10 May 2010

Happy Campers!

We just returned to Ontario after a 6-month stint wintering in Arizona. Our welcome home was inhospitable: rain, sleet, ice pellets, very chilly temperatures, and strong winds. Quite a dramatic change after the mild winter and early warm spring I was told this province had.

After 4 days of traveling in the van from Arizona to Ontario, our dogs had to endure yet another 2 days being cooped up in our Ontario home due to the foul weather.  But better safe than sorry as a few new trees came down during the wind storm so I was thankful I didn't venture out into the woods.  Finally, the winds subsided and it warmed up ever so slightly on Sunday.  I went to get their blaze orange collars and bells and from that point, the dogs just got so excited! They remembered what this meant. Walkies!!  Actually, "runnies", not walkies.

Apart from several trips to the dog park in Arizona, our dogs' main exercise has been brisk, long leash walks - for some very important reasons.
  1. Dangers of cactus everywhere and I mean everywhere! (at least where we live)
  2. Very strict leash laws in Maricopa County
  3. Huge fines and court appearances if charged for being off leash
  4. Potential dangers of coyotes, javalinas, bobcats, and rattlesnakes depending on the time of year and location of our walks.
So imagine their excitement at the prospect of going for a run off leash!  Let's go, let's go, let's GO mom!  Admittedly, I was rather nervous even though I've taken them for runs in our woods for years and years.  I guess I was worried they would be so smitten with being free, that they would quickly disappear into the woods onto fresh scents they hadn't smelled in months.  At least when I walk them on leash, I always have them under control.

To ease my feelings, I did a lot of short recalls while they were in close proximity and this helped.  However, Diva, now almost 2, disappeared twice. The second time she disappeared in the same area and didn't return right away when I blew the whistle and called her name. I called and called. Note to self - work harder on her recalls!!!  Finally she emerged carrying a deer leg in her mouth.  Well, what a coincidence! Miska did exactly the same thing - found a deer leg the first day after our return from Arizona last year! (See http://varazsvizslas.blogspot.com/2009/02/miskas-trophy.html) Like mother, like daughter!  At least I know Diva has a good nose and has already proven herself to to be a good hunter.  Now Diva has to prove herself on her recalls.

Proud Diva with her deer leg treasure

1 comment:

  1. We're glad that everyone got home safe and sound. Cannot imagine not being able to let the dogs run daily off leash! We found the Okanagan bad enough - hot, arid places are so inhospitable for dogs. I remember the deer leg from the other year - how funny that Diva repeated the same trick! Hope you can relax back into Canadian life - we don't want to lose you down to AZ and I'm sure the dogs would rather be in ON.