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Holly’s new fence buddies officially became backyard buddies today.  Kendra and Brook asked if they could come into the backyard to play with Holly and once they did, they were for close to 4 hours.  They played soccer for awhile with Holly being the goalie.  Then the game switched back to baseball where if Holly caught the ball with zero bounces it was a home run, on one bounce a single, two bounces a double, three a triple.  Then there was a period of playing ‘house’ where  the shady section of the yard was the resting room, the little side pen was when naughty and the middle of the yard was the exercise area.   Holly wasn’t in tune with the games, rules or penalties but she was very in tune with the kids.  Quite often Holly had a leash clipped to her and was being led around the yard.  I sat watching her walk side by side with a loose lead, not ever pulling either of the girls.  Not ever.  I could not help but think back to my recent trail hike where I was pleading with her not to drag me down the hill and pull my arm out of socket getting across the parking lot.   She was by their side continuously, unless chasing a thrown ball to bring back to one of them. She was relaxed, listening to their requests and casually playing the game the way she understood it to be.  And very happy.

My dear friend, Katie, had stopped by to visit and bring a birthday gift.  Katie is a retired elementary school teacher and I knew she would not mind having the girls in the yard as we sat and chatted.  We both were fully entertained as we watch girls and puppy play. Katie gave me an adorable small handbag that at this point I think I am going to use as Holly’s bait bag during obedience training.  It is the right size, easy access and matches Holly so well.  I love it!   Holly caught on very quick that treats come from the bag and is in full agreement of it’s purpose.

In the early evening, Holly and I met Rainie and DeeAnn at Enger Tower for a summer picnic.  We found an empty picnic table in the shade with soft cool grass surrounding it.  Holly was tired from her morning play session and relatively content to lay and watch people moseying through the park.  Golden Retriever puppies are hard to resist for some people so we did get an occasional guest.  It was good for Holly to practice restraint; and for me to learn how she best can fall into a state of restraint.

Back at home, I found Holly sitting along the fenceline, staring at Donna’s backporch door, trying to will the girls to come back out of the house.  It was tender to see, and a bit concerning when I think about the heartbreak ahead.