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Since Mabel’s been on daycare hiatus for 18 days, I’ve been trying to give her the play and exercise she needs, but I’m not a room full of rowdy dogs. Well, last weekend, we were in the backyard patio, and Mabel decided she was bored after I tossed her squeaky toys twice for her. She started hopping around like a bunny. And I thought, “Oh my gosh, that’s so cute. I need to put it on cue.”

That is until Mabel began jump-nip-bite-hump-zoom-bite-bite-jump-nip-zooming. I don’t know how long it lasted, but it was less than a minute. I redirected the inappropriate play behavior, but at that moment, my sweet, good girl resembled the mischievous villain from the iconic 80’s movie. After another couple of similar incidents where I saw what was transpiring but wasn’t as fast as my dog, I diverted Mabel BEFORE she turned into a gremlin.

Well, Monday night, after Mabel and I walked over an hour on a super quiet trail with all kinds of critters crossing our path for her to linger and sniff after they left and Mabel ate her dinner, I thought surely she’d be ready to settle in for the night. 

Mabel jumped on and off the bed and tossed her toys around (something I usually giggle about; I love that she can entertain herself and that she (mostly) accepts that toys and bones stay on the floor, not furniture). Mabel bounced back on the bed, sat close to me, and gave me this intense look. I asked, “Does Stripe need to come out?”

She charged downstairs, and the instant I opened the back door, Mabel zoomed and zoomed and zoomed and zoomed, then grabbed her toy and zoomed some more, then we played a short game of tug. My sweet, good girl came inside and lay on the floor with the deepest, satiated sigh I’ve heard in a long time.  

I know the drastic schedule change because Mabel can’t attend daycare has been difficult. And, despite recovering from Giardia, eye, ear, and respiratory infections, Mabel’s still ready to play and party after 7:30 a.m. (clearly not an early-morning creature.)

So, while I’d never choose the no-playing-with-other-dogs status we’re in, I’m delighted we’re continuing to learn to communicate with each other. Mabel’s medications have affected her appetite and desire for bones. Yet, twice this week, when I was working out, she crawled onto the sofa when she didn’t finish her bully stick rather than throttling herself at me with a rascally, toothy grin, then ear nip.

We’ve also found two walking spots with the fewest possible triggers, quiet and (almost) perfect for both of us. Mabel even napped her way through three hours of home-alone time five times, maybe six now.

As of yesterday morning, Mabel was done with meds and completely symptom-free, but then, in the afternoon, she coughed a couple of times. So, we’re heading to the vet for more testing. I want to ensure Mabel’s feeling great and not the reason another dog gets sick. We’re meeting with a pet sitter on Sunday, so I have a backup for kitchen days and my upcoming trip to the Association of Pet Dog Trainers Conference. 

And, this weekend, here’s hoping, assuming Mabel’s still stuck with boring old me, that I find ways to entertain my young energizer bunny because when I do, the sweet, snuggly Gizmo girl snuggles are the best.

I hope your day and weekend are full of love, light, and all that brings you joy.

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