The Working Dog at Play

Dora in the yard

Dora in the yard

I haven’t bragged about Dora for a while, so it’s time to update you on what a great dog she is and what a great match this has turned out to be.

Last Monday, my friend Dan took us to a sporting goods store to buy tennis balls for Dora. She has a wonderful new toy called a Canine Cannon, a gift from Uncle Dan, where you put a tennis ball in the end of a rifle like contraption and then shoot it out across the yard. She absolutely loves this game, but as she dashes back with the ball in her mouth, she chomps on it vigorously in her excitement, and it doesn’t take long for the ball to be destroyed. When we got to the store, we were directed to the second floor. After getting off the elevator, we zigzagged all over the place and finally found the tennis balls. After we made our selection, I said, “OK, let’s go,” and that’s all Dora needed. She took the lead, zigging and zagging across the store, without any hints from Uncle Dan, and without hesitation, and she proudly took us directly back to the elevator. It’s like she says, “I got this. And Dan is one of the few people who get it that the dog can do her work best if he stays one step behind my right shoulder. That way, it’s clear to the dog that she’s in charge. When we strode up to the elevator, he said “I’m so impressed with her confidence, I could almost cry. She is just so awesome.”

Back at home, we replaced the old ratty ball. As I shot it out over the yard from my chair on the patio, , Dan took pictures of this gloriously happy girl, sitting in wrapped attention as I aimed and then leaping up to catch the ball as it sailed over her head. I hope you can see the pure joy in her play and get the pure joy I feel in her work.

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When the Wine Gets Smashed

I was reaching for a box of cake mix in my pantry, when I accidentally touched a bottle of red wine, lying on its side. In one second, it rolled off the shelf and immediately smashed onto the tile floor. Seriously, one second.

Standing in a puddle of red wine, a puddle filled with jagged fragments of glass, I knew that this was not something I should attempt to clean up myself. I’m not afraid of broken glass. If you handle it carefully, and it hasn’t shattered into shards, it’s not that hard to deal with. But there was no way I could investigate the damage without making the mess much worse than it already was. I backed out of the puddle and realized that my socks were now soaked with wine, so I had to take them off to move anywhere. I returned to my kitchen, where I sat down to ponder this situation. It was a Sunday afternoon. Whose Sunday afternoon would I hate the least to ruin? I considered my good friend Dan, but he might cry at the sight of ruined red wine. Just kidding Dan. I considered my son Steve, but he was most likely involved in one of his daughter’s activities. I called my friend Mary Beth, who had helped me out of a vicious glass crisis before, but her husband had just been taken to the ER. Never mind Mary Beth. I was relieved to reach my neighbors, Dan and Amy, who also have helped me with a couple of crises, like removing solid ice from my front door, raking my leaves when my back problems prevented me from doing it, and looking for a missing house key. So Dan and Amy to the rescue, even though they were just wrapping up a day with their parents, celebrating their twins’ confirmation. They quickly googled how to remove broken glass, and they came armed with slices of bread. This was going to be some crazy kind of communion. I had put down paper towels around the perimeter of the puddle, to keep it from spreading over the utility room floor, but after that, I just stayed out of the way, and fortunately, Dora had no interest in the red wine.

Once again, I am reminded that there are indeed times when you just have to be realistic and ask for help. And once again, I am reminded that I am truly blessed with good people in my life who will come to my aid, especially when it involves broken glass. It’s a good thing I don’t like red wine. That empty spot in the pantry can now be used for something much better, like chocolate syrup, in a plastic bottle.