We are over the hump. Winter solstice is behind us, and the days are slowly getting longer while nights get shorter. The gain is only a minute or so each day, but every little bit counts when you are sick and tired of going to work in the gloom and coming home in more gloom.
Racing home is the order of the day when every precious minute of daylight means dog training time. Phone calls can be returned tomorrow but you can never get back the sun’s rays once it drops behind the mountains.
If I were smart, I’d train young Manny first. His dark coat is good camouflage when shadows lengthen. Fortunately, glowing eyes betray his whereabouts toward the end of a session.
But I steadfastly cling to the idea that the older, dominant Buddy gets out the gate first. Manny voices his displeasure to no end, but this training regimen keeps peace in the pack.
Tonight both dogs were in the zone, firing on all eight cylinders. Each went through his paces like a champ. I wonder if it was the negative ions in the briskly moving air? Maybe it was their owner’s zeal over a few more measly minutes of sunshine. Whatever the cause, each gave strong performances at their appointed tasks.
After jealously watching through the fence as Buddy did his workmanlike best on a blind search and retrieve, Manny outdid himself. It was an inspired search, clean scoop and return to hand. An extra scratch behind the ears was his reward.
Then the sun was down, gloom once again permeating the forest and prairie behind the house. Time to rub and scratch some more, then water the dogs. Honoring the performances and the promise of spring and long evenings outside, I splashed some 12-year-old water flavored with toasted barley malt into my own glass.