Miles and I just got back from the East Coast. We were visiting my mother and my Nana, who we hadn’t seen for nearly a year. When we left the West Coast, it was becoming fall. When we arrived only half a day later on the other side of the country, it was extremely hot with almost 100% humidity. We were both shocked and tired, but I wanted to visit my Nana right away!
My Nana is 94, and has Alzheimer’s and dementia. I knew on this visit, I would have to face the reality that she might not recognize me. When I opened the door, her face lit up, and she remembered Miles, too. Miles was so happy to see Nana. He showered her hand with little licks. Nana immediately wanted to show her neighbors all of Miles’ tricks. Miles was happy to oblige. Afterwards he was happy to sleep on Nana’s bed in the nice air-conditioned room.
We looked at the photo album my mom made for my Nana. Nana shows everyone who visits her and it brought back a lot of amazing memories. Here are some random ones.
My mother goofed around and pretended to sleep just like Miles.
My mom and I played a little game of badminton over Nana’s bed. Nana enjoyed the game and Miles was focused on catching the birdie. A good Welsh Terrier never misses the goal!
Every visit with Nana included a walk, lead by Miles around the grounds.
Arriving at the Lake House
45 minutes later, we arrived at my parent’s house on the lake. Miles and I visited the house twice last year, so he knows it well. He was ecstatic to be in the land of the Lake: full of bunnies, bugs, squirrels, opossums, and birds, including wild turkeys. He did the most crazy zoomies the first night (above). Such perfectly “curated” zoomies took years of training! Haha!
The first of two and a half weeks of glorious sunsets.
In the mornings, Miles’ routine is always the same at my parent’s house:
- yoga on the carpet in our guest bedroom
- trot down the stairs and to the back door to look out on the backyard and lake
- a chaperoned pee with yours truly (while secretly dreaming of chasing bunnies)
- check out the breakfast activity in the kitchen
- find the sunny patch on the couch and ENJOY
Miles loved sneaking in some sunbathing with my mom.
A “Back to Summer?” Haircut
The next order of business was a haircut for Miles. Oh boy Miles needed a haircut — it didn’t seem that pressing until we landed in the extreme heat and humidity — and then it was crucial! Miles was so hot in his wiry wool coat. While my mom worked on paperwork, I stripped Mr. Miles, and then we had a celebratory post-haircut game of fetch. The toy was gifted to us by our friend Denise — it is an Audubon cardinal.
Steeplechase “Run for Money!” Agility Trial
Our first weekend of the trip, my mom did something unbelievably special — she woke up early in the morning and drove us to an agility competition 2 hours away! I had read that there was a “run for money” Steeplechase trial happening while I’d be visiting and I mentioned it to my mother. I couldn’t believe it when she said she’d take us! The morning was very chilly, and for a little while, got colder! The weather however was perfect for Miles. He’d prefer to do agility almost freezing. What a Welshman.
The venue was so different than anywhere we’ve been. The footing was this interesting synthetic material. It was at a fully horse-y facility, full of horses and horse-y smells, so I wasn’t sure how Miles would react. He is in the top level of agility where you don’t warm up or test out the ring first — you go in and compete!
Miles isn’t a morning dog, with the exception of agility. He was so excited! And look at the interesting footing!
The trial was wonderfully well organized and our 4 runs were over in 3 hours! It was an all-Steeplechase trial. Steeplechase is a numbered agility course that is around 18-21 obstacles. It is mostly jumps, a few tunnels, and the A-Frame and weave poles. You either do the A-Frame twice and the Weaves once, or the Weaves twice and the A-Frame once. The rules of Steeplechase are specific: Wrong-courses (when the dog does an extra obstacle he isn’t supposed to) will eliminate you. But unlike other Masters-level courses, there are no faulted “refusals,” aka when the dog almost doesn’t do an obstacle and you then have to send them back to it, or if the dog messes up the weaves and you have to re-start the weaves again to get them right. If you dog knocks a jump bar, or hops early off of the A-Frame, 5 seconds are added to your time. Steeplechase is all about SPEED and accuracy. So you can mess up and fix it — but it will just cost you time. The dog with the fastest time wins. So it pays to do the course as accurately as possible!
Miles’ top 3 runs were great, and he won the little dog class! In agility it is very uncommon to win money, so we all laughed that the top 3 dogs were “buying their people dinner.”
And of course, this resulted in more lakeside snoozing for Miles. It was only the beginning of our adventures in lake country. In the next post I’ll tell you about my uncle’s visit and our hikes at Point Pelee!