Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Jump (For My Love)

Abby loved Andy, protected him and played with him but she could still be a jealous little Baby Girl when it came to attention we gave Andy. It didn’t take long until Andy could keep up with Abby running, and he could eventually our run her. He was a dynamo—a ‘fetching machine’. We loved and praised Andy when he would fetch along with many other activities he participated in. As far as I was concerned, Andy was cute and by definition everything he did was cute. It was so hard not to shower him with love and affection. Abby was aware of the attention he was receiving and at times would be envious and try to gain some attention for herself.

Abby pretty much conceded to Andy in fetching/retrieving games. Andy was so much faster than Abby and Father that they often let him chase down whatever toys we would toss out in the yard without even trying to go get the toy themselves. However, when Andy would make his way back to the thrower is when he would have to undergo a gauntlet of canines trying to take away his toy. Sometimes when they got too close, Andy would tuck his butt down and scoot pass me and the dogs. If one of the dogs gave chase to him, Andy would be thrilled. Other times, Andy would dig in and brace himself for tug-o-war, which pleased Abby to no end. Of course when they were playing tug-o-war, I was left out, so to get myself back into the game, I would grab another toy and throw it in the yard, after all I wanted their attention and to play as well! Once Andy saw this, he aborted the tugging game and chased the new toy. Andy loved fetching games above all others and couldn’t resist chasing any thrown object. Meanwhile, Abby would either sit down and rest or she would engage me in a game of tug-o-war.

In the pool, Abby still was top dog. She was always able to keep up with Andy well into her later years while they swam. However, when Andy started swimming and receiving ample amounts of attention and praise, Abby had to one-up Andy in the water. In the parlance of today’s youth: She stepped up her game. Abby normally entered the water by walking down the concrete steps in the shallow end, and she would exit the pool either going back up those steps or at the step ladder at the deep end. Even at the age of 2, Abby still had to be cajoled and prodded into the water. Now that Andy was at the house and was stealing some of her limelight, Abby ratcheted up her playing intensity and enthusiasm at the pool.

For example, one day in Andy’s first summer here, I was in the water towards the deep end. (I am not sure where the other dogs were.) In an attempt to bring Abby in the water, I shouted to her ‘Get in Baby Girl!’ Abby, taking me seriously, leapt off the pool’s edge straight at me, catching me completely by surprise. That was over a 100 pounds of love coming at me and she made a direct hit! It hurt a lot, but when I resurfaced, I was dismayed and laughing. My mom loudly cheered for Abby, and I made quite a fuss about it as well. With this positive reinforcement, Abby found a new repertoire in her play arsenal, and it was a doozy! From then on, I had to be aware of where Abby was and what I said when I asked her to come play in the pool with me.

She leapt with a vigor and gusto having a monopoly on a game that no other dog could play. In this game, she didn’t have to share me with any other dog, and for the moments when that game was played, Abby had me all to herself.

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