It's been a busy Sunday here in the Mr. and Mrs. K home. I think this may be only the second time I've sat down today and I'm quite snuggled in with Hermione squished up against me and a huge mug of tea. It's really cold here and so a warm puppy and hot tea are the perfect way to unwind after a busy day.
My morning began the way it always begins: dogs out, coffee on, make breakfast, consume breakfast and sip on coffee. Usually I sit down with my coffee and do aimless and useless things, like surf the internet, but this morning I got busy chopping up carrots, celery, mushrooms and much more. All of the ingredients were dumped into the slow cooker and switched on for this evening's meal. If you've read this blog for any length of time you will be well aware that I'm no Susie Homemaker. In fact, I burn most things and break even more things in the kitchen. So, I stay out. However, the slow cooker and I get along great and after over an hour of preparation, the stew was ready to simmer away.
After stew prep, or wat we have dubbed "stoup" because it's kind of between stew and soup, I settled on to the couch for my first break of the day. It was short lived as after a quick lunch, I was off running with Carmen and Hermione. We've been going out at least three times a week and I really enjoy running outdoors instead of inside. Hermione definitely enjoys it as it's her special alone time with just mom. Nala and Otis stay home because Otis's legs are too short and he wouldn't be able to keep up and Nala is so new as a guide dog that I need to limit her free running. It was quite chilly, but after the first ten minutes or so it didn't feel too bad. We ran close to three miles which meant Hermione probably ran closer to five or six because she always runs ahead and then comes back to check on us. Sometimes she circles around us, but regardless of what direction she's going, she always runs much further than we do.
When I got back home I had enough time to grab a quick shower, shove a pear and lots of water down my gullet and then it was back outside we went. I had scheduled a play date for Nala with a big chocolate Labrador named Toby. Mr. K decided to come along and so that meant that all of the other dogs came too. It's easier to keep track of everyone with two people instead of just one.
We met Toby and his mom just on the cycling trail right outside our flat and walked to the park from there. I kept Nala on leash for a while, trying to provide her with some structure and expecting some good behaviour in exchange for her free running time. I suppose it was slightly cruel because everyone was running about, being ridiculous, but as a guide dog she has to know how to control herself in exciting situations. About half way to the park, I let her off her leash after a "sit stay" and she took off like a shot. Toby was the perfect match for her. He's bigger than her and probably closely matched for speed. I think it was nice for her to play with a dog her own size.
At the park the dogs were provided with even more entertainment. The big dogs raced around as fast as they could, bringing other people's dogs into their game of tag. Otis kept himself busy by visiting people and eating mud; his two favourite pass times. Hermione was a bit wary of the big dogs tearing about so she hung out with us for a while, but would venture off to chase leaves blowing in the wind or to start routing in the dirt for who knows what.
Nala being the mud puppy she is headed happily for a mud hole and made a mess. Apparently Toby was just as muddy, but it was masked by his already brown colouring. Hermione was probably the cleanest of them all which was surprising since she is so feathery. Unlike her crazy family members though, Hermione doesn't go looking for mud. We met dogs of every size and variety. Even though it was quite cold and windy the park was filled with dog lovers and their four legged companions. There was even a couple of dads playing soccer with their kids that Otis thought was completely interesting. At one point he was more interested in sitting and watching the game instead of frolicking with his doggie friends.
After nearly two hours of freezing temperatures and happy, muddy puppies, we decided that the play date was over. All of the humans were frozen and the dogs had slowed down enough that we figured they were tired out. We returned home with some very tired dogs and humans alike. Nala most certainly found herself in the bath, having her legs and belly rinsed off. Impressively, all I have to do is hold a kibble over the tub and say "in" and she just hops in. No lifting, pushing, pulling Etc required. Otis just needed his wrinkles cleared out of mud and his paws wiped off. Little Miss Priss was completely clean.
So, it was stoup for the humans and kibble for the dogs after bath time. I think this is the stillest I've ever seen Hermione. Now I know that it just takes a three mile run plus two hour doggie play date to wear her out. That said, I don't think I have enough energy to keep up with her.
It's been a great day and I know that not only will the dogs sleep deeply tonight, but I will to. I'll sit and enjoy my current position on the couch, but it won't be long before I find the bed instead: fresh air really is the best way to make one sleepy.
Oh, and of course, a tired dog is a good dog.