This morning the dogs woke me at 4am. The neighbor dogs were kicking up a fuss, so all my pups nudged me then ran out the back. This is usually an indication that something is going on that I should probably check in to. I dressed quickly, grabbed the spotlight and went out the backdoor.
Sweeping the treeline, I noticed movement off to the left. Two does and a couple yearlings eyes glowed back at me as the light struck them. With a satisfied smile I watched them head to my side yard to bed down for part of the day. Sounds like venison on the table this year.
When dawn was barely shading the valley with gray light, Princess, Freya and I took our first training run of the season. The air was a cool 52 degrees, with very little humidity. The trees have not yet begun to turn, so are a rich dark green, and the grass, well, in kentucky it's bluish green. The garden my neighbors helped us with is overflowing with rich growth of basil, tomatoes, chocolate spearmint, thyme, and several varieties of flowers. The solar light globes looked like magic balls of shimmering white light hovering just above the walkway.
I got the mountain bike down from the wall in the shed. The tires I had worked on last weekend were still firm, but the brakes seemed a little stiff. No time to work on them now though, Princess and Freya were already harnessed and screaming to go. The other nine dogs were lined up at the fence, watching with wistful excited eyes. I walked the bike over to the back of the truck and leaned it against the rubber bumper, and went to get the girls.
Princess was jumping and screaming, and Freya was dancing and whining excitedly. I could barely hold them back as I walked them over to the bike. Trying to quickly snap on their tugs without losing control was quite a challenge. Then taking off the leashes while holding back two strong dogs rearing to go. At last I had them ready, and slowly let the gang line out as I picked up the bike and held on to the handlebars with all my might to get it on the road. At last my foot was on the pedal and we were off even before I swung my leg over.
Freya and Princess were like the wind, swift, eager, full of the joy of running. In an instant we were across the bridge, around the bend and up the hill not slowing or breaking stride. Swift as an arrow, we flew, the cool breeze lifting each foot and propelling us forward. This was what they were born to do, and I was fated to be with them, a team, a spirit of one. All too soon we were at the three-quarter mile landmark, the old barn. Here I called them to ease then halt. Come around brought Freya immediately back to my left (she's definitely a left paw dog), and after a second of confusion, Princess followed suit eager to be on the run again.
The joy of running was in them both, I could feel it like the rising tide, and even the neighbor dogs running beside them could not distract from their purpose. Back around the bend, skirting the side of the mountain, back across the bridge, up the hill and home. With a bit of disappointment, both dogs realized we were already back at our own driveway. I called them to halt while I picked up the leashes, then walked them to the garden. Laying down the bike, I hooked up the leashes and undid their tugs. Happily they padded up to the door, eager for their well earned snack.
I let them run to the water jug for a quick drink, but they weren't going to let me open the freezer alone. Both were eagerly awaiting their frozen meat patty. I had to break them apart and handed one down to what I thought was Freya, but realized my son's dog Zena had snuck in for a stolen snack. Ah well, I shrugged and got out two more patties, handed one to Freya and one to Princess. Princess immediately took hers into her crate in my room, and Freya took hers in to the kitchen. When they had finished eating, I took off the leashes and harnesses and rubbed down Princess, checking every joint, the pads of her feet, her toes and nails. She leaned into me heavily, smiling as I rubbed her down. I then unleashed and removed Freya's harness, rubbing her down and checking her joints and feet. Both dogs had huge grins, happy to have been on the first run of the season.