Yesterday I took a break from the 'CareGiving' organizing and scheduling for both Rich and MIL. I took Charlie out so he could inspect the bulldozed ridge road. When we got to the creek, he calmly walked through the mud and silt picking up each leg higher than normal as he boldly inspected.
I really think he noted the difference in the bottom. He looked right, left, and slowly turned around and then spotted the trail going up the other side of the creek and took off trotting. He stopped and glanced back at me as if to say "Coming? Human-slave?"
I was coming.
However on our way through the mule pasture, I noted that the gate was not hot so I decided not to really explore any more but to go back and figure out why the fence was not working. I would have preferred to walk the whole trail all the way to the back fence, however the thought of loose equine turned me around.
I asked Charlie to come and he turned back and we headed towards home and the meadow.
[Note! Charlie is coming most of the time now when I call him, especially in the woods! He still likes to play catch me if you can in the yard sometimes.]
Often he stopped to listen to noises in the woods. I know he is close to the ground so he can't see over the brush and undergrowth. But he does listen and seem to think.
I heard a robin, a Titmouse, and in the distance I heard a wren scolding something while I stood and waited for him to check things out.
Charlie took a keen interest in the deer tracks on the ridge road. Probably looking for delicious deer poop. Not something I'm going to try any time soon.
In the meadow I had to set him down to fix the fence. First I had to introduce him to the mules who were all curious as to why I was in their pasture and why I had Charlie with me. I let the redheaded mules sniff Charlie in my arms. Seems that they don't perceive dogs that I am close to as threats.
They will chase down strange dogs and try to kill them. Charlie is so small, I think they don't believe he is worth chasing. They don't chase the cats that walk through their pastures either so I wonder if they think he is a cat?
With Charlie ignoring the mules and sitting between my legs, I found that the electric wire had gotten wrapped around barbed wire by some animal. Perhaps a raccoon had been chased through the fence. I've seen the girls do that before too. I fixed it and Charlie insisted on walking [with his cord attached to him of course] through the tall grass. I'm sure we looked rather funny.
Tiny dog, Human-slave, and 4 mules in single file walking through the meadow.
Did you know how interesting straw is? We have to stop, inspect it, and then chew on it. How about that bumble bee on the wild geraniums? Stop, inspect, watch, and then move on.
We eventually made it back to the house and Charlie flopped onto the rug I have on the porch. I brought him and I some cold water and we enjoyed the light breeze and the shade for a bit.
He was panting so I took him inside and let him rest. Rich was still napping. I had fence to rebuild and wasn't looking forward to using the post pounder but went back out and did it anyway.
The lessons really came much later. After dark Charlie asked to go outside. I was in my PJ bottoms so I went out with him. He did his business quickly and then ran back to the piece of carpet on the porch and sat. I sat on the carpet too. He crawled into my lap and leaned against me.
His head kept darting back and forth. His ears would perk up when he heard the tree toads on the west side sing. Then his head would dart back to the east and suddenly he leaned harder and stomped his feet. I could see him trying to figure something out. Then it dawned on me.
Charlie was watching lightening bugs. He was listening to the toads and the June Bugs were buzzing in the Hickory tree nearby making the tree sound like it was electrified.
So I sat for a long time on the old chunk of carpet on the concrete with Charlie in my lap.
We listened to the toads.
We watched lightening bugs [he growled softly a few times...at them].
We listened to the June Bugs in the tree.
Fast isn't always the answer. Sometimes just sitting quietly and using your senses is the way to go.
Charlie is an expert at chillin' out.
It is a good lesson to learn.