As If I Needed Ten More Reasons To Love and Appreciate Callie Golden Retriever. New Reason No. 1

You can tell from this blog that I really love Callie Golden Retriever – and that I am very bonded to her. We have a terrific two-way, give-and-take person-dog relationship. My favorite activity with Callie is our daily soccer game – because it’s her creation, from the first day she arrived at my house, at age eight weeks. But our daily soccer game is just a small part of our relationship. Another important part of our dog-person relationship is my ever-increasing “appreciation” for dogs in general, and for Callie in particular. Dogs continue to amaze me. I know, I know, the scientists say they have the intelligence of a two-year-old kid. But there’s something more going on with dogs. Maybe it’s all the cute things they do to endear us to them. Maybe it’s their complete honesty and openness of their dog personalities and dog nature – the way they reveal their dogginess to us every day. Maybe they have figured out how to get a reaction out of us. Or maybe they take “cute pills” when we’re not looking. Anyway, visiting Lake Arrowhead with Callie is always a special treat. She loves being outdoors, having lots of new smells to check out, going on long walks, and swimming in the lake. On our most recent visit, Callie did ten special things that made me appreciate her even more. So I decided to write them as a serial adventure in “Dog Appreciation.” If you’ve ever wondered how we arrived at “Dog Appreciation Lessons” as the title of our first CD, now you know. These are the kinds of fun stories that make up the CD – and our fascination with “dog appreciation.” So here’s installment No. 1 of “As If I Needed Ten More Reasons To Love And Appreciate Callie Golden Retriever.” One of our extended walk/jogs at Lake Arrowhead takes us past the UCLA Conference Center and two tennis courts that are separated from the road by a twenty-foot high row of bushes. In the past, I have found an occasional tennis ball tucked away between the bushes and the tennis court fence. Realizing from whence these tennis balls were magically appearing, Callie started, some months ago, to search the bushes herself. She would run along the edge of the bushes with her eyes firmly fixed on the area behind the bushes, where an errant tennis ball might be hiding. She has found three or four tennis balls this way – and they become her treasure for the day. She carries them home and stays close to them until bedtime – and sometimes after. Well, this last visit, Callie amazed us by taking the tennis ball search to a higher level. She climbed behind the bushes whenever she could. She pushed right through the opening between two of the bushes and walked along the gap between the tennis court and the bushes. Unfortunately, this time, she did not get rewarded with a ball, but we were amazed at her creativity and persistence. It won’t be long until she finds a tennis ball this way. I don’t know if this qualifies as “smart” or not, but it’s certainly clever and creative behavior. And another one of those little endearing “dog appreciation” moments for me. Watch this space for nine more “Reasons.”