Showing out the Old Year, Ushering in the New

Finn and friends at Marymoor Off Leash Park

To send out 2011 in appropriate fashion, Finn and I met a friend and her two black labs at Marymoor Off Leash park for a late afternoon playdate. Despite temperatures hovering around 40F, the dogs were more than willing to take a dip in the Sammamish slough.

Friend, with labs Cassie and Bailey.  

Trying to convince the dogs to swim.

Finn, convinced, swims while the other dogs watch, and taunt.

Finn, mid-shake, water flying, soaking Bailey. Revenge!

All of the dogs enjoyed much running and romping. Finn chased the tennis ball for nearly an hour. He was exhausted when we finally headed home. For once, he wasn't upset when I left him home with the girls while attending a New Years Eve party next door. I think he even slept through the fireworks celebrating the New Year. Wish I could say the same.

The next morning, it was time to properly usher in the New Year with...a trail run! Finn and I headed to Cougar Mountain. Amazingly, it wasn't raining, and was fairly warm - a great morning for a run.

Finn on Coyote Creek Trail, Cougar Mountain. Hoping to spot a coyote.

Finishing our run and nearing the parking area, we spy several other runners with three dogs. Apparently they all had the same idea for the new year. We often see one of the dogs, Jasper, at Cougar Mountain. She's a really sweet dog, and has a thing for Finn. When she sees him approaching, she crouches down on the ground, tail wagging, then rushes up to him in happy greeting. Finn, ever the cool boy, accepts her greeting, then focuses on meeting the two other dogs in the group.

Jasper greets Finn.
Note the Siberian in the car, sandwiched between two people, wearing a red hat. Party on!

It was unexpectedly warm, in the mid-50s, thus all the folks wearing shorts on January 1st. I was overdressed. So was Finn, judging from his tongue-hanging appearance. Or maybe he's just smiling at Jasper's adoration.

Later that afternoon, it was time to celebrate the new year with the girls. We strolled through Juanita Beach Park. 

Maia and Meadow and their new friends.
As we entered the park, a couple with their adorable young girls asked to meet my girls. They spoke English as a second language, with a European accent. Asking a lot of questions about my girls, and dogs in general, they often struggled for the appropriate word but we all understood each other. Turns out they've been thinking of getting a dog. I commended them for taking their time, learning as much as they could, and meeting different sorts of dogs before plunging in. We had quite a discussion about various breeds, getting a puppy or an older rescue dog, and what sort of training is involved when bringing a dog into a family. 

The mom asked me to tell her girls what to expect if they get a dog; to describe what sort of care would be required. I listed the obvious things - feeding every day, providing fresh water, grooming, and scooping poop. That latter point brought some giggles. All the while the children were petting the girls, stroking their thick fur in a gentle way. It wasn't until later, running the encounter through my mind, that I wished I'd said "loving them up" as the first and most important thing they'd be required to do if they got a dog. 

The discussion ended and the children said goodbye to the girls. They walked over to a nearby bench. Thinking this would make a good blog post, I asked if I could take their photo with my girls. The parents were eager to comply, and the father took photos with his own camera from over my shoulder. As we parted, their mother smiled, thanked me for letting them meet my dogs, and said, "And now we'll go practice scooping poop!" 
That evening, at home, I marveled at the perfect way my dogs and I had started 2012.
Rebecca WallickComment