Chandler and I went hiking today. He had a great time. I managed to slip on the steep banking next to the dam. To his credit, Chan did look back over the top of the hill to see what had happened to me. I suspect he quickly figured out that the only damage done was to my ego and my clothes, which were liberally splattered with mud. There really wasn't any reason to put a halt to our exercise, so I trudged on, wiping at the mud and trying to find a good spot along the bank of the reservoir to rinse off the edge of my coat.
I found a good fetching stick first. It was about one inch thick and one and a half feet long, worn smooth and pale by the loss of its bark. Very easy to see.
Chandler quickly noticed that I was carrying it, and started to give me "hints". He'd stand in the shallows or on the edge of the bank, hoping that I'd toss the stick into the water for him. Unfortunately for him, the small plants and saplings that cluttered the edge of the reservoir preventing me from rinsing off my coat also kept me from tossing the stick. He had to wait until we forded a small stream and hiked into a small pine grove where there was a clear bank that would be good for fetching (and coat rinsing).
Despite the fact that it was less than forty degrees out today, Chandler proceeded to have a great time:
I find Chandler's love for playing water fetch very reassuring. As I have mentioned in other posts, I was recently surprised at how difficult it was to get Chandler to play. The fact that Chan will enthusiastically leap into cold water in hot pursuit of a floating stick proves that he is interested in playing. The problem is just that his definition of acceptable play circumstances has shrunken for some reason. My job will be convincing him to widen his perception of those circumstances. Convincing him will probably involve being very silly.
In the meantime, we'll keep playing water fetch, because he loves it and the exercise is good for his hips. Tomorrow we're going to the Wenzel Sugar House BEFORE hiking, to avoid muddy accidents. They're serving maple pudding cake this weekend, because Hebron is holding its Maple Festival. We were going to go today, but I really didn't want to show up looking like a ball of mud. Chandler wouldn't have cared (he'd just want some cake), but I did.