Monday, January 24, 2011


One of Chester's favorite things to do, when he is not working, is to go romping in the woods.  I love to romp (er,hike) in the woods as well, except when it is friggen' freezin'.  On freezin' mornings my favorite spot to be is by the fire, reading,  having some quiet moments while holding and sipping a hot cup of coffee. Chester, on the other hand, lives for friggen' freezin' .

WALK? he asks.
Chester, it's freezing outside, in a bit.

A bit has gone by...
Romp? he thumps his tail.
In a while.  Not yet.  I promise. I can still see my breath out there!

I move from the chair by the fire to my computer. I check email, facebook, sip more coffee. AWHILE has passed, he nudges my arm, and his look is a little more pathetic.

I you know how cold it is out there??
He you know how many squirrels are calling my name?

He wins. I slip on my boots, grab my coat, my hat, my gloves, my scarf, my keys, and make sure I have my 27 layers of clothing on. Okay, I totally admit I am a wimp when it comes to cold.   BUT, out the door we go. (I am not whining & do not have an attitude)  I open the car door. He waits. He hears me say, Load-Up,  in he hops, satisfied, and very excited.

We drive all of 5 minutes to Uncle Bob's Park, affectionately named after our friend and realtor, BOB, who opened our eyes to this hidden woods just minutes from our backdoor.  Tucked in these quiet woods are miles of winding trails, trickling streams,(well except when they are FROZEN), and a kazillion squirrels for Chester. It's our favorite close-to-home place to romp.

As I crunch through the snow, and the pup romps, I am actually glad to be here. Really. (the coat helps) It feels good to hike, be in the good ole outdoors, get some exercise, and watch Chester delight in running off-leash & free.  He's like a crazy hound dog with his nose to the ground, ears flopping, tail high, always on high-alert for an unsuspecting squirrel.  When he spots those fuzzy-gray rodent-dudes, he is off like lightening to tree the poor creature. If he ever caught one, he would no doubt panic, he is such a scaredy-dog and tender-hearted-mush-ball.

While we are romping along, from time to time, I just love to do this ~~ I call him back to me. I do this for training & practice, to check to see if he is still listening for, and responding to, my voice.  Before calling him, I often wait until he is focused & distracted on something dog-tempting,  sometimes out of site, but never out of earshot. I call,  "Chester! Come!"  He's usually by my side in a nano-second, waiting for the next command, eyes fixed on mine, tailing thumping. I gush all over him, telling him what a good boy he is, patting his head, scrunching his soft ears... And then I say, "Okay" , and he is off.

I must admit, it's total joy for me, to see him stop eeerch in his tracks when he hears me call, then turn & run full speed ahead back to me.   I love that about Chester.  Eager to please, quick to respond to my voice, just because he loves and trusts me, and....he knows I love him.  (And he likes ear scrunches and me gushing all over him)   He's not perfect, don't get me wrong, he totally has his moments when squirrels, or deeelicious smells, cause him to lose his sense of hearing :-), but his heart is to please me. Oh, that I would be so quick to listen and respond with a heart like his, when my Heavenly Papa speaks ~ knowing how completely loved I am & how utterly trustworthy He is.  

As we're on the short drive home I think, oh what we do for our dogs...romping in the bitter winter-cold..

I glance at him in the rear view mirror, and I swear he is smiling, and I kinda wonder if he is thinking... oh what we do for our people, she really needed to get out this morning.

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