Beverly may sleep a lot, but when a special day comes along, she’s game. Yesterday was such a day. We went for our annual beach hike that can only be done on one of the days when the tide is lowest. Only then can we and assorted friends make our way from the Scripps Pier in La Jolla to north of 15th Street in Del Mar. It’s a trek, usually requiring about four hours for us to cover the 8 or 9 miles (including a break for refreshments a little past halfway.)
Although dogs aren’t allowed on these beaches, we always cape our current puppy and have never been challenged about taking him or her along. Some of our trainees have seemed nervous, however, about the few sections in which we have to pick our way over rocks and boulders.
Not Beverly. Steve, who had her leash, reported that she never seemed flustered and appeared to enjoy the entire outing. By the end, though, she was ravenous — and sleepy, as usual.
I think Beverly enjoyed the Christmas season. Unlike Mr. Tucker, who understands this is a time of year when dogs have more fun than usual, Beverly was a Yuletide innocent; everything came as a surprise to her. We were entertaining houseguests for ten days straight, which caused me to flake out completely in the puppy-blogging department. But that was because I was immersed in activities in which Beverly often was included, and which she seemed to appreciate. These included hiking up a local mountain where Kumeyaay Indians traditionally marked the winter solstice. In the darkness before dawn, she was careful but intrepid, picking her way up the hill.
The next day, Steve took her on a multi-hour excursion to one of San Diego’s busiest malls, where numerous shoppers paused to admire her.
On Christmas Day itself, we refrained from stocking any pigs’ ears or other rawhide treats. CCI puppies in training aren’t supposed to eat them, and last year they seemed to irritate Tucker’s aging digestive system. Still, I couldn’t refrain from buying a few inexpensive new dog toys. These mostly came to a speedy end, which bothers Steve a lot, but I tell him to think of them as cigars — consumables that are nonetheless greatly savored by their fans.
All the houseguests meant that Beverly was showered with a lot of attention and love.
Unfortunately, she appeared to pick up some bad habits — jumping on the furniture to snuggle up with the visitors, digging more holes in the yard, and going crazy one morning — ripping up the anti-skid mat under one of the throw rugs.
Come the new year, Steve and I will have our work cut out for us — trying to expunge all the bad new behaviors. But between now and January 1, Beverly will be participating in a few more fun-filled end-of-year activities.
Beverly turned 8 months old Friday. Already, she’s better behaved than any of our 6 previous CCI puppies were when we turned them in for advanced training (at 18 months). I just looked at some of my posts from previous pups and noted that when Dionne was 10 months old, she was standing up at kitchen counters to scan for food she could snatch. Dionne was also eating dog poop (voraciously!) and destroying shoes and other household items on a daily basis.
Darby at 8 months was still having toileting accidents in the house. She also had become addicted to jumping into our pool and doing laps, after which she would dash, dripping, into the house.
In contrast, Beverly was housebroken so quickly I almost can’t remember her ever relieving herself in the house (she must have, a few times, but it’s gone from my recollection). She walks on the leash better than any dog we’ve ever lived with. She’s sweet and attentive and she doesn’t seem to mind getting caped up and going out on expeditions.
She’s even won Mr. Tucker’s aging heart. We are thrilled to be able to live with her for another 11 months!
Many years ago, Steve and I learned it can be traumatic to mix boisterous canine energy with Christmas. Our very first dog, a surly golden retriever named Astra, was racing around the living room after we erected our tree, and she knocked it clean over.
She didn’t offer any excuses; we saw it happen. Steve was so freaked out he rigged a way to tie the top of subsequent trees to the living room ceiling. It was ugly, but it made us feel more secure. Ultimately the ceiling grew higher in the course of a remodel, so that arrangement was no longer practical. Instead we got a super-hefty tree stand, and no tree since then has been toppled by a puppy attack.
For the most part, it’s been fun to combine the dogs and the holiday. It’s more work, but we still enjoy buying our trees from one of the cut-your-own tree farms in Southern California. They’re disappearing, but last year we discovered a well-run operation in Perris, about 75 minutes northwest of our home. Since Steve had an appointment in Orange County last Wednesday, we coordinated that outing with a return to the tree farm. As we did last year, we took along our current trainee and Mr. Tucker.
Last year’s pup was Kyndall. This year it’s Beverly, who was just as rapturous as all her predecessors at the experience of racing through the rows of pungent pines.
We had more holiday fun yesterday, when we joined the contingent of CCI volunteers marching in the La Jolla Christmas Parade. It was a warm, sunny day, so a big crowd turned out, and to our delight, we were early in the line-up. That meant we didn’t have to wait hours for our turn to march.
Back at our house, we got the tree decorated, but within an hour, something bad happened to it.
We have 20 days left to Christmas and a week or so after that until we plan to take the tree down. We can prevent any further damage until then. Right?
Well, we’ve terminated our experiment in letting Beverly sleep with Tucker. Despite the promising start, Beverly started taking a more aggressive approach to waking me up when she felt ready for her breakfast, i.e. coming up and plopping her paws on the bed, next to my sleeping face.
I didn’t appreciate that, so we starting putting her leash on her and clipping it to the little hook on the wall next to Tucker’s dog bed. That confined Beverly. But one morning we woke up and found poor old Tuck sleeping mostly on the hard wood floor, while Beverly sprawled in the middle of his cozy pillow. He looked morose, and we felt bad for him. His old bones and joints need some soft support.
So Beverly is spending her nights in the kennel again, which she doesn’t seem to mind. Actually, at the moment, we’re hosting one of our former CCI puppies, Darby. (She was released from Advanced Training and became the beloved pet of some friends.) Darby and Beverly like each other and play pretty well during the day, but at night, we’re putting the girls in separate kennels in Steve’s office, along with Tucker, who has another dog bed there. (Three big dogs up in our bedroom is too many, we think.)
It won’t last long. Darby’s family will pick her up on Tuesday, whereupon Beverly and Tucker will rejoin us upstairs. And Beverly will still have Tucker to nap on during the day.