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Many Minnesota public schools have ended the 2023-2024 schoolyear, Montevideo being one.  No time was wasted with the Brown girls getting their annual trip to Grandma and Grandpa’s cabin on Lake Vermilion!  It’s become tradition for me to do a day trip north to visit my great nieces, and of course Lanny & Mary also!   I have no doubt this is one of Holly & Helen’s most favorite day of the year!

It was wet and rainy this year forcing an indoor gathering.  I always hope for a nice day allowing for the dogs to be outside and away from the kitchen, table, area rug, furniture and hardwood floors.  Holly snuck in ahead of me as soon as the door opened a crack.  I was slowed down with bags and goodies so I didn’t see Holly’s grand entrance.  From the other side of the door though, I heard a few gasps, giggles, and sounds of grappling.  When I walked in, I see Holly zooming from person to person, tail wagging uncontrollably and her head spinning in disbelief about having so many children in close proximity.  The dining table had been extended to hold a large board topped with a puzzle and numerous puzzle pieces.  Everyone at the table was standing and had their arms stretched out protecting the puzzle pieces and holding the table steady, I assume because Holly had it trembling putting puzzle & table at risk.   I was relieved to see smiles on everyones face.  I managed to corral Holly and hold her between my legs until I could feel her breathing return to a reasonable pattern.  Once the introductory period had passed, Holly was able to transition into an acceptable energy level.  I still have a ways to go with transitions and helping her handle her bursts of joy that apparently explode inside her when she meets people, especially kids.

Once the dust settled, Holly & Helen had continuous attention whether playing with a ball or stolen socks, or soaking in a lot of loving with tender petting and belly rubs.  Holly would do the rounds, seeking out one girl then the next.  Helen was sought out, picked up and usually landing in a lap getting rocked.   It was interesting to watch Holly’s compliance with the girls, especially when I suggested to use the command, “Holly, Come”.   And she would.  There is something endearing to watch a wild 2 1/2 year old dog suddenly stop her direction and turn to go see a 5 year old girl because she asked her to come.   I also saw her lay down and shake hands when asked to do so.  Come was the favorite command, having Holly going in a star pattern for awhile!

Anika and Nina each have their own horse.  The family has two dogs, Stella & Scout.  Scout sleeps with Maia.  Maia shared she has to be petting Scout to fall asleep.   Nina described the special medicine they have for their horses, medicine that will help prevent painful arthritis.  Julia said if Helen lived with her,  she could sleep in her bed – ‘that would be ok if she did’.  The girls have grown up with pets in their home and are around animals often at their grandparents farm.   It’s obvious they are comfortable with animals and it is apparent they treat a pet with kindness and concern.   Seeing that goes a long way for me.  It shows me their maturity, acceptance and authentic souls.   Want to see ‘caring’ and ‘tender’?   Want to know ‘gentle’ and ‘respect’?  Watch any one of Anika, Nina, Julia, Maia or Cora interact and engage with Holly or Helen.  No further definition is needed.  Want to learn ‘pride’?   Listen to any one of these girls grandparents, parents, aunts  or great aunts!  We all are beeming!