Wow! What a great day!
I picked up Sunny this morning just before 9! She bounded out from the back with the animal clinic assistant and right toward me, basically exclaiming “TA-DA! Look Paige! I don’t have a harness this time!” Sunny’s whole mood was different without the harness! What a game changer.
We started off with a short ten minute walk around the apartment complex behind the clinic, to “get our wiggles out.” I told her that’s what we were doing & she kept doing the dog-wiggle-shake-thing so she definitely understood.
Then we attempted the car. Dunt dunt dooooo. I had put my comfiest blanket in the back seat, a stuffed animal, AND strawberries as a treat to try and entice her. She went right to the backseat, ready to go, plopped in one paw….and then looked helplessly at me. Really, Sunny? You’re a lab! Jump! Oh well. I picked her up (thanks Alix, for the technique hints!) and put her inside. She ate one strawberry, then smashed the rest in the blanket lol. And we were off!!….
We headed to Petsmart, 1.4 miles away. Sunny wasn’t too fond of Petsmart– too much stimuli I think, plus some annoying birds sqwaking– but she was a very good girl while I picked up some citronella spray & bacon treats!!!!!!
Then we drove 2 miles to South Mountain Park. This time she stayed in the back! We did a pretty steep trail that was probably about a mile to the top. On the way from the lot to the trailhead, Sunny saw the first dog she wanted to play with, a chocolate lab. The moment he saw her, he sprang for her growling & yelping & thank goodness he was on a leash. Sunny just wagged her tail & kept walking, then looked at me like “What was his problem!?”
I don’t think Sunny has been hiking before. She wasn’t much of a trailblazer at first. More like an investigator that creeps along slowly. But about 1/2 mile in, she got the hang of it, and it was smooth sailing to the top! Along the way, we saw many people & many dogs. Sunny made out with all of the dogs & for EVERY single person, she immediately sat & wagged her tail, eagerly waiting for everyone to pet her. She loved it! Everyone commented on how beautiful she was, what kind eyes she had, how well-behaved she was (I was barely holding the leash and she stayed right by me), how friendly she was, etc. Great publicity for Sunny & Rescue.
At the top, she got a little separation anxiety. She likes to sit at the same level as me, so that she can rest her cheek against mine. It was hard to get a pic, because she didn’t want to back away from me, but she still looks gorgeous!
I was very proud of her for behaving so nicely on the way up and not being afraid. I gave her a bacon treat for her bravery! The bacon gave her confidence so then she moved away a bit from me to explore the view.
While we were hanging out at the top, a 3-year old girl came with her parents & grandparents. They asked if she could pet Sunny, and I said “of course,” seeing as Sunny’s tail had been wagging ever since the little girl came into our view. Sunny was very patient while the little girl pet her and even yanked on her ears, and was so very sweet with her.
Then we headed back down. She was so cute! When it would get to a steep spot, she would stop and wait for me to go & then I would direct her where to put her paws and she would gingerly go, step by step, looking each step back for me to tell her where to go next. Eventually she was brave enough to jump down a rock by herself, without me guiding, and she turned around wagging her tail all excited!
Also, at one point I was behind Sunny, slipped, and fell to my butt. She immediately stopped, turned back at me, and ran right up to me & started licking my face. Sunny wanted to make sure I was okay! What a wonderful dog.
At the bottom, we had a water break & a belly rub break. Then it was back to the top! Of course we talked the whole time.
Then down we went….then up we went…then down….about six miles of hiking total! What a day! But not finished– now it was time for a visit to a nearby park!
At the park, she watched some boys play football, while I sat next to her & gave her a full-body massage for about 35 minutes. She was so relaxed. Sunny just sat there sighing with happiness. So great!
Then we did a 10-minute photo shoot with my Canon.
By the end of that, it was just after 12 & time to go home to the animal clinic. Sunny was exhausted!
When we got back to the clinic, while we were waiting for someone to come & get her, she decided she needed to sit on the bench with me so we could be cheek-to-cheek again. Everyone waiting in the lobby loved this!
Then they came & exchanged leashes to take her to the back. She didn’t wan’t to leave my side!! Finally they got her away a bit, but they had to really pull her back & eventually bribe her with a treat, because she kept trying to run back to me on the other side of the lobby 😦 They said Sunny must really like me since she didn’t want to leave me! I like her a lot, too.
She is going to be a great family dog someday! Lots of energy, but never pulls on the leash. Great with kids, adults, elderly, all other dogs, everyone! Just such a sweet dog. I would be happy if I got her again next week!