Our first walk

The kids are now 8 weeks old. Oh how they have changed in 8 weeks time. They now weigh each in excess of 20 pounds. I still remember pulling them out from under the deck, small enough to hold two in one hand. I am in awe of their rapid growth.

So, they don't want to let me leave them behind any longer. It was time to give them their first introduction to the trails. We struck out on a slow pace. All three were waddling along with me panting in excitement of the adventure to come. 100 yards into "the walk" Rubye decided to sit down. She was confused and she was reluctant to move forward. Rubye likes her porch and she likes her domain but she keeps her domain very small. So, 100 yards was a good distance out of her domain.

We tried coaxing. Spin went back several times and sat with her and tried to reassure her it was o.k. and then we finally moved on, Rubye quickly ran back to the porch. Diamond would have never left me but I must not compare mother to daughter.

Another 100 yards and Spin and Joe begin to fall behind. I expected as much. Their legs are not that long and their bodies are massive. The obesity is still an issue but mass is beginning to form into muscle. Spin began to wimper as if confused - should he go forward or should he go check on his sister. Joe stood fast by my side. I coaxed and then decided to let big boys be big boys and moved ahead. Another hundred yards and I turned to see Joe had returned to Spin's side and they were somewhat confused. How could we just keep going now losing site of their secure porch?

I considered our first walk - all 200 yards a complete success. I don't want dogs that roam, just dogs that stay by my side when I roam. For puppies they made quite the effort. I decided to continue my walk converting it into a power walk instead of a puppy adventure.

I finished the first mile and realized that Brutus was barking the strangest bark I have ever heard come from him. First I kept walking assuming he had once again met the armadillo that continually beats him into the ground and frustrates him. But this bark was not one of anger and frustration- the sound coming from his head in a hole while he's digging and crying at his defeat once again. It was a loud, almost alarming bark - as if someone or something was causing him to call for my attention.

So, I turned around. I could do the next mile in reverse and hopefully find the source of Brutus' commotion. As I topped the hill, there he was, almost a half mile into the walk...Spin and Joe under his feet. He ran to me! They ran to me! He literally dropped them off at my feet and gave me the "I got them this far, they are yours from here on" look and headed off to the woods, making sure to step up the pace to the point they could not keep up.

Somehow, father and sons had communicated and somehow he had either insisted they catch up or they insisted he help them catch up. They had refused to abandon the mission. Now THESE are their mothers children! She would never abandon a mission. She would never let me wander the fields and woods alone. She would walk her legs off to make sure she kept up. These little guys had just proven they would as well.

As we walked back to the house, taking a shortcut across the hayfield, puppies panting from both excitement and exhaustion, we had our "moment". I knew they wanted to be with me, they knew I was proud of them. As they got back on the porch with Rubye, she seemed to be asking them where they went and what they saw and they seemed to be excitedly telling her all about it. Then, instead of drinking from the puppy water bowl, they heaved their front legs over the top of the Brutus drinking bowl, which has a ledge over their heads and hung themselves into the water to drink full of the man water that it contained.

Yes, these boys will soon be men. Like their father, they seem to be fully accepting that station in life. Like their father, they will be loved and cherished forever. Then again, that's one thing they share with their mother. The void she has left in my life is quite large. They will never fill it, but the space they are beginning to create, is making that void a little less painful for me to accept.

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