Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Group Hike With Friends

Dear Marge,

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.

Allowed off leash?  In a place as fun as this? Yeah, I can't believe it either..

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.

Marge made fast friends with Ozzy, who is calmer and laid back.

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.

Why yes, that's MY dog sharing a sniff with a big happy Golden!

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.


♥♥ The OP Pack ♥♥ January 12, 2011 at 11:04 AM  

Oh yes, that was one very special day for YOU and Marge. We hope you both get to do that a lot more. Of course, what pup wouldn't love to be out in the glorious snow!

Woos ~ Phantom, Thunder, and Ciara

the teacher's pets January 12, 2011 at 11:40 AM  

I will tell you that Daisy did have fun at the park this morning but she was the only dog there for about a 1/2 hour and then she was lost in a "sea" of dogs!
I shouldn't be saying this b/c I'm a professional dog walker but some of our clients have given permission for us to walk dogs off-leash as long as we are on a trail. It scared us the first time we tried it but we soon found out that the dogs were much better behaved off-leash than on. I think the freedom to run unattended made Marge feel confident enough to greet the other dogs without fear or inhibitions. I'm glad your hike went well!

Sue January 12, 2011 at 12:11 PM  

Sounds like a special outing. Glad you both enjoyed it.

Anonymous January 12, 2011 at 12:24 PM  

Yay! This postie made me wiggle and wag all over! What a super fun time everybuddy had. And I'm ever so glad that Marge got to zoom around and play with her furends. I can't wait til you get to do it again!

Wiggles & Wags,

Amy / Layla the Malamute January 12, 2011 at 12:51 PM  

That's great news! It's so cool that she got to be off leash, and with other dogs, too. That's really very special. I hope you guys get more outings like that.

Two French Bulldogs January 12, 2011 at 1:00 PM  

That was one fun playdate Marge. Love the group photo
Benny & Lily

Anonymous January 12, 2011 at 1:08 PM  

PeeS. I got so caught up in your fun time that I FURGOT to tell you that you were kinda right abouts in your comment about our picture today. I luvs to cuddle but Brudder Ranger - well, not so much. So I just have to sneak in some cuddling when he's totally fast asleep.

LauraK January 12, 2011 at 1:37 PM  

What a FUN day for you two! It's amazing how dogs are together in a pack off-leash on the trail. Riley and a border collie in her class used to be a little snarky with each other on leash in class, but we often go hiking together and they just zoom like crazy and play like there's no tomorrow! So cool to see. Hopefully you and Marge get to go hiking again soon with your friends- I'm sure she was one tired girl at the end of the day :)

hornblower January 12, 2011 at 1:55 PM  

It's always great when our sometimes snarky dogs surprise us with their social skills.

Walking together in the same direction, in a place with lots of good smells seems to be a magic cure for many snarkilicious dogs.

Hope you have tons more outings like this!

Unknown January 12, 2011 at 1:59 PM  

It must have been a great day for you. To have your dog surprise you is such an amazing feeling. I'm so happy for both you and Marge. May there be many more wonderful hikes to come for you two!

Anna the GSD January 12, 2011 at 4:44 PM  

Running off leash is the BESTEST!! Glad you found some super new friends! Kitties out of walls?? Whoa! I'd be startled too!!

Gus, Louie and Callie January 12, 2011 at 4:45 PM  

Oh what fun. Off leash is the best. Mom always lets our leashes drag too..

Big Sloppy Kisses
Gus, Louie and Callie

Lavinia January 12, 2011 at 8:08 PM  

I'm sure Marge was happy to walk off-leash. Aschiuta loved her freedom time on a sunny plain. I was afraid she'd run away, but she didn't.

It's good for dogs to socialise, they learn new things from one another.

Tucker The Crestie January 12, 2011 at 8:17 PM  

Wow, that's fantastic! What a great day for all of you.

Never Say Never Greyhounds January 12, 2011 at 9:24 PM  

What a wonderful outing!!!

Diana January 12, 2011 at 9:27 PM  

That looks like so much fun!!

Cyndi and Stumpy January 12, 2011 at 9:33 PM  

AWESOME! Seriously AWESOME! I can just imagine how thrilled you were for Marge! Yay! marge gets to be a dog and play like one, too!

Louie! We need video!!!plzthzkaibai

tula monstah January 13, 2011 at 1:23 AM  

hey marge! arooo.. hiking with pals is so mucho more funballs than by yourself! not to mention after walkies socializing.. tres bonne.


(thanks for your comment on tula's bloggie. i do the same thing when she's around norwood. short leash. long leash. drop the leash. still working on recalls though & she can play rough. but thanks for recognizing. she has come along ways and there's nothing like sharing a walk with another dog(s))

Chris and Ricky January 13, 2011 at 7:38 AM  

What an awesome day! Good girl Marge!!

Kathy Mocharnuk January 13, 2011 at 8:54 AM  

Marge is growing up....wiping a tear from my eye....GOOD GIRL Marge, all that work you have done, and all that trusting you she has done is paying off big time!

Kristine January 13, 2011 at 9:05 AM  

What a brilliant day! I love reading such happy stories like these. Isn't it great when our dogs surprise us? Obviously she is a lot more ready for new things than you expected, which is wonderful. Your hard work and stress is paying off now.

Yay for you both!

Fred January 13, 2011 at 9:23 AM  

That's awesome! So glad you all had a fun day!

BRUTUS January 13, 2011 at 8:18 PM  

So wonderful to see :)


NCmountainwoman January 13, 2011 at 10:08 PM  

She really has come so far thanks to your hard work and patience. How wonderful for you both!

KB January 13, 2011 at 11:12 PM  

The vision of Marge zooming around off-leash with other dogs astounds me! You've made such huge strides. My goodness - I literally wouldn't have been able to visualize this a year ago.

A whole new world is opening up to you and Marge!

An English Shepherd January 14, 2011 at 5:40 PM  

I love a walk :-)


Lorenza January 15, 2011 at 12:58 AM  

I am very happy to know you had a very happy time with the other doggies!
I can see more hiking adventures with your friends in the near future!
Good girl!
Kisses and hugs

KimT January 15, 2011 at 4:59 AM  

Oh what an amazing day! And it's great to know she can enjoy the company of the others, even go offleash! I'd be floored if that happened that next play date!

Lavinia January 15, 2011 at 6:28 AM  

As a small side-note (you can delete this comment if you want), I nominated you for the Stylish Blogger Award. There is more info about this on my page Stylish Blogger Award

andrea January 15, 2011 at 9:22 AM  

Fantastic :)
what a fun day for everybody ...
and I love (for agility) that you and Marge have the confidence to work off leash in highly charged (or exciting anyhow;)) places :)

PoochesForPeace January 15, 2011 at 9:30 PM  

marge has an adorable cohort!! How awesome to see her interacting with furriends!!!!

Kirby, CGC January 16, 2011 at 2:09 PM  

What a nice time for you and Marge. It is nice to have suprises like that!

Kirby's mom

Dawn January 16, 2011 at 4:28 PM  

WOW! What a great time you both had! I'm so happy for her! And you too!

Cynthia January 16, 2011 at 10:13 PM  

That's awesome! How neat that she did so well with the other dogs. :)

Kari in Alaska January 20, 2011 at 12:23 PM  

What a wonderful outing. Marge has grown so much!


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