Splitting the Team

Maia and I got some "alone" time on a trail run recently. Not by preference; Meadow is still being forced to rest.
Here's the lesson: if you have more than one dog, they're different when they're on their own than when they're together.
Maia on her own is more cautious, and even friendlier toward any dogs we meet on the trail. I've decided it's because she doesn't have her "back-up" should something go wrong. Meadow, on the other hand, is lost without Maia - she has so rarely had to be anywhere without her. She lags behind, as if to remind me that we're missing someone very important. She's not bouncy or playful as she always is when Maia's along. Maia, being two years older, has some experience with aloneness and so handles it much better. But they truly are a team, and it's never more obvious than when they're forced to be apart.
Thankfully I rarely have to leave one home alone.
These photos were taken on an overcast morning last week on the Rapid River Trail. It was a weekday, so Maia and I had it to ourselves. It was delightful, but for the thoughts of Meadow home alone.
When Maia and I got home, Meadow was right at the door, waiting; she ignored me totally, and focused intently on Maia, licking her face and ears, smelling her - undoubtedly getting a full report of our activities, even location, from the smells and tastes. Only after satisfying herself that Maia was fine did she give me her usual greeting smile (one curled lip) and tail wag. All was right with her world.
Meadow forgave me for leaving her home that day.
Today I brought Meadow along for a short (four miles) run from home. She's been doing well on our 2-3 mile walks each day, sometimes twice each day, with no signs of limping for over a week now. She ran well. It was clear she was happy to be included, to be free to run off leash again. For a brief moment I worried - she and Maia took off at full speed down the muddy forest road, challenging each other; then they raced back, directly at me, showing off. But Meadow showed no signs of limping or lameness, no favoring of that hind leg. I figuratively hold my breath at such moments, hoping for the best, thinking that if she did rupture her ACL two weeks ago, better to find out now and get the surgical repair, than to baby her and only delay the inevitable.