We had another round of chill weather, enough to make a Newfoundland happy. The dog door opened and closed frequently. She was so excited that she didn’t know what to do with herself. She just knew that she wanted to be outside, soaking in as much as she could, with anticipation that was not yet clear to me. And after a while, after filling herself by absorbing the chill, she wanted to play. That cat, the one who is always with her, who won’t let her take care of business in peace, should have learned by now. She jumped down on her elbows, tail waving. He knew not to run. She did a nose thrust. He tried to stay still. She jumped up and swiped with her paw, her (to a cat) big, enormous paw with huge claws. He conceded that it was time for him to seek refuge, after issuing his objection.

Banner has begun making a sound that conveys a level of excitement and exuberance with rumblings of running out of patience for the fun to arrive. She can do this in a yawn or a bark. Your first reaction is, “What was that!?” But her expression is clear without translation.

And she is tuned-in to pre-Fridays! and Fridays! and Saturdays! Each week is like a long sine wave. The world should revolve around the Newfoundland calendar. But with the comings of warm weather, there has also been some glumness, as if the party is over, followed by brief episodes of chill, even with her favorite precipitation for two of those. Last night, there was a freeze. The humans were not ahead of schedule this year; there were no plants to cover or bring inside. After each indoor activity, like water, food, cookie, anything that may entice her to come back in, within an instant, as soon as you turned, the dog door would swing closed. I latched the door a couple of times, then she would wait for a short time and approach, leading me to ask whether she needed to go outside. Her answer was of course, “Yes!” (need to find a way to clarify this question) I finally decided that it would be her last trip, notified her that she should take care of business, then brought her back in and latched the door for the night. The cats probably went to bed without food in their dishes.

Yesterday, and most of last week, I had appointments that kept me away from the house, so I credited her higher than usual level of excitement to cabin fever, too many long boring days. When I got back yesterday evening, she went to the van and appeared to want to go to town. I decided to check with Greg one more time. He was working late, so I told her we would go on our own. She looks forward to weekends partly because we can all go together. Before I could leave, he texted that he was on his way. She had been blasting outside at any hope that the car had pulled into the drive. Finally, we were on our way to town for a walk. When we arrived, motivation for her enthusiasm was laid bare: it was Food Truck Friday! (That’s an even better Friday that comes once/month.) How does she know this?? We live about 2-3 miles to the east. The wind is usually from the north or the south. (This time it was definitely from the north.) People were so enthusiastic about the return of Food Truck Friday that parking was difficult. The chill didn’t keep people, or Banner, away.

The previous weekend had been the first Farmers’ Market weekend since last year, so maybe it shouldn’t have been a surprise. The pretzel lady had been at the market, and they had a pretzel behind the counter without salt in anticipation of “the bear”. She was there again today, with an unsalted pretzel. Banner’s eyeballs were practically spinning. This lady knows how important the treat is to Banner, so she was kind enough to tell me that she wouldn’t be at the park next weekend.

The chill didn’t last long. Yesterday I had turned on the heat in the van, so I turned that off. It was still warm and wafting across my face. I turned off the fan. It was still warm. With 77 due tomorrow, the heat was already coming through the windshield. But Banner will probably enjoy another phase of cool weather or two before her gears downshift. And we will need to begin taking walks earlier in the morning. Even with the weather becoming warmer, there is a new source of enthusiasm: people and kids and dogs and food vendors and the musical ice cream truck are busy in the park again.

Like relatives before her, Banner is a little more animated than most Newfs. She is lit by social energy and interactions. And pretzels. Soon it will be too warm for her to walk and gait so enthusiastically, until she rounds the corner with the pretzel booth in smell range, with her memories tantalizing her before she can get her first bite!

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