Sunday, September 2, 2007

Hunde aus Laufen

When I was in Germany, at the Police dog handlers school, every morning we participated in "hunde aus laufen".  This far removed, I am not certain my spelling is correct, but it translates to "dogs out running" and we would take all the patrol dogs in our class, in muzzle, for a long walk together. 

My Wisconsin version of this is to take the dogs out running with the ATV. We have mowed paths around the property and I think one circuit is a mile. I take the dogs out in groups and they get to stretch out and feel the grass under their feet, sometimes stop and take a dip in the creek.

Tonight Ali and Roya went first.  Roya, with her swinging underparts (never releasing the retriever bumper in her mouth, ever hopeful that I would throw it for her!) and Ali, who moves a little restricted in the rear yet, ran at a moderate speed.  The next circuit included Jinx, Bart and Digit.  Bart and Digit are both whole males, Dutch Shepherds, and I love that I can run them together, especially with a female.  Every now and then Bart will try a shoulder bump into Digit and I tell him to knock it off but there is no skirmish or disagreement.  Jinx far outruns everyone else.  She reminds me of a cheetah or a greyhound, collapsing her spine and then extending with incredible reach.  The speed and abandon alternately inspire awe and fear. 

Jinx took a second turn, running with Quinn.  I could smell wood smoke from the neighbor's campfire and watching the dogs run at sunset, on a beautiful green path bordering the woods, was a perfect end to the day.  I found another turkey feather, too, and in a different location than before so I know they are still there and moving around.

The last to run were puppies, and they only run around the yard!  They gather around and chase the chamois and the other toys, bite and tug and argue over who gets the most attention.  The dusk fades to dark, odd duck calls interject from the neighbor's campfire gathering (he trains retrievers and that must be some odd party entertainment. I think it involves alcohol.) and the puppies sack out here and there.  There are so many good things to be grateful for, despite the fact that "labor" never gets to take a day off when you have this many dogs.  A wonderful day, indeed.