I suspect that our dogs may enjoy crisp fall-on-the-cusp-of-winter weather as much as we do. One is a puppy, so it’s all new to her: frost on the grass, crunchy leaves, the seed pods that have fallen from the tulip poplar (that she persistently attempts to eat). Since she’s just a youngster, she also has an astonishing amount of energy, and we try to help her burn some of it off by chasing a rope tug toy with her older “sister”. It lifts my spirits to see the dogs running through the leaves, hear the crackly swooshing sound the leaves make, and watch the leaves flying as the dogs skid to a stop when they’ve grabbed the toy.
Once grabbed, the dog with the rope runs off, hoping the other will give chase. Our older dog is really fast – when she turns on the “turbo”, you can almost feel the power: those muscular legs propel explosive sprints and agile turns. She runs like a greyhound, and for the sheer joy of it. I envy the dogs those flexible spines, too – they can turn on a dime and reverse direction in a split second, moves that only well-trained human athletes could safely attempt.
The dogs play rough, as dogs do: once, when our puppy was just a small fry (not that long ago), her sister barrelled into her and bounced her off a tree trunk (and she didn’t even whimper!). Aghast, we ran over to check on her and make sure there were no cracked ribs or other injuries; to our surprise, she was just fine and the game went on. I can only imagine how much convalescing I would have required after bouncing off a tree trunk – and the game would definitely have been over.
Hooray for this cold, crisp, dry weather that allows the dogs to go out and play in the leaves – and for the time to watch them, throw those toys, and hear the sounds of nature around me. These are the moments – fleeting and precious – for which I consciously try to be present. One day soon, our frisky puppy will be a mature (sedate?) dog, and these leafy antics will just be a fond memory…or maybe they’ll enjoy this kind of horseplay for years to come!