Our pre-agility adventures lead Rain and me to some scary things this week. First, after just a little bit of fetch time at the park I decided that we should follow the trails into the Secret Garden a bit further. Rain wouldn’t be running her little doggy heart out but surely she’d find interesting smells to excite her brain and we’d still have a good time.
We hadn’t even made it to the forested part of this area of the park when Rain made a bee-line off trail and into the grass. Before I knew it, we were looking at a partial skeleton.
There was a part of a spinal column, a pelvis, and even a femur head, but this partial skeleton was otherwise pretty clean. Strange, considering it was largely resting on the grass. Had someone brought it to the park to deposit? Did a dog discover it and move it, so it didn’t look like it had been there for a long time? I got Rain’s attention and we moved into the trees.
Inside the wooded area, the underbrush starts out fairly minimal with the trails flat and relatively wide. As we walked further, the trails narrowed and the underbrush got thicker. A couple of times we even switched trail forks to see if we could find the most traveled option. At a certain point I started wondering where the adjacent property line was and whether the owner was a stereotypical Clackamas County resident. We pressed onward, but soon the trails became mostly unpassable from blackberry cane growth that is a staple of the Pacific northwest. We turned back.
There’s a long history of storytelling associating the forest with dark activity, from the märchen of the Brothers Grimm to the more modern Blair Witch Project. Usually I feel great when I’m inside a forest, but not on this day.
It was probably the discovery of the bones.
Once we were back to the grassy area, we took a slightly different path but before long Rain’s sniffer was doing its job again.
We found the skull. Well, part of it, anyway.
Our exploration time was a little unsettling, so it was good to get back to the familiar. We headed to class.
During class we worked on a long course that involved nearly everything set up in the arena. It had a couple of tricky spots, but Rain and I did fairly well. I was particularly proud when she hit the channel weave successfully on both our complete runs!
Rain has, however, still been having problems with her “feet” command (also known as two on/two off). After everyone had run the course, Molly grabbed her board and we worked on “feet.” We also learned a new exercise that we can use to try and encourage Rain to face forward (instead of facing me) whenever I’ve asked for feet.
It feels like we have a ways to go.
Portland had experienced a couple of unseasonably warm days earlier in the week, and someone had hauled out the kiddy pool. Before and after class then, Rain took full advantage of its presence.
We couldn’t stay too long after class this week, but Rain wouldn’t have let me leave without a visit to the ball-fetching area. (She’s got rituals, you know.) She spent a minute splashing in the pool, spent another minute catching a ball, and then we were zipping along back home.