Trip to the US - part 2

Laney looks the same as ever.

The trip back to the US was great. Even though we can keep in touch with people via email, phone, IM and web, you don't get to SEE them when you are living on the other side of the world. So it was good to be back in the US and to be able to sit and visit with family and friends. But one special case of visiting was to see Laney again. Although Lynn and Dan do a good job of keeping us up to date on her antics, you certainly can't keep in touch with a dog via IM. And I certainly did miss her when we moved to Singapore. It was one of the adjustments that I had to make. Since I had been at home for a year before we left, her and I were together virtually every minute of the day. So it was a big change for me when I moved here. And as I said, it's not like I can keep in touch with her on IM or pick up the phone and give her a call.

So all three of us were excited to see Laney when we got to Madison. And she seemed really excited to see us. She ran from one of us to another all excited and with her tail wagging. And she gave her special "grin" that she only does when she is really excited to see someone, where she curl up her lip so it almost looks like a snarl. But I've read that it is the dog equivalent of a human grin. And interestingly, dogs only use it with humans, not with other dogs.

Don't even think about touching my new toy.

But dogs are very adaptable. So after a very excited greeting she settled down pretty quickly. And after that it was pretty much like we had been there all along. With one exception. Everyone but Sandy and I was going to Minnesota the next day for a family reunion. And when people started packing Laney got very nervous. She always tended to get excited when someone would be packing, but she seemed more so now. I guess with a couple of major upheavals in her life, she is justified in getting nervous when people are packing up. She is a smart dog.

That night was kind of funny. Since she moved to Madison, Laney had appropriated a couch with a blanket on it as her place to sleep. Sandy and I went to bed early, as we were really tired after our long flights back to the US. We are used to our king size bed at home where we have lots of space, but were fine with a regular size guest bed. Then we heard a familiar sound of the door being pushed open, doggie footsteps, a jingle of her collar as she jumped, and then we had a dog in the bed with us. After poking both of us with her nose just to make sure that we were both petting her, she plopped down right in the center of the bed. And when she lies down, she can take up a LOT of room. Good thing I was tired as I ended up hanging half way off of the bed for the whole night.

I'm being so good she will have to give me a treat eventually.

She has really adjusted well to her new environment. There is an invisible fence around the yard and she stays well away from it. So she is fine out in the yard, even all by herself. She probably does scare some people as she will run at full speed towards the end of yard barking her fiercest bark and then pull up at the last second. And she is really good about getting cleaned up when she comes in the house. When it is wet outside she needs to have her paws wiped as most of the carpet in the house is a light color. Dogs don't like that but she is always very good to wait while she is wiped off and cleand up. She has gotten more independent though. Sandy and I took her to a nearby park where we took her off leash to run around. I used to do that with her all the time in Boise and she was always pretty good at coming back whenever I would call her. But when she started to wander off into people's yards and I called her back, no way. She was just zooming around. So I guess she did forget some things in the last six months. She really didn't come back until she had run where she wanted for five or ten minutes and was tired out. No more off leash - too bad for her.

Training for the Doggie Olympics.

I mentioned in the last post that we did a new Darth Dog tshirt. Sandy had a good idea for one, but I didn't have any good pictures of her for it. I had to dig out her pack. That got her excited - I'm sure she thought she was going hiking. But she was good when it turned out all I wanted to do was a photo session. She is a pretty good model for a dog.

Someone, I won't mention any names (but her initials are SANDY) was doing a pretty good job of spoiling her with new toys while we were there. She is always excited to get a new toy and will carry it with her everywhere for a couple of days - if it lives that long. If it is a stuffed toy it usually doesn't. She tears them up pretty quickly. She is a fierce predator after all.

Sandy also got her an agility course set. We took that out and set it up in the back yard. There was a set of stakes that you could set up at intervals that the dog is supposed to weave through. Then the best part is a jumping obstacle. Sandy and Shannon took turns running through the obstacle course with a treat in their hands so that Laney would follow them. She is a smart dog. She got the hang of it really quickly. Of course she figured out right away that she could just run alongside and not go through the obstacles. But she had learned a new trick. Run along next to people as they go through the obstacle course and you might get a treat! Actually, sometimes she actually did go through the course herself. I guess she figures that she has to humor her humans sometimes. And when I say she is a smart dog I am not kidding. I got a tshirt with a cartoon on it that shows what dogs have to think about to be able to do an obstacle course.

It was good to see Laney again and to know that she is healthy and happy in her new home in Wisconsin.