We've had a run of busy weeks and weekends here but things are finally beginning to slow down. Last Saturday (Memorial Day weekend) we went to the big farm in Kentucky where my friend Beverly lives. Stella got to run free a little bit for short periods between the house and the barn. This is one of her favorite things to do in the known universe. Once she did take off into a cornfield and for a split second I thought I might throw up but she came back around after a few long seconds. I wish I had a picture of the look on her face when she busted out into the open again. It was electric. We took a drive over to Liz's house which is on the river. I've never actually been to Iowa but the Iowa in my head looks just like the drive from Beverly's house to Liz's. There is corn and more corn and most anywhere you turn on the road, it looks the same.
There were three dogs (two regulars and one visitor) at Liz's house, Jerry, Tank, and Super Rover. Stella didn't get to meet that crew (and sadly, missed a chance to learn how to use a dog door) but she did get to visit with her old friends Smiley & Pepper. Smiley took possession of Stella's bed right away and of course, she just gave it up, no problem. He is old and lovable and crotchety.
This last Saturday, and I'm guessing because God knows I will never get in that dog's head, but I believe Stella had one of the best days of her young life. At first she must have been skeptical because we traveled (sans air conditioning) in 90 degree weather, to a memorial service hosted by our friend Barney's hospice care workers. This included thirty or so grieving families, a piano player, three Chaplains, a couple of kids, and just to prove God has a sense of humor, a woman with a Pit Bull. I was really pleased they let me bring her in though. I wouldn't have been able to go otherwise. It was all good going in (even on the elevator) but she wasn't totally clear on why she had to lie down and be still for an hour and a half. She made it all the way through with only a couple of minor infractions. Her main concern early on was the piano player but each time she zeroed in on him, I managed to catch and distract her. My biggest fear was that she'd bark when someone sang or prayed. Or that when I got up to light Barney's candle, she'd assume it was her cue to trot through the room doing her nutball impersonation. Thankfully, she didn't. She stayed. It was beautiful.
As a reward for her good behavior during this bereavement-type activity, we left there and went on another few miles to the (legendary) Gemini Party on Old Hickory Lake, where Stella, a Gemini herself, strolled around in her life jacket a little, made thirty or forty new friends, lost her tags, found 'em and assumed clean up duties of any splattered grease found under or around the grill. She took more than one swim in the baby pool, went next door and crashed a wedding, although not in a big "We got you on the video" kind of way, met a dog named Murphy Brown, ate some ribs and generally just had a blast for the ensuing six hours, as did I. All of this made for an extremely happy dog and a such a peaceful Sunday I can't even describe it.