Why are you so full of surprises lately? Not that I'm complaining!..
My friend, whose dogs I often walk, asked me yesterday if I'd like to go for a walk with her in the woods that afternoon. I thought it'd be fun and hoped Marge would think the same, so I loaded her little black self in to the car and met my friend at her house. Another one of our friends from the dog club was also there with one of her dogs, a Border Collie mix.
They were all in the yard playing together, but I opted to keep Marge outside the fence and let her say hello that way. She was a little unsure of what was going on at that point, and I figured that the excitement from an exuberant Golden Retriever greeting (Spirit LOVES me.. and, well, just about everyone) might send Marge in to snark mode.
We all got in to our cars, took a short 5-minute drive to the top of a deserted hill where we could get on the trail.
Marge had an amazing time. Really, I didn't expect her to be so comfortable and so social with the other three dogs.
I quickly realized that the 6-foot leash just wasn't going to cut it, and let her out on her 20' line. The other dogs were completely offleash. Eventually, I was brave enough to drop the leash and give Marge some freedom. We reached a clearing and all of the dogs began to zoom all over the place with one another.
Yes, my shy, not-always-so-dog-friendly, squirrel-chasing, scent-loving dog was offleash on the trail, blazing alongside the other dogs. She led the way, which was convenient because I didn't want anyone to trip over her long line. Every time I called her name, she came running back to me like the good girl that she is.
She play-bowed and ran zoomies with all of the dogs. She knows them all already, but has never had the opportunity to play with them this much! I honestly did not know she enjoyed their company to this extent. I think she snarked a total of one time.. at Bailey, the smallest and oldest (and, as his owner says, crankiest) dog in the group!
I am truly surprised at how much she adores Spirit. Marge is not typically a fan of Golden Retrievers. It's likely because Spirit is about as dog social as they get and has good doggy manners. This is extremely encouraging, since we may be taking some trips to agility trials with Spirit and her mom in the future.
We set them up for an obligatory group pose at the end. Unfortunately, all I had was my cell phone camera to snap with.
If that weren't enough, we all headed back to my friend's house after the fun for some hot chocolate. Marge came inside the house.. she continued to be sociable with her new hiking mates, and got to meet one of the three resident cats. (She only nervously growled when the kitty emerged from the cat-sized cutout in the basement door.. I think she was perplexed as to how the cat appeared out of the wall!) She did put her front paws on the kitchen counter and nosed around every single room she could sneak into, but eventually settled down.
Of course, now that I know that Marge is comfortable taking hikes in a group, I'll be nagging my friends to go again soon! What a special day.