The smoke screen began to dissipate yesterday evening. The pup duo and I hiked up to a lookout point, one that I've been avoiding for months because I associate it with our departed S. I gazed at a mountain view that was gorgeous in a ghostly way. Moreover, I felt a hint of happiness at my memories of S visiting this spot, rather than solely sadness. Perhaps we'll start visiting this quiet lookout point more frequently now.
This morning, I arose before the sun, an event that only occurs when the days are short. K and I rolled out for a mountain bike ride just as the sun peeked over the horizon.Looking east from our local peak, I saw a hazy but gorgeous sight.And, to the west, the mountains had returned from their 'vacation' hiding behind the smoke. The purple hue partly reflected the colorful sunrise but also hinted that remnants of the smoky haze remained.
K and I enjoyed the early morning quiet and solitude on the trails. We rolled along peacefully, plunging from pockets of warm air to cold air, as we rolled from ridges to gulches.
We reveled in the deep green aspen groves, knowing that the leaves will change and fall soon.After riding, I took K to an advanced drop-in training class down in the city. I thought that her fears had dissipated to a level that would allow her to learn. But, I doubted my assessment while we were still in the driveway, and she repeatedly refused to jump into our vehicle. We have two 4Runners, and I was using my husband's for today. Subtle differences in the set-up of the seats and some cargo seemed to cause K to freak out. I acted like Temple Grandin, looking at the vehicle entrance from K's viewpoint and trying to 'fix' things that might be scaring her. Finally, after a bunch of seemingly small changes, she made the leap. But, given that simply getting out the driveway was an ordeal, I wondered if going to class was a good idea.
It turned out to be fine. Most of the dogs were younger than a year old, and K behaved confidently in the group, almost like an elder statesdog. She initiated interactions with the other dogs and acted bold. I was amazed. We've had many classes where she's hovered next to me, avoiding dog interactions, during playtime.Moreover, she was able to focus on me and follow my cues. Distance work is always hardest when she's underconfident but her stays remained solid even when I walked away. The one tell-tale sign of nervousness was that when I asked her to switch between down, sit, and stand from a distance of 15 yards or so, she'd sneak a step or two toward me each time during the transitions. That's no big deal given how fearful she was just recently.
I captured a photo of our friend Lilly, obsessing over a squirrel, but still holding her down-stay!