Yesterday I was raking leaves in the garden. At first it was hard, as Auguste wanted to attack the rake and subdue it, but he understood well enough after I told him not to do it and lifted him off the rake by the scruff of his neck about twenty times. All the while Rusty sat and watched. But when Auguste left off chasing the rake, he went over to play with her. Rusty backed up, and Auguste followed. Rusty decided this was her big chance. She led Auguste to all the places in the fence she usually uses to escape. The swing gate, the temporary chicken-wire gate, and the small hole under the fence I blocked up. At each place, Rusty stopped and sniffed around the weak spot – showing Auguste how he could get out of the garden if he wanted. I could practically hear her thoughts. “Look Auguste – see this hole? You could fit out there. Then you’re free! You can leave whenever you want. And don’t forget to write.”
Of course, Auguste was more interested in eating the leaves than escaping, but I thought it was nice of Rusty to take him all around the garden to show him all the possible means of leaving her alone…
Today though, things are different. Rusty and Auguste discovered they liked to play together. Auguste had taken rusty’s NEW toy, and Rusty wanted it back, so there ensued a tug-of-war, with Rusty lifting Auguste off the ground, the little dachshund hanging on for dear life. It became a game of tag, then more pulling, then Rusty actually licked Auguste–I think the ice has been broken. It’s still not perfect. I have to train Auguste to stay in his carry-cage, and that is not easy. He has to get used to being locked up inside, and he just howls. I can’t let him out until he stops for a while and calms down. When it’s reduced to whimpers, I praise him and open the door. Each day the howling is shorter – today it only lasted three minutes. I left him in a good fifteen minutes though, and gave him a bit of hard cheese as a reward inside his cage, so he sees it’s not all bad in there. Rusty, however, has sensitive ears and she has to go hide when the howling starts.
I just start the vacuum cleaner. The one I feel sorry for is my son, home from college and sleeping upstairs. I had to do all this at 8:30 a.m. because I have gym at 9 and I don’t want to miss it…

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