For the past couple of weekends, Banner has been relatively downshifted. Usually pre-Friday, Friday and Saturday are cause for a spike in enthusiasm. So when she lies down by the sofa without enthusiasm, I begin wondering what is wrong. Is she becoming ill? Is the arthritis becoming more limiting for her? Did she injure herself? Did she find something to eat that she shouldn’t have? Is she getting older!??

Sometimes all it takes to put her back into a higher energy state is to open the door. Or the refrigerator door. Reaching for a leash will do the trick too.

So yesterday I took her to work with me for the afternoon. And this morning, while Greg went into work very early, we stayed home and cooked breakfast. Food never cools fast enough for a Newfoundland! Her interest level is up, but her wild-and-crazy is still in the closet. However, this morning she sidled up to me on the sofa and pulled a maneuver that Banker would have done, or Jade. She did it will full coyness, sure that she could get what she wanted if she presented herself in that soft and bold way that I haven’t seen for a long time. I had a cup of coffee in hand as she put one paw on my lap, clearly with the intention of crawling up fully. I read her intention fast enough as she timed her moves with precision. There was enough time that I could have said “No”, but who wants to refuse such a polite request to share affection?

The weather wasn’t in our favor for a walk this morning, but luck was holding out. As soon as Greg got back, we took her out for a short road trip to the Webb City Farmers’ Market. We intended to shop, then take her for a short walk. As soon as we arrived, her excitement level had peaked. She was actually shivering, much too excited to walk through a crowd, so she had to wait outside. After making sure that I had her attention, I told her that we were going inside to get some things and that I would be back out very shortly. I pointed my index finger up in the “1 minute” gesture that I use to teach them to wait. With that I crossed fingers and went inside.

The Webb City Farmer’s Market is a very nice destination or side trip on Friday or Saturday mornings. This early in the year, there are flexible panels covering the exterior. It was early enough in the season that the shops were segregated to the front section, but there were some nice shopping options. One trailer was set up outside with organic chicken, so I got some leg quarters. Inside there were fresh greens for salads, a few early vegetable options, including some mammoth carrots, and there was a booth where a lady from Hawaii was selling some produce, including some fresh turmeric. She said that she brought the starts with her from Hawaii, and that she also usually had fresh ginger. She had a recipe for Golden Tea that we forgot to pick up, so now we’re searching the recipes online.

After collecting our items, we took Banner out on the path along the Farmers’ Market. She was vibrating with excitement. With every effort to contain herself and walk beside us came a spike of enthusiasm which led her to speed ahead, almost like she was passing through a space-time continuum. And as much as she smiled and looked up at me, two steps later she was complaining in a moan/plea about how humans are s-o-o-o-o slow! Or she was letting out that forced sigh of exasperation, like a deer snorting except with exasperation or chastisement instead of fear and alarm. Most of those were in the form of quick commentary rather than the long drawn out version that conveys a bit of drama.

We continued along the path, crossing a small ditch at one point and turning toward a pond with an aerator that looked like a fountain. Two small children were out with Mom carrying child-size umbrellas. Banner was getting a bit damp from the sprinkling, but we were still fortunate that the main storm had not yet arrived. As we turned around, I passed the leash to Greg. We want to encourage her to be an equal-opportunity walker.

He walked back with her faster but she still made some complaint. I watched her gait from behind, which lets me keep tabs on the arthritic progress on her knees. She is stiff in one leg, and occasionally drags a toenail.

Then we left for home, with Greg taking a “scenic route” along smaller roads. The road curved back and forth, followed a tiny creek that fed a large creek, then curved onward around brushy Ozark landscape, with trees and brush loaded with buds or small leaves.

To our neighbors in the northern hemisphere, welcome to Spring!

(Sorry Arthur!)

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