Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Our Daughter's Dog, Marley

Well, actually our daughter's dog's name is Rose Bud.  But if you have seen the movie "Marley and Me", you probably have a better understanding of why we prefer to call her Marley.
Words that come to mind when trying to decide how to best describe Rose Bud include: chaos, havoc, destructive, horrible, and mischievous.  And that's just the beginning! 

Dacey brought Rose Bud home when RB was only six weeks old and still a cute, fluffy, ball of innocence.  Boy, can looks be deceiving!  She was sweet enough in those early days, but that's what she wanted us to think.  As the past twelve months have passed, we have indeed come to realize that our daughter's dog is a ten ton, demolition crew in a forty pound, dog body.

I have often said that dogs take on the personality of their owner.  This is a point that cannot be lost on Dacey and Rose Bud.  Dacey is a beautiful hearted, kind, sweet spirited, young lady.  But she is also a loose canon - very ambitious yet easily distracted - a friend to the very end, but lives life full speed ahead.  She often acts before she thinks and tends to at times be a bit 'high-strung'.  Rose Bud didn't stand a chance.

Having owned and successfully trained several golden retrievers over the years, Tommy and I thought that Rose Bud would be one more in a glorious line of well behaved, well mannered, obedient dogs.  Rose Bud had other things in mind.  She is very bright but very stubborn.  She knows the commands: sit, down, and stay -- but doesn't often find them useful.  And walking Rose Bud on a leash?  There is no 'walking' Rose Bud on a leash.  She sprints at break neck speeds pulling the 'who-cares-how-experienced-handler' on the other end of the leash on the ride of their life. 

After seeing an agility demonstration at camp over the summer, my family became very intrigued by the idea of competing as a team with our dogs in such an active sport.  When classes were announced to begin, Dacey was the first to request that she and Rose Bud be allowed to participate.  Thinking structured agility classes may lead to a more well balanced and disciplined dog, we registered and made the commitment to drive the 180 mile round trip for the next six weeks. 

Week one proved more of a challenge than I was prepared for.  Dacey was unable to control Rose Bud on the leash, so mommy stepped in to save the day.  That bloomin' dog proceeded to drag me around that course for the next hour.  By the time we finished, I'd had the best work out of my life but didn't know which way was up!

Over the next several weeks, Rose Bud did show improvement. Well, until this past weekend anyway.  I don't know who spiked the dog treats, but for the "graduation day" of agility class, Rose Bud proved to be full of herself and filled to over-flowing with mischief.

It started when each dog was required to run the course individually in order to demonstrate their ability to complete each obstacle before moving up to the next level class.  Dacey was sitting outside the fenced area with Rose Bud waiting her turn. 

While watching the other dogs show what they'd learned during the previous five weeks, Dacey wrapped Rose Bud's leash to the lawn chair she was resting in.  When I realized how unstable the chair was I tried to warn my darling daughter.  Alas, I was too late. Rose Bud bolted.  The chair rolled to its side.  Dacey grabbed the leash and was then pulled for ten feet - until Rose Bud stopped running and Dacey was able to regain control of her uncontrollable canine.  I wanted to help..really I did.. but I was found to be helpless as I was bent over laughing hysterically while trying not to wet my pants. 

Dacey regained her composure quickly and came back to sit and wait her turn.  Only Rose Bud had lost interest in 'waiting her turn'.  You could almost hear the faint sound of "doggie giggling" as she wormed her way loose of Dacey's grip, used her nose to open the closed gate, and ran onto the agility course smack-dab in the middle of one of her classmates "graduation ceremony".  I shrank into my chair as Dacey ran wildly after her delinquent dog. 

Rose Bud has her good moments.  Sometimes she'll sit with Dacey as Dacey completes a school assignment or reads a book.  It is so peaceful watching them relax together.  Unfortunately, the moment never lasts long.  Just yesterday as I watched the two in that exact scene it unfolded into disaster just two minutes later as the cat ran past.  Rose Bud bolted, overturning tables and anything else in her way.  For the next five minutes we listened to her barks as the cat hissed penned from the spot where she'd cornered him. 

At least we had two good minutes, right?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

A Little Fall Fun

Last week we joined our homeschool group in an outing to Mitchell Farm's Pumpkin Patch.  We had such a great time.  The farm was set up beautifully with fields of sunflowers, a corn maze, the pumpkin patch, a corn "pool", and much, much more.  The weather was perfect for the outing.  It was a fun filled, relaxing day!