Oh Mercy … yah, that’s what we have to say too.  He’s out of work now on disability for about 6-7 weeks.  Yeah ... Ok, that could have been better thought out Maury and Alex??!!  *sigh* the good side is that he gets more time with the girls.  So again, as to the weekend, they could all come out, or he might keep them.  I think they are excited to meet Dakota though so maybe they will still come out.

In other recent news, the recumbent bike came in – the treadmill has not.  I don’t want to startle Dakota now that we got everything settled, but next time up we’ll grab the phone on the counter to call the company.  I haven’t heard any word from them yet.  It will come up with Rich when he comes home and sees the first box.  I know, I know … where’s the second box? 

Hmm we’re going to listen to Coldplay now for a while.  We updated our playlist.  We also turned the shuffler on.  I like the more relaxed song, but it’s been a while since we listened, so we’re expecting a variety.  Dakota doesn’t seem to mind.     

There … we took a washroom break, popped some popcorn and filled our water glass.  I might have to start another list just to get a full day in.  Let’s see think about the weekend, do the clothes, empty the dishwasher, don’t forget to steam the clothes, pick-up the mail and go around the block, and then teach something to Dakota – maybe out front, or - inside?  I want a learning place, but I also want to be unfettered by the chains.  Hmm, Maybe I have to cut up some treats.

Friday, August 29, 2014 @ 11:33 am

Hi hi … it’s us again.  I just read through the above and figured it wasn’t enough to send out on its own.  Today sounds much the same, but it is two days later – Friday.  We have established a pretty good routine when we are home, in that, we got up and did some Internet, then took Kota for a scooter walk, then we fed him and us, then picked-up the house, did the dishes (machine and hand-washed), am on my second load of clothes (one’s folded), and we made the bedroom good again.  Not much else though.  Oh … did kitty litter and garbage that ALWAYS counts.  We’re in a spectacular habit of picking up the dog poos after we get back from our walk.  It seems pretty standard, but I am going to ask rich for some of those loose see-through disposable gloves, instead of using one bag to pick up the poo and one for it to land. 

AHA!  Ordered 500 disposable gloves – the kind I wanted.  It came to $8.10 and there’s no delivery charge for a 2-day delivery.  It is part of having Amazon Prime.  Probably get her then on Tuesday with Monday being a holiday?  It will be a good deal - much neater.  Soooo THAT is done!  For the bags, we can still make Rich feel good by using garbage bags.  That part doesn’t seem to matter though it is nicer to have a folded down bag until we need it.  AND there’s a chance when you grab an old grocery bag that it has a hole in it, but we’re pretty used to checking it so Missy’s litter doesn’t fall through. 

Well folks, just get used to it.  We’ve More than doubled our animal “POO” level, so it might just come up some days – we’ll try to be more conscientious though – sorry!

So we’re all caught up today as far as the tasks performed.  Rich said that it was ok that Dakota stay outside for a bit for a “good” place to lounge.  I don’t like that as much as he does, but he’s out in the sunroom today, so Dakota has a visual.  Better go check him now though because it’s been about 45 minutes.  Ah he’s doing pretty good … Think we’ll leave him, because somehow I think it gives Rich some company.  When I looked, Dakota was standing up on the top of the porch looking down the stairs/block.  He then stretched comfortably and then laid down again facing the stairs.  He’s not looking toward the door – although he gave that a check.  Pretty much he’s out there just having a good time.  I think Rich is right in getting used to the place.  This back yard is now HIS place.  I was never so happy to own that back porch.  It’s gotten more use this week than the whole entire year and a half we’ve lived here.  NICE!

We did talk to Linda a little bit before we did the housework.  She is having a stay at home day – though she has errands and Granddaughter today.  She just finished a quilt for someone after the machine gave her some trouble.  Her Tony fixed the machine and all is sparkly again!

There’s not much news from my sister other than she’s pushed her 4th surgery and in the process she broke her other shoulder and tore her knee up.  Think it had to do with the laundry room area and letting the dogs out.  I know she’s still reading, but not sure how much or exactly how she’s doing it.  I’m guessing when we finally call; she will be on speaker phone.  We should call her this afternoon.  Just want to make sure, all considered she’s doing all right.  She’s comparing this week to the worst since childbirth.  Don’t envy her a bit, but thinking maybe NOW she’ll let other people do things?!  I don’t know for sure. 

I’m dying to know how Katherine is too … We REALLY owe her a call, but had wanted to finish this letter first.  I feel so badly because we’re not being very responsive.  I know she has a lot of work to do at home, but we are missing her.  Today, with the Grandkids coming tomorrow, we figured we really had to wash the guest room linen.  BUT, it still spelled like the pretty stuff she wears.  *sigh* Dakota and I did it together.  Hate to complain, but Maury is like NOTHING smelling good like Katherine!

As to Maury’s group, we did hear back from them a couple nights ago and the plan is for him to bring the girls AND dogs about 7 pm and then later he would be going home on a date.  I don’t think he’s planning on staying long, AND he is bringing the girls earlier to the Renaissance Fair.  I know Ame had been there before, but not as a family unit, so they should be having a really good time.  We don’t know yet if his dogs are staying.  It will depend on how they get along with Dakota.  He will either leave them or bring them home.  Not sure yet.  I think Dakota needs more dogs in his pack, and we’re hoping to have more sessions with Joe and Cari’s dog too.  That’s harder though because I think we’re on the bottom of their social scale.  MAYBE sometime we’ll get their Ramsey and our Dakota together.  I think Joe’s walking Ramsey now – just not sure how long he’s been doing that.  I don’t think he’s done it all along.

We’ll have the girls for morning and afternoon Sunday, and then their father will come back about 4 pm for dinner here.  Rich says he’s serving Roast and usually he makes corn on the cob because he knows the girls like it, though Swenson’s the family he usually buys from is reported to be done for the year.   Not sure if Rich will go to some of the other roadside places, or if he’s back to the grocery store, but we’re setting the bar high enough to think we’re going to be disappointed with the change.  We’ve had a good amount of corn all year.

Maury and family will leave soon after dinner and we’ll make sure that part of the weekend is getting in their showers.  I would like to do homework here too, but we’ve not heard much about it.  We’ll maybe bring it up at Sunday dinner, because I would like to help if we could.  I’d like to think homework can be enjoyable and not something pushed hard on Sunday nights.  I don’t think Isa has so much, but Ame is probably working into it AHA!  Rich said he’s going to let in the dog YAY!!!  Definitely have to do some petting – though I just heard him ask Dakota about his leash being caught up.  He’s going to fly in!   AHA!  He did in that!  We gave him a good petting, and then he went for some of this morning’s leftover breakfast, and we took the tomatoes and cucumber Rich’s mother’s friend sent over and we made a nice salad adding onions and green and red peppers.  YAY we’re back to being the good Ann.  So far we haven’t eaten anything besides raison bread.  We’re having a good day – and the BEST would be to record again, right?

Good Good … ok, we ate lunch, added the calories, AND added a food note for today.  I think we’ll take one more break right now and fold the last load of clothes before Rich eats in 15 minutes or so.  BRB

There!  Did most of the stuff … AND put things away, but did not get the guest bed made.  That will be on our next up.  The counter though is clean and we expect Rich any moment if he’s on schedule and not carried away with his work load.  We’re a bit out of breath, but are feeling confident in our Domestic Godestry.  Ahh Dakota is checking out the place too.  That’s funny … he went to Lady’s favorite spot near the sliding glass door to Max’ favorite spot on the opposite side of the coffee table.  To be fair, we did turn on the fan that Maury left and the fan in the LR.  Maybe they know something I don’t.  It’s good.

We have 939 calories left with the day, but are ashamed I’m only just now drinking our first glass of water.  We had three cups of coffee and one diet coke, BUT it’s still not the same as water.  I’ve got to remember what this all groove was like.  I did like the feeling that I’d accomplished our day, and I did like getting on the scale and it showing a loss.  It will be a trial with a weekend coming up with Granddaughters.  I think we still need to have chips and ice cream in the house, but MAYBE I can handle it better?  I don’t know … BUT with 939 calories, knowing we’re going to have a great 2nd day of jambalaya – it would seem we have enough for a snack tonight AND Rich did say we have watermelon again!  YAY!  Right on track for the day!  I’m so glad that Rich suggested a subject of diet with Dr. Marvin, we might have gone there too, just usually when Rich says, “Tell Dr. Marvin …” and then we do it to be fair.  Not always pleasant, but fair.  No reason in this psychological economy, Rich has to labor on my issues.  PLUS, this morning he volunteered his weight AND he knows we’re competitive with it – with him being 3 pounds less.  I think if we stood on it, we could be down 3 pounds by the end of next week when we get the treadmill.

Thinking now … maybe we should put the guest blanket out to air and the pillows?  Probably is good guest etiquette!  BRB Hmm, back, we found our puppy too!  But he’s starting to understand better – whether he likes it or not – the term – “Go on!”  AHH he chose a place to lay down directly in front of the fan AND we have the air on … good deal for him!  I sure hope he likes Lady and Max.  I can’t see any reason he wouldn’t.  He is having problems with Don the neighbor to the south.  I don’t know if it’s because of all the walking around the house he does, but now twice when we’ve met Don in our yard or the street, he puts out a low growl.  He can be petted, but he shouldn’t be doing that with ANYONE particularly someone being this close a friend.  We’ll have to ask Katherine about it.

He sure looking like he needs some good rest - I think Katherine also said something about it and that when they are not doing something with you it is common that they rest.  Wow, wish I could be saving up that kind of energy, BUT I’m not the one who walks 2 miles a day at a fast clip!

THERE!  We did it, we called CS.  She didn’t answer, but we asked her to call us back when she could.  Just don’t know how she’s handling everything.  Maybe she’ll call sometime today?

I think my mother is good … we did talk earlier this week I think Tuesday or Wednesday.  I really appreciated that she spent most the phone call talking about Dakota – for good or bad, meaning not EVERYTHING he’s doing so far is perfect, though it’s been several days – since Monday that he’s had an indoor accident.  I don’t think he does it as his first choice, just hasn’t learned to whine to go out, and I’m not sure how else to handle that - Maybe another question that needs asking?  Is there any other dog news?  Not really, he has been half way up and half way down in hanging around as I do my chores.  I think he thinks it’s his responsibility to keep track of me, but for the most part if I’m working in the kitchen/dining room where he usually lies, he just follows me with his eyes.  I think that Katherine did a lot of housekeeping at her place, and so he’s used to those general movements.  He’s working really well with the “lie down command” when I’m working in the laundry room … he’s just really good at so much.

Hmm, Rich is in now and he’s made lunch and is watching a fishy show for his lunch break.  He had remarked on the condition of our guest pillows we had outside and we then told him we need two MORE pillows, because the pillows were flat and not enough for guests to be comfortable.  Then we said that we’re using our green couch pillows (in pillowcases) for the girls.  Then he said he needs to pick up five pillows for each of us – one for guest, one for each of the two girls, one for him and one for me.  We said you can’t get an odd number of pillows and make the guest bed and that we needed TWO, but I already have two and didn’t need anymore.  There was then some more grumbling and discussion, but I was happy with 5 meaning none for me and two for guest and girls and one for him.  He had said something during that time about pillows being $20 a piece, and then we said the girls have pillow cases I got when we got their bedding, but we need four matching pillow cases in the guest room, but then he started complaining again.  BUT, we only have a couple matching pillow cases.  Then he said he doesn’t make enough money to spend $200 for bedding.  We told him that there was going to be five pillows at $20 and that it didn’t cost an additional $100 for four pillowcases.  Sometimes he exaggerates to make his point, but that to me just crumbles his argument.  I think he’s thinking though too that we need another casing (sheet/mattress cover) on our bed, because he doesn’t like the way ours works.  Fine with me – go ahead and SPEND $200 on bedding, but I didn’t start this!


Maybe we’ll wait a little bit before we remake the bed.  I think the only other thing we need to do – two things – one is empty the dishwasher and the other is the always HARD steaming of clothes.  Maybe if we can put a deadline of like 1 ½ hours or so we can still start the steaming and watch some HG TV.  We almost forgot though that we’re trying to do our walking with the walker about 3 pm (its 1:45 pm now).  Maybe we could do the walk at 4 pm and have it closer to dinner.  I like the part like yesterday that with Rich gone, we stayed out on the patio with Dakota till Rich came home – AND then dinner got made.  Tonight is leftovers, but we’ll probably eat at 5 – 5:30 pm.  Good schedule.  There are advantages to Rich being home for the day.  He HAS been busy with work.  A couple new jobs have come in and he’s got a lot to keep track of AND he has to always be making cold calls looking for more business.  If it weren’t for owning money from last year, we’d be doing better, but for the time being we’re still paying off business debt.  It’s just what happens though.  I believe in him as a hard worker!

Maybe we should jump a LOT more directly into some earlier Dakota thoughts to get to the point we’d originally started with as to finishing his first weekend OR week up!  I think we went through the part where it was Saturday last week, and Katherine was here, and we’d gone to Walmart Pharmacy and Pet Smart.  I know we’d listed some of the things that we’d gotten, but we hadn’t yet talked about going out for meals.  The first meal was a trip to Bull Moose.  What a very very nice time we had.  We sat toward the back of the train room where there was more room for Kota, and he had very very nice manners.  He wanted to look and see what was on the table, but for the most part he lay down next to me and allowed Katherine and us to have the most WONDERFUL lunch.  The lunch included each of us having two Bloody Marys.  Yup yup THAT’s how GREAT a lunch it was.  We felt it was leisurely and the restaurant wasn’t overly crowded so we just sat back and relaxed and talked and talked. 

I can’t even begin to think of all the conversations we got to have with Katherine – there was just so much learned about her, and just the same, she learned more about us.  AND, of course, Dakota was ALWAYS coming up in the discussion.  I like it when Katherine talks about personal stuff AND when she talks about her business.  I just think it’s’ the most wonderful job a person could ever have, so we’re always asking her questions about the dogs and how she does things and how everyone gets along.  It really helped too in thinking through Dakota’s experience and what kinds of changes he was making.

There are so many good things that he’s been trained for that we don’t want to wreck things up.  Like one of the things that we’ve gone back to that Katherine was doing was the idea of putting him in the crate and our dinner time with Rich.  He really makes it a non-issue to be in the crate, but if he’s out, he gets pretty excitable – mostly because Rich and us eat a lot in the living room and with that little bit of informality, he has a hard time knowing his official boundaries.  I think it’s key to remind the reader that he’s just a puppy.  I think we went through that already, but in general he’s 15 months old. 

I just talked to Rich about going out to eat.  We thought maybe tomorrow night before the girls got here would be a good time, because I know he’s working through the day on projects, but he said that he had already thought he was going to make a couple of steaks.  It is REALLY hard to turn THAT down!  But, we planted the first real seed post-Katherine that we’re going to have to go out at least once a week to keep him trained.  I’m hoping that will be enough.  I think he does really well with the walking.  We’ve mentioned that before, but he’s getting practice with that every day.  I think we’re going to have to pick a few days – maybe bad weather days and do some of our walking in stores.  We’ll talk to Rich more about that later, like if he has things – one or two things he wants us to pick-up at Walmart or Arts – the local grocery store.  I should bring him to other stores too, but that might take a longer conversation with Dr. Marvin to plan out.  We don’t have money to be buying a lot of stuff, but maybe like those gloves we ordered earlier, we should have maybe planned to go to a store for that.  Probably they sell them at Walgreen’s?  I don’t know that’s ONE of the stores, I wanted to go to, just not in practice so don’t know what we could be picking up.  We should talk to Dr. Marvin AND Rich.  It’s part of the whole activity program, right?  Let’s not get too overwhelmed.  The good part for this first week is that we’re taking the scooter AND the walker walks.  Pretty good deal!

The second trip out with Katherine last Saturday to a restaurant was to the Santa Fe here in Sandwich.  Neither restaurant questioned us bringing in a service dog (he had his vest on), but we had to get things established that was made much easier by having Katherine there.  We were having a hard time being able to say the words like could we be put somewhere out of the way.  And, then between her and the waitress, they took away each time the extra chair so he could have more space next to me.  He is always causing a stir no matter where we are.  This was especially true when we went out for dinner.  The only table available was right behind the lady who seats people.  We’ve had that table before.  It seems we never make it back to the side places … just always get sat in the middle (not so private). 

We had the most “trouble” with the guy and his wife sitting in back of us.  I think his wife alerted him that he and I were back to back with the dog.  He actually turned around in his chair and put his feet up on the chair directly in back of me.

Hehehe – just talked to Linda for a few moments – it was like a power-talk.  It only lasted a few moments, but both of us were revved.  Each has had a good productive day and she has her GD today and we have our GDs tomorrow – so both feeling enthused there.  She had to go to pick-up Teadora AND shop, where we’ve got some rest of the afternoon stuff to manage too.  BUT, we were actually talking about the weekend so we will go back to that - Hmm, maybe after doing the dishes though.  Hold on…

AHH!  BACK!  We let Dakota out, cleaned the dishwasher, put the sheets on the guest bed AND pet Kota for a bit.  He’s really getting better with the “go on!” command though we see that he’s right in back of us stretching out.  He is also enjoying the bush we have out back because it offers shade … Hehehe – going over to see if he can get some free pets from Rich … no go there, stopped for some water, now ???  What’s next for the dog that has everything!??  Hmm, checking out the kitchen AND the kitty guarded community - nothing to be had there.  I think he’s like got his “grounds” to cover.  I did wash under the kitchen counter ledge to keep him from getting sick from stuff picked up there.  Hmm, then he came and gave us a sniff, AND then he walked around the coffee table and checked out the front door, came gave me another sniff, then Rich – think this has to do with his herding.  There ya go; he lay down next to Rich.  Sweet!  He’s such a good dog!  Guess he’s back to dognapping.  Everything is all ok within his realm.

Ok, back to the guy at the restaurant.  He was probably drunk, but the thing was that he put his feet up in the chair next to him and he was turned to us and that was like going to be like he added us to his table.  One of the first things he did was crumble chips in a bowl and give it to us for the puppy.  Katherine took that and put it aside.  I figured right … no snacks from the table while he’s on duty – OR for that matter at any time.  Katherine does recommend if there’s extra food at the normal table at home that they are put in his dinner dish mixed with his regular food.  She discussed that it was part of keeping him cleaned up – something to do with exposing him to many different types of food.  BUT, the dogs don’t get to beg at the table.

We noticed that while the guy was talking, Dakota had been asking me to pet him, and then finally, he lay down and we turned JUST toward Katherine and she was able to finish up the conversation with the guy.  But, then there was ANOTHER lady who came over from several tables away.  She just wanted to tell us how excited she was about our dog and how well she noted he was behaving.  I think people feel a little bad about their own dogs under these circumstances, because they like this lady are pretty sure they’d be begging for food at ANY table they saw.  I was really proud that Katherine had taught Kota so well not to beg and to lie down at the restaurant after making sure we were ok. 

We had a great meal and we ordered a couple of Margaritas each.  They were small, but we still asked Katherine to drive us home, because the day was starting to weigh on us.  I don’t think we went out to dinner until like 7 pm or so.  The time with Katherine was just so perfect and she seemed naturally more able to turn the dog over to our own well-being.  We pretty soon on figured that we pet the dog a lot more than she would normally.  It’s not because she was mean or anything, just that we were really lavishing Dakota with attention, because we were eager for the bonding process and just felt so happy with him.  Dakota really did know that Katherine was still there overseeing though, because if she raised her eyebrow, Dakota would like know when he was messing up.  She was doing somewhat the same with me.  She was patient as we struggled with getting our “adult voice” as did Dr. Marvin.  She was especially good as we were working with Dakota on the common behaviors of sitting and lying down.  We have to work at not repeating ourselves, because we want the dog to respond the first time.  So like with the down gesture of pointing, we will also say down, but not repeat it though holding our finger pointing to the ground.  Kota really seems to be getting it.  He’s a little quick on getting up afterward though – so we’re working with “Stay.”

I don’t remember everything about how Saturday went and I think we told you about Katherine going over everything that had been on our “wondering list” that we’d made up with Dr. Marvin.  She was SOOOO patient with us, and that’s why dinner was so late.  Katherine doesn’t stay up too late, and we’re pretty sure we kept her up later than normal.  She did get chances to talk to Brian her husband, and that probably normalized her life more than anything, but I always had the feeling that whenever I had another question or something to talk about that she was ready with a listening ear.  She was such a perfect guest!  AND, to be honest there is one extra Katherine bonus.  We were getting REAL hugs at the appropriate moments.  I’m holding them so dear to our heart.  I can feel her holding us and wiping away some of our insecurities.  She never lost balance with the part that everything that was happening and happening quick was new and different for both Dakota and us.  Everything was just soooo soooo nice!

Sunday morning we woke up feeling things were already in a routine.  The first thing was that I was taking showers – EVERY morning first thing.  We had to explain to Katherine that was new, because usually we went to the computer first.  We did very little computer time while Katherine was here.  By Sunday, we had gotten up to do the shower, get dressed AND take Dakota outside.  He did all his good dog stuff right away.  Monday morning when we woke up it was the same, but we woke up at 2 am.  Dakota had patiently though waited until we were ready for him, and it was us that asked if he wanted to come out of the crate.  YAY DAKOTA!!!  BUT … back to Sunday.

With Katherine there was always something to talk about.  I LOVED that we got to share a couple cups of coffee and after a while we would have cereal and then after that came our scooter walk with Katherine and Dakota.  I was soooo impressed with Katherine’s well-being, fitness and general physical and mental health throughout the weekend.  Like running two miles wasn’t a problem for her.  Even when we turned to go back, she still ran the distance.  I don’t remember doing something like that since high school … she’s just so gosh darn impressive.  The second day there was one bad guy out on the road – he slowed down with Katherine on one side of the road, and then sped up yelling something out the window about finding a sidewalk.  That was the only mean thing that happened all week.  This morning was great in that another person yelled out the window – about how great it was that we were doing what we were in being out with the dog.  That makes up for the negative comment a lot.

I don’t know what it is about being out on the scooter with Dakota.  We usually start off by saying, “let’s go,” but pretty much as soon as the machine is powered to go forward, he’s already conditioning himself to keep pace with the vehicle.  We have a pretty good idea now how far we should hold the leash, but he's been kept pretty close.  Sometimes he will bump our leg, but mostly he keeps true.  We are both actually on the street part.  I had thought at first he’d like the side area of grass and such, but that’s not his preference.  All the time he is quick walking, he keeps his nose pointing forward.  We’re learning not to slow down when he thinks he can get interest in the side of the road, but he doesn’t do that very often.  When we come up to a bump – like the speed bumps in the park, we say, “bump.”  I’m thinking he’s getting pretty used to that, because he slows down knowing that we go over them slower.  He’s just so smart! 

So far we’ve taken him around the park, then down a mile to the end of the road (country mile roads), and then we take him once around the park to get him back into his neighborhood, and then we stop next to our back yard where he goes to the bathroom.  We’ve got a dish outside and we pour him some water … he usually only takes a few slurps until he’s more rested.  The water bottle we keep in our basket and we keep a couple bags in our basket.  After he’s clipped on to his regular leash, we go pick-up any poos we see and we bring it to the garbage in the garage.  Then we go in and wash our hands, and then go back out to put the scooter in the garage – w/o Dakota because we want him to understand sometimes we do things without him.  Then we come back through the garage to the sunroom and go in and sit.  If he’s busy he’ll let that be known, but usually, he seems to know already that after we get back from our walk, he gets his breakfast. 

All around it is just a very enjoyable process.  After that *giggle* he takes a rest unless we’re moving around.  When Katherine was here, we probably did some getting things in order, and she would take her shower after she cooled down from her run.  I think Rich was around Sunday and I remember the part about them discussing the day before having pork roast, sauerkraut and dumplings … it was like a favorite food she’d had in the past and hadn’t had for a long time, so it was decided that we would stay at home for dinner after being in Chicago.  Rich took the time to put our scooter up behind his SUV and he prepared the roast so it would cook while we were gone.

A lot of being in the car with Dakota in the back seat was about bonding with him, and letting Katherine and Rich talk and talk about fishing, or whatever.  Hehehe – this time I loved it.  It isn’t often that a girlfriend will get in such an in-depth conversation with the guy, but we had the feeling that Katherine would fit in with almost anyone she talked to, because she had so many experiences, interests, and abilities.  Ok and we were super happy about petting, petting and petting.  This was a new marvelous dog that we couldn’t quite believe yet was ours.  Sometimes we find ourselves talking to him.  Not as much babying, though there is a lot of asking him if he knows what a good dog he is and he’s told a lot how beautiful he is – JUST because we can’t help ourselves. 

I had thought we’d go take the scooter on Foster Beach where we used to live and walk alongside the lake, and then we’d go to the dog park, and then Dr. Marvin’s and then dinner out.  As just mentioned dinner was out, and somehow in the process Rich and/or Katherine took it that we were combining the two beach experiences into one.  We couldn’t find the voice to communicate that everything was all wrong.  We’d been going through the beach area where there was a LOT of people, no parking because we were at the wrong beach, and they were talking about us going to the dog park which was now terrifying us, because we knew there wasn’t any place to sit.  Between Rich and Katherine, they had to coax us to believe that something would work out.  Rich pulled up to the area by the dog beach; we were terrified and asked Katherine to take the dog.  Then we saw the general layout and noticed that there was a breaker wall we could sit at, and we asked Katherine to take Dakota in for a walk in the dog park, because we wanted to see him run free.

FORTUNATELY, Katherine seemed intuitively to understand our experience and agreed to the arrangement.  She went in the dog park and let Dakota go free.  I was so proud of them for being able to do it.  Just we hadn’t planned right – should have brought a chair for the beach.  But, Dakota started moving and smelled some other dogs, and then Katherine took him deeper into the beach and after we lost sight she took him into Lake Michigan.  He wasn’t really thrilled with Lake Michigan, but followed Katherine nonetheless.  About three times, Katherine turned around and waved at us and we waved back.  She was pretty smart to know that we’d be watching them sincerely with all our heart!  She was doing something for us that we weren’t able to do ourselves yet and there was soooo much appreciation!

After a while, Katherine brought Dakota back, and she sat on the breaker with us.  Man oh man what a marvelous magical moment that was.  Dakota patiently laid there between us and we did manage to get one beach picture before the camera battery failed again.  This is our beach picture!

It was just sooo cool!  There were a lot of people and dogs, but Katherine and Rich helped to make it manageable for me.  It was one of those places where if you had a dog you would want to try!  I’d thought that for a long time, and then Katherine made it come true.

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