FORWARD OPERATING BASE QUAGMIRE and TESTING BRANDY’S LIMITS

Playing in the mud is GREAT fun, until I get hosed off.

Playing in the mud is GREAT fun, until I get hosed off.

Yawn….why up so early?  Yawn…its only 4:15!  I just gave My Dad the Border collie has a question look.  Do you know that look?  A slight head tilt, listening intently…  You’re driving your sister, Mary, her daughter and friend to the airport?  OK, let’s go for a walk and I am ready to go…I LOVE going in the car.  What?  I’m not going?  Mmmmmmph…  No room in the Scion xB this morning…luggage, three passengers.  Wait, I have an idea!  I’ll sit in between Gina and Dan, there is enough room for a slender 51 pound Border collie…right?  Mmmmmph.  Can you leave the office door open, I’m going to post on the blog?  No, I won’t chew on anything.  Yes, fine, sounds like a plan…yes, ok, ok, yes…I am going to write about the Dog Park.  Don’t forget to mention…what?  The mud?  OK…

Have any of you, my loyal readers, ever been sprayed down with a garden hose…with cold water…on a chilly day?  Three times?  Mmm…well, yes, there is more to the story.  On Thursday, My Dad took me to the Dog Park.  Sunny, mid 50’s, a slight breeze.  We stayed a pretty long time and I played with about 15 different dogs.  I noticed this muddy puddle, large enough to three or four dogs to relax in.  I was experimenting…running through this muddy puddle over and over and over.  I could hear My Dad calling to me – ‘get out of there, get out of there” – but when I am having fun at the Dog Park, I am off on another planet.  As all of you, my loyal followers, know, I am an EXPERT at enticing my fellow canines to play.  I will push you with my nose, get into the LET’S PLAY position, push you with my nose and run away, steal your ball and run away, and if you are not getting the message, I will be VERY persistent.  I found the quagmire very interesting, especially the way My Dad kept calling to me to STOP playing in the mud.  I started running to the quagmire after enticing another dog to play.  One dog in particular, a reddish Labrador female, also found the quagmire to be a great location from which to launch surprise attacks and engage in prolonged play-fighting.  During our chase-me, chase-you pursuit games, the quagmire became our base of operations; on every circuit we would run through the mud.  I would crouch in the mud, get into my “stalking wolf” position and the Labrador would slowly stalk me, this was GREAT fun!

Our play-fighting base of operations.

Our play-fighting base of operations.

Why was the quagmire so interesting?  Well, it did smell really good!

Why was the quagmire so interesting? Well, it did smell really good!

And now for part of the Dog Park, that I was not too happy with – the wash-down area.  This is a large gravel pad that has a plastic child-pool and a hose.  My Dad sprayed me off and then we went off on some more walking around the Dog Park so I could air-dry.  Did I forget about the quagmire?  Nope.  Some new dogs arrived and I went right back to the quagmire, assumed the stalking-wolf position and very soon I was all muddy again.  Before we left, I paid another visit to the wash pad followed by a leash walk around the dog park, just to dry off.  When My Dad and I arrived home, I was given ANOTHER bath, outside, the cold hose, soap, and a lot of towels.

And Brandy and I had some tussle-time, yesterday.  Brandy loves me…she lets me climb on her, kiss her ears, and bite her neck.

Tussling with Brandy.

Tussling with Brandy.

"Brandy, get that tongue back in your mouth!"

“Brandy, get that tongue back in your mouth!”

My Dad bought me a new collar.

My Dad bought me a new collar.

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EXPLORING DOWNTOWN CHICAGO and THE SHAR-PEI EXPERIMENT (IF YOU CATCH ME, YOU CAN BITE ME)

The warm sun on my black fur, the smells of the city, a stroll through Grant Park...life is good.

The warm sun on my black fur, the smells of the city, a stroll through Grant Park…life is good.

Why can’t they drive in their own car?  Mmmmmmph.  I have just been informed by My Dad that I may be a bit cramped in the Scion xB this morning.  Seems My Dad, the wizard that he is, has volunteered to transport his sister, his niece, and his daughter to downtown Chicago…something about a half-marathon embarking from Diversey harbor.  What!?  There is a long walk involved?  With me?  Whew, for a moment I became concerned that, perhaps, the world stopped revolving around me and making me, The Magic Man, happy and mentally stimulated.  OK, I’m IN!  And the area behind the rear seat does have ample room to accommodate a slender Border collie…temporarily…but I would rather have my head out the window enjoying the smells of the city. OK, this calls for some sacrifice, but an adventure awaits!

Do I look like a happy Border collie?  With My Dad and his sister, Mary, in Grant Park.

Do I look like a happy Border collie? With My Dad and his sister, Mary, in Grant Park.

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Waiting for My Dad, outside of the Congress Hotel on Michigan Avenue.  He was using “the facilities.”

We walked by Federal Building twice.  They had these very nice planters with boxwood shrubs, it was very easy for a young Border collie to jump up into the planters to leave messages on the boxwoods.

We walked by Federal Building twice. They had these very nice planters with boxwood shrubs, and I found it extremely easy to lauch myself up into the planters to leave messages on the boxwoods.

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It was another cramped ride on the way home.  I couldn’t stick my head out the window.  Suddenly, I was a part of the conversation.

“Do you want to meet, Bob?”

Seems Bob is an older Shar-Pei (Chinese Fighting Dog) who has always been aggressive with other dogs.  My Dad thought that with my “magical powers of friendship.”  I would be able to convince Bob that I was a friend…not to mention my very high level of maneuverability and speed.  When we arrived at Mary’s, Bob was released from his dungeon (just kidding), and I was released from the Scion xB.  Bob ran right at me while emitting a deep growl…I am thinking, “this will be fun.”

Shar Pei trying to out maneuver the Border collie...ain't happening, dude!

Shar Pei trying to out-maneuver the Border collie…ain’t happening, dude!

A deke left, a deke right, and color me gone.  Bob could not keep up with me…I ran a tight circuit, checked my “six” every couple of seconds…I would let Bob close to within inches of me then push the afterburners FULL forward.  After five minutes, Bob was running out of gas.  He made some more attempts to run at me with his mouth open…I didn’t see any teeth…and with a half step to the left or right, I always placed Bob a little out of position.  I am all about fun, so when Bob had to take a “mark” break, I moved in for some push-and-sniff action on his back and ears…I even told him, “Hey, Bob, I just want to play, I won’t hurt you.”  And he settled down…within minutes, we were buddies, just hangin’ out together.  Bob’s Mom, Mary, was VERY surprised that we became friends so quickly!

Some "push-and-sniff" action showed Bob that I was a friend, that I did not want to hurt him.

Some “push-and-sniff” action showed Bob that I was a friend, that I did not want to hurt him.

Post pursuit and deke out session.  Bob said, "No way I can catch you, man.  Let's be friends."

Post pursuit and deke out session. Bob said, “No way I can catch you, man. Let’s be friends.”

Shar-Pei's have a tough guy persona, but a man's got to know his limitations.

Shar-Pei’s have a tough-guy persona, but a man’s got to know his limitations.

My Dad always carries a bottle of water in the Scion xB...always refreshing after a "chase-me, chase-you" session!

My Dad always carries a bottle of water in the Scion xB…always refreshing after a “chase-me, chase-you” session!