Australian Shepherds are quite variable in temperament. Some lines are extremely energetic, quick moving, and hyperactive, while others tend toward a milder, calmer manner.
It may be too early to tell, but I suspect that Kiah falls in the former category. I suspect this because of the number of times a week I say the following: “THIS IS WHY WE CAN’T HAVE NICE THINGS!” I might yell it a little bit. I definitely say it twice as often as I did before Kiah came into our home and started decimating it.
So, I’ve begun taking her for long walks. It’s the only way to settle her down a bit. I put the twins in the double stroller and the three of us take a merry jaunt through and out of our neighborhood. I like to stroll down a nearby country road to a very old, small cemetery. The twins get out and stretch their legs while I flap my arms and implore them not to climb the tombstones. After that, we head back. It’s a charming time.
Today’s walk didn’t get off to a good start. I could not find Kiah’s leash anywhere- it wasn’t where I left it and the twins weren’t talking- so I fashioned a leash out of a jump rope. Then, Ella managed to fall out of her seat onto the coarse pavement, which she was not happy about. The cemetery is not even a mile away, but it feels so much longer when you’re pushing twins, picking up stray twins and putting them back in their seats, all while corralling an extremely energetic, quick moving, and hyperactive puppy. There are grates to be avoided, cars not to swerve into, and large teethy dogs to steer clear of.
Today, we made it to the cemetery and I sat with Kiah under a large Hickory tree. Daniel soon broke the tranquility with a “Look mom! A little Daniel chair!” I went over to remove him from the low-to-the-ground tombstone. It was right then that Kiah decided to defecate beside the grave of one Robert Danworth, deceased in February of 1868 at the age of 89. Someone had recently stuck a small American flag by his grave, so I have to assume he was a veteran. Of the Mexican-American War. Or the War of 1812. Maybe even the Quasi-War with France. Who knows. (I think it’s lovely someone out there knows.)
Immediately after she finished her business, Kiah trotted off, bent over, ate a Hickory nut, began choking, and spit the thing up. I stared at her, somewhat dazed. She stared back.
It was then I became irritated; however, always willing to do my duty as a responsible pet owner, I reached into my pocket for a baggie. (This whole carrying your dog’s poop in a baggie thing, by the way, is quite possibly the worst part of dog ownership. Even if it’s triple-bagged, you are still always profoundly aware that you are walking around with sh&# in your pocket. I generally gravitate toward someone’s garbage tote on the curb and sneak Kiah’s waste into it, even though I have heard that some people don’t like their garbage mingling with other people’s garbage- hence the sneaking.)
There was no baggie in my pocket. We’ve only had Kiah a little over a month, so I have not yet developed that “never leave the house without a baggie” mindset.
You can imagine my predicament. I had several options:
1) Turn around and never ever visit the little cemetery again. Pray for forgiveness.
2) Find large leaves, pick up poop, and fling it into the woods behind cemetery. (This was my least favorite option.)
3) Go home and return later to clean up the mess.
4) Ask the woman who was staring at me the next house over if she had a baggie.
I went with option 4 and unloaded the baggie in someone’s garbage tote about six houses down.
The walk took longer than I imagined it would, and as I approached our development, Caleb's and Ben’s school bus sped by me. And thus a race of epic proportions- think Ben-Hur- commenced. Kiah and I sprinted to the house and arrived 30 seconds before the bus did.
When we got home, Kiah raced to her water bowl. After an incredibly long and sloppy drink, she did something she’s never done before. She went into her crate and laid her head on her paws, looking very beleaguered, and went to sleep. Just like that.
Score one for Holly.