Saturday, August 27, 2011

Last weekend.

In July I discovered a wonderful new place to hike with Chandler. It is a local reservoir that is very popular with the local dog walkers. It has wide shaded trails, a meandering stream, both deciduous and coniferous trees, a mowed meadow (cuts down on the ticks), and the reservoir itself. It is practically the perfect spot to take Chandler during the hot summer months, as both the shade and available water help keep him cool. Frankly it was too good not to share, so last weekend I invited my friend Laurie to come hiking with us. I will admit to some ulterior motives; if Laurie liked the reservoir as much as I did, I could probably convince her to make the drive up to central Connecticut more often! Laurie brought along her male English Shepherd, Helo and her new puppy, Elvira. The purpose of the hike was to let me meet Elvira, and give her a good socialization experience.

Here is a photo of all three of us on the trail, this is a great hiking area!

The shade and available water were also good for Helo, who doesn't like the heat. Helo is somewhat my (and Chandler's) fault. Laurie probably would never have known about English Shepherds if she hadn't run into Chandler and I at the Connecticut Pet Expo two years ago. She expressed surprise that Chandler was not a Border Collie, survived my "the good, the bad, and the downright ugly facts about English Shepherds" lecture, and adopted Helo from a breeder within a few months. Helo is a retired stud dog, but I think he likes his new life.

...and he's sporting such a trendy summer haircut!

Helo actually has a LOT of grandpuppies and great grandpuppies out there in the English Shepherd gene pool. Sometimes I feel like I accidentally gave Laurie an entire second family that day she met Chandler and I. Elvira is one of Helo's grandpuppies, and is from a farm in New York state. She's also related to Chandler through his grandfather, who is one of Elvira's great-grandfathers. Chandler and I both approve. :)

I think it is entirely unfair that puppies are adorable without even working at it.

Elvira is a happy little girl who is probably going to grow up into a little spitfire. Even at only 10 weeks of age very little about the hike frightened her. She's curious and has good self confidence.

She's got some ZOOM in her too.

Chandler is one of those dogs that is safe around puppies, which makes him perfect for socialization outings. However, he is less interested in younger pups so Elvira spent some time trailing after him. I think she was a bit confused by some of Chandler's usual antics.

Really, I was just going easy on her for the Hide and Seek game...

We finally got to the reservoir, and Chandler was overjoyed to see all the water. I swear the dog must think he is part Labrador Retriever. He also looks so much smaller when he is wet. I never realize how much fur he really has until it is all flattened down with water.

Oh come on Auntie Laurie, please throw another biscuit out into the water.

Helo isn't quite the water fanatic that Chandler is. He prefers to wade genteelly through the shallows.

Helo doesn't know what he's missing.

Elvira isn't so sure about water yet either, but she's still a tiny pup. Laurie says she's fallen in a few times and had to swim to shore.

Really kid...water is soooooooooo much fun!

Both Helo and Elvira spent some time watching Chandler fetch his training dummy from the water, but didn't decide to join in. Chan is a very strong and focused swimmer when it comes to water fetch. He manages to kick up a minor wake as he beelines toward his goal.

I even accelerate well in water!

However, he's a bit more leisurely about bringing it back. Hopefully Elivira will give him some competition someday, as Helo seems to be happy in the shallows.

I love to play water fetch!

It was a really fun outing. I loved being able to meet Laurie's new pup, and the dogs had a great time. Hopefully they'll be able to come back soon.

This is the highly artistic granddaughter/ grandfather photo.

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