Feb 29 2024

This morning, I opened the curtains to see the glorious sight of a white Buzz-buzz outside in the tree. I chimed cheerily, "Good morning, White Buzz-buzz, looking good".

Lilly and I went downstairs for our morning hellos to the birds while putting down their food. Usually, after the birds, I prepare Lilly's breakfast, a chicken broth, made towards her requirements, however, I was behind on my duties. So, feeling a little guilty, I decided to give her dog mince from the butcher - num num. In a situation with normal people and normal dogs, we would find the dog mince to be placed in the dog's bowl, and the dog would happily eat it. I, however, know that if I proceeded with the aforementioned sequence, Lilly would give me the look of - what do I do with that, raised eyebrows and all.

I take the frozen bag of dog mince outside and put it on the grass, because, unbeknownst to me, the reason why, but Lilly enjoys it more when there is competition between her and the birds, namely the Buzz-buzz. All the birds like the dog mince, so it's high competition. I empty the frozen ball of mince onto the grass, with Lilly secretly following behind me. When the mince is on the grass, Lilly's tail begins to wag as she patiently waits at a distance. I turn to go back inside, and from the corner of my eyes, I see a wiggly tail as Lilly proudly retrieves and carries the mince, body straight with eyes searching, wide and smiling, for a new secret resting place for the mince.

It's like a game for her. She moves around the garden proudly, as if prancing on her toes, with the parcel in her mouth. You see her eyes scanning and calculating the best place to put it. She will bury and retrieve the mince about three to five times before it finds its final resting place. I return inside, leaving her to it. Soon afterwards, I see a muddied Lilly return to following my step. I cheekily smile at her and say where did you hide it? Her excitement lifts her body, and her tail waggles as she turns to take me to the magic spot. I follow her outside to a mud flowerbed, where she first inspects the horse manure area (obviously the distraction spot), then gayfully prances to a spot behind a bush where she had placed her treasure. She stands erect, looking at me and wiggling her bum-bum. I began laughing as I said that it was safe from Buzz-buzz. She proudly turned and moved off towards a stone lying on the driveway. She scoops low in front of the stone, ready to play. I casually walk towards her, pick up the stone and throw it. She excitedly races to retrieve it.

We are inside now. Lilly is sprawled out on the sofa resting while I am a goddess in the kitchen, preparing and cooking her chicken broth whilst washing the dishes and pottering around doing some jobs - all before my day at work starts. Feeling exhilarated with the sense of achievement, I begin my day on the computer. Lilly is now resting with her nose pointing toward the draft in the door so she can both rest, and keep up with what is happening outside.

Interestingly, the spot where she is lying is towards the back of the garden, but if anyone goes near her parcel in the front - she knows immediately. In fact, wherever she is in the house, she knows. Every time she goes outside, she sniffs the area of her parcel to see who was or wasn't there or near.

At the end of our productive day, we stopped off at the Chase for a relaxing walk. The journey there ignites small delicate squeeches from Lilly as her excitement begins to explode while she smells the destination we are going through the window. We park and start walking along the path, Lilly idling behind me as she sniffs at all the information posts, returning messages and wiggling with pleasure at the experience.

We have a regular route that we walk, meeting and greeting fellow dogs and humans. Today, however, unbeknownst to me, Lilly has a different idea. As we begin walking our typical route, Lilly abruptly stops. I look at her, absorb the signals she is sending me, and say which way - left or right? Right, she points with her body and marches ahead, sniffing the air and following her nose. At this point, I'm feeling a little overwhelmed at the prospect of uncertainty because it is late afternoon, and I don't fancy being in the dark. Lilly, however, knows exactly where she wants to go.

Lilly leads me on a roundabout route, taking me directly to where we once sat and ate sausage rolls. Lilly goes to the spot on the grass and lies down, waiting for me to join her. I say to her, "Lilly, I only have water today", to which she moves her head in agreement. I take her bowl out of my bag and fill it with water, then lay it near where she is. Lilly sips the water and then lays upright to enjoy the moment. I join her, and we sit there for a few minutes, taking in the scenery and the sounds.

I say to Lily are you ready, actually meaning to walk, however, Lilly sits bolts upright, ready. I know this pose. It's the I'm ready to throw water pose. So I giggle at her charm and position myself to playfully swing the bowl saying, "Ready, steady, and go" as whoosh, I throw the water, and she catches it in her mouth, then moving in a circle, happy and content.

We continued walking, me saying "Left or right", to which Lilly points the direction we should go, and we head in that direction. I begin thinking that we are heading towards our regular route, only in reverse, and then we can head to the car. Lilly, however, has other ideas. She has decided on something entirely different. Initially, I began to feel a bit anxious as it seemed we were heading away from the car. Lilly was marching happily, nose in the air following her desire.

Eventually, my anxiousness turned into happiness as I realised Lilly was stretching my boundaries, and taking me to better sights. In resolved acceptance, I followed her as we take the longest scenic route. Lilly is happy as we walk, with her directing my left and right, occasionally stopping in her stone pose. I then pick up the muddy stone in front of her and throw it, with Lilly excitedly running after it, picking it up and proudly walking on. This sequence continued as we walked around the Chase in unknown territory. I was now enjoying the new experience and sights and sounds, having forgotten about the anxieties I once had as we started.

The sun emerges as we enter the path I know that leads back in the right direction for the car. Lilly is walking next to me, and we are elated by the sights, sounds and experiences during our walk.

I am thankful that Lilly and I had this experience, as it stretched my boundaries, and we really enjoyed it. It was in the moment fun, not planned or routine. I felt elated with gratitude about the achievements, the embracing and the valuable time.

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