June 06, 2014

Gettin' Out of Dodge

When life gets snarly and we start to get a little rotten under the collar from all the stress and bustle of life, we know how to reset.  We get out of Dodge.

It was a hectic few weeks of being up in New York with Bridger for service dog training, rotating kids up and down from NY to be my helpers while the others remaining at home juggled through their activities, homework and daily routines with the help of an army of angels to keep our family going while mom was away while Alan maintained his 70+ hour work weeks.  I hit the ground running when I returned, playing catch up to the mound of laundry, pile of paperwork of all sorts (school, medical, insurance), and belated needs to be met from little ones that missed their mom.  Add that to attending to the focus that needed to be put on the important transitioning of Ty in his new home and new capacity as Bridger's service companion and I felt like a can of soda that had been shaken for quite some time.  Fearing my brain would pop, we took the weekend to connect, reconnect and renew in the best place possible - at our little stack of Lincoln Logs on Great North Mountain.

There is something that happens to your blood pressure every time you step inside and inhale the overwhelming scent of pine logs.  The one clock we have up there is always blinking.  We never bother to reset it because, frankly, we don't really care what time it is.  The kids disappear to climb the rocks and let their imaginations take flight in a dreamer's paradise.  We breathe.

This trip came with a fun and important addition, Mr. T!  For the first 30 minutes after we arrived we walked the perimeter and just let his busy nose have its fill.  He was so curious as to what all of these wonderful smells were.  It is important to love your job and the same is true for a service dog.  We were quite certain he was going to enjoy this business trip!

After the kids had been playing all morning outside, Lance rang the breakfast bell and we had a relaxing breakfast on the patio enjoying the fact that we didn't have kids and backpacks, Ziplock baggies and permission slips flying through our faces in the normal whirlwind of a breakfast routine to get the kids out the door to school.  After breakfast we took a family hike down to the creek.

Bridger has a fun way to join us on our hikes.  He sits with me on the atv as I troll along at a coasting walking pace with the others.  Bridger points out things he likes to stop and see and is getting quite a predictable pattern of requested sites on this hike -- the log over the creek, the waterfall, the bridge, the spring.  Ty was excited to pose with his buddy.

When we arrived at the creek the kids rolled their pants as high as they could and continued their hike upstream.  The best foot massage is Nature's version, which consists of walking along river rock in chilly spring water.  We let Ty play a bit in the creek.  All of his reserves of silliness that he had to keep under wraps at puppy college came out.  I studied quite a bit about dog's body language while at training and his body language was a pretty easy read -  he was ecstatic!  He could not believe that this is what his new job entailed.  He was on cloud nine!  At one point he was so excited he didn't know how to contain it any longer and so he gave me one big pounce!  He was immediately repentant and knew that was not appropriate and went into a forgiving "sit".  The family thought that was hilarious!

While the other kids ventured up and down the creek, Bridger sat on the side of the bridge and threw rocks and sticks into the water.  It was Ty's job to retrieve and he performed his job with gusto!  Bridger just kept laughing and enjoying the splash of the sticks and rocks he threw and enjoyed even more that they kept coming back to him.  We normally would not have been able to stay at the creek for so long but with Ty doing his "work" with Bridger it allowed the other children to enjoy the moment for as long as they wanted that moment to be.

The coming weeks are the final crazy last weeks of school mixed in with a medically crazy week full of appointments (you know how I love those weeks!)  We returned from our little mountain dirty and happy, ready to take it on!