Saturday, August 20, 2011

Adapting the RItual

I have a new partner in my morning routine. Stella is now waking up at 6 am, having slept through the night in her crate like a good little puppy. I actually get up first at 5:30, sneak stealthly downstairs , avoiding the step that squeaks, since Stella sleeps in my daughter’s room. After some quality snuggle time with Velcro, who is still playing the role of the disgruntled cat, I make coffee and go back to wake up the pup.

First, we tumble down the stairs and out the front door to take care of business. I don’t use the back door because it will alert Siete and Silk. They will both dig holes to China in their stalls if they have to wait too long for breakfast, so sshh! don’t tell them . Then, back in the kitchen, I feed both Stella and Velcro and pound down some coffee. Fortified, we’re ready to greet the horses, which I regard as the official start of every day.

At first, Stella was afraid of the tack room and the garage door that growls as it opens to reveal all those bales of hay stored there. I really didn’t want to make this feeding ritual turn into a frantic battle of wills, so I tied her leash to one of the cross-ties. This seems to be a satisfying grounding post for both of us. Siete and Silk stick their heads out of their stalls and begin talking to me from across the yard. I can answer them, fill the feed buckets and grab a couple of flakes of hay without a whirling dervish of puppy tangling the leash around my legs. Stella finds the “stick of the day”, usually the largest branch she can fit in her mouth, and settles down to gnaw on it.

When I’ve got all the essentials together, we cross the yard to the barn. Stella proudly marches with her oversized prize in tow, leaving me to carry the buckets and hay. I tie her to the pasture gate while Silk complains that I’ve got that crazy black creature with me again and that I need to hurry up because can’t I see that there are horses that are starving here? Stella sits like a puppy poster child observing everything I do as I feed horses and fill water buckets and open stall doors. When I’m done and it’s time to go back to the house, Stella carefully places her prized stick through the metal pipes just on the other side of the gate inside the pasture like an offering. Siete wanders out and sniffs it but chooses the hay that I’ve left next to the water bucket.

Recently, I realized that I had stopped taking the extra moment to appreciate the angle of the sun rising over the trees and the sounds of horses munching hay and the Canadian geese honking as they fly by over our heads. So, this morning, I made Stella wait a few more minutes while we just soaked up the glories of the beginning of a late summer day.


Lori Skoog said...

Sounds like a great way to start the day. Stella is growing...what a sweet looking girl.

Grey Horse Matters said...

Stella is just toooo adorable for words. It sounds like she is going to be the perfect barn dog. I like that she leaves the horses her offering for the morning along with you leaving them their food. A contribution like that shows that she's really following your lead.

Oak in the Seed said...

Toby is sleeping thro
ugh the night as well(THANK YOU GOD). Stella has that "bring life on!" puppy eagerness and it sounds like you are introducing her well into the world of your family of folks and four-legged soul mates. We should probably arrange a puppy play date some day, as pitiful as that sounds!

detroit dog said...

Hi Victoria,

Just sending a quick note to say that I hope you and yours have "weathered" Irene and are not too overwhelmed and inundated.

Wishing the best for you all,


Jaime said...

My "puppy" Josie is now a year and half old and has taken to everything from barn dog to bed dog to horse show dog to truck dog equally well. It's hard to believe I had to tie her to keep her from underfoot in the barn just a year ago!

Enjoy Stella's time as a puppy, too soon she will be all grown up and seem to have known it all forever!