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Fall is in the air!  Changes in the leaves are happening, the air is crisper at night and apples & pumpkins are everywhere.  Holly’s school ended and I was not able to get her in a winter session – classes fill up fast!   Those weeks where I would moan about having to leave the house to go to dog school are now missed.  The weeks feel long and I am fearful Holly isn’t being challenged enough.  My intentions are to put together a plan inclusive of trips to Home Depot, PetCo, PetSmart and other opportunities.   Holly needs to be challenged and needs opportunity to keep gaining confidence and maturity in social situations.  Same is true for me!

Meanwhile we keep busy with the yard, with our walks and playing with friends.  Luna and Holly were looking across the yard at each other so endearingly the other night that I asked Marissa if Luna could come over for a playdate.  She couldn’t say no to that!  It perked both of them up considerably.  They did a game of chase, Luna outdoing Holly due to her long legs.  I could tell Holly was a bit miffed by being left behind.   They switched the game to tug, then to some mouth wrestling and body bouncing.  About a half hour into it, both had their tongues hanging out and were laying down for a recovery period.   Luna went home when it started turning dark, before the skunks made their rounds.

I am breathing a tad easier about skunks now that John reports having success in evicting the one living under his back porch.   The ammonia spray and firecrackers were enough to persuade the uninvited guest to find a home that wasn’t as stinky and loud.  I had chance to tightly button down my front porch and am feeling confident my yard will not be selected.  Nonetheless, every night for ‘last call’ before the girls go outside, I open the side door, triggering the motion light and scan the yard for black & white movement.  There is always a sigh of relief when they both come back inside smelling the same as when they left.

The neighbor kids have started school and leave the house each morning around 7:15.  Often times Holly & Helen are in the backyard when the kids are leaving the house for school, or they have left the house to avoid a morning ritual (i.e. packing their lunch, brushing their teeth, etc.).  I am starting to catch on to their quick visits to see the dogs and am getting head nods, both up & down and back & forth,  when I ask if they are all done getting ready for school.   One day this week, Hartley wheeled her baby doll (safely belted into the baby stroller) through Dave’s yard to my fenceline to visit.  This was a first for Holly and when she experiences a first, she chooses to sit a safe distance away – in this case, that was on the opposite side of the yard.  It was Hartley who convinced her to muster up some courage.  Hartley said in a disappointed voice – “Oh for goodness sakes Holly, haven’t you ever seen a baby before?”   By then Grayson had joined Hartley and was adding words of encouragement.  Either the motionless baby was no longer threatening or perhaps seeing two kids near the fenceline overpowered any hesitancy.  Holly broke into a run and leaped to the top of the fence with an energetic hello for them both.   Hartley protected her baby doll, scolding Holly for kicking up to much dirt.   All this before 8:00 a.m. in the morning.   It warranted another cup of coffee for me, I knew it was going to be a full day.