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26 January 2008 @ 03:31 pm
2008-01-26 (D)  
Today I volunteered solo; Rache was en route to New York, and Nick already there.

Because I have a horrible tendency to live behind the camera when a camera is at hand, I intentionally left my camera at home today. It's hard to take pictures and wrassle a few puppies at the same time. Still more importantly, it's hard for me to feel fully in a moment experienced through a lens. Since this is my last week with the puppies, apart from occasional forays back up to Eugene, it was important to me to just be with the dogs.

Liesl was walking Ava and Rikki when I came up. Ava was wearing a ruffly jacket, and tugged at the leash to reach me. I reached down to pet her, and when I pulled away, she put her paw up on my leg as if imploring me to reconsider. In my opinion, Ava's gentle pawing is the sweetest of her many endearing traits.

Rikki, on the other hand, was anything but gentle. He was launching himself literally up to my elbows for attention. There is no walk that equal to that boy's energy!

First up I walked Rocket and Rikki. Rikki, who as always is no fan of the rain, got up to the trailhead and hightailed it back to the shelter. I let him back in and took Rocket on a solo walk. It felt strange to be there just the two of us again. Rocket walked perfectly at my side while I listened to Pimsleur Spanish lessons on my iPod and let my mind wander a little.

This walk was especially neat because of the last few days of frost. The trail wasn't muddy for once, and occasionally I'd step to feel the fir needles and frozen mud give way beneath me. Rocket appeared startled more than once as she stepped, and incredibly cute through it all.

Second up was a walk with Gideon and Uma. Uma started the walk with high energy, trying to get Gideon into play, but her attention wandered the further we got into our walk. Gideon heeled remarkably well, except for the 2,418 times he stopped to mark a fern, branch or leaf along the way.

Back at the shelter, I warmed up the food for the dogs and carried two dishes into the main room for Uma, Giddy and Ava, with a third dish to Rikki and Rocket. Neither Rikki nor Rocket was eating, so I removed Rikki to the main room, where he began harassing Uma. Uma and Rikki kept at their play till I left, with Ava laying on the top bunk and watching sadly. Apparently her hips have been hurting her. :(

After getting the dogs back into their right spaces, I threw my bag over my shoulder and said farewell. Only when I actually spoke it aloud did I really understand that it is farewell... and how much I'm going to miss these fabulous canines...