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May has been a hodge podge of activity, everyday being different than the day before for Holly, Helen & I.  This is what makes time go so fast.  A steady stream of activity and variety.

We have options for the dogs now – the baseball field, Bethel cemetery, Forest Hills cemetery and Old Main Park.   Each of these sites is in a separate section of town making Holly’s awareness of Duluth even more acute.   Old Main Park is one half block from my house but I always load the dogs in the car and drive there.  Not because I don’t want to walk 1/2 block but because I don’t want Holly to learn the route to Old Main from our yard.  I have no doubt she will take it upon herself to find a way to get to the park, knowing that I will arrive at some point and thinking I will be in playful mood.  She is getting suspicious of the short car rides but I have not gotten to the point of driving around the neighborhood before stopping at Old Main. Blindfolds have crossed my mind.

Holly, Helen & I had the treat of visiting Kooper in his own backyard!  Kooper was so excited and immediately took a tour of his tunnel thinking Holly & Helen would be right behind him.  Helen would have none of that, instead grazing on the neat and clean green grass.  Holly ran in circles as enthusiastically as Kooper but sidestepped the tunnel and caught him at the end.  Thanks to Kooper and a soccer ball, Holly was able to face her fears and make a few runs through the tunnel.   It took some observation, a trusted friend, an incentive and added courage – but she did it.  And was rightfully proud of herself for doing so.  Let there be lessons learned in how she handled it!

I arranged for the Rehabilitation Specialist and Pet Massage Therapist, Marcia Swanson, to come by and do an assessment on Helen.  She turned 11 this year and has landed in a more active household than what she had been accustomed.  I wanted to hear what Marcia had to say on Helen’s strength and flexibility.  End result was encouraging.  Marcia was pleasantly surprized, finding no crepitation, swelling or sore spots.   Next up was Holly.  She was surprized to find a few trigger points on Holly’s shoulders and spine.  I had to say, I was not surprized.  Nor was she when I explained to her how hard Keltie and her play, including the body slams and chest bumps they do. It did not take Holly long to learn that Marcia’s touch was not normal petting, instead feeling the soothing and therapeutic touch.  Marcia’s business is named Quality Touch, so fitting for her work.

On Thursday’s, 9 year old Ivy visits her grandparents who live on the east side of me.  Eight year old Heartlee lives a couple house down from me on the west side.  Both have a heartwarming relationship with Holly & Helen and now Holly & Helen can add friendship builder to their resumes.  Ivy & Heartlee met in the middle (my back yard) and have hit it off fabulously.  There are some edges to smooth over when it comes to Helen – who gets to hold her; and with Holly – who gets to throw the ball.  Fortunately there are two dogs to go along with two girls, and the dogs do not care which girl holds them or throws the ball, just that it happens.   It does not take long for the girls to fall into that line of thinking, just make it happen.  It’s fascinating to watch the dogs desires help the girls override feelings of jealousy.

Memorial Day week-end tradition has Carlotta & Mary (DeeAnn’s sisters) coming to Duluth for a cemetery run,  a nice dinner out and some coffee and conversation at DeeAnn’s house.  The dogs outnumber us 4 to 3 and for the first 15 minutes  I wondered if we would have to reduce that ratio.  After a couple collar grabs and harsh ‘SETTLE DOWN’s’ with Holly, she started to blend into the mix in a reasonable fashion. The transitions are still hard for her, but her manic time is reducing.  When she does settle in, she is social, mellow and showing her sweet, sweet side to people and pups alike.  And I see a sweet 2 1/2 year old dog growing up too fast.