But Ameranth and I are optimists. (What's that definition of an optimist? Performing the same actions and expecting a different result? Wait, I think that may be the definition of mental illness. Never mind.) The dogs love running in the pasture and the woods sooo much that we hate to deny them that release. We take them on leashes down the road to the gate and let them loose, and they soar over the grass, stretching out low to the ground, Boomer's little legs moving twice as much, but he keeps up with them through sheer determination.
Or they race over the packed-down track of the snowmobile trail and we try to catch up and turn them around before they continue into the distant cow pasture. This is so much better than just walking up and down our roadside! After being denied freedom for a few days or weeks, depending on just how bad the last outing was, we think "this time will be better- they will know if they behave we can do it again." And they do come back and we are happy and satisfied.
So we try it again. And then we see the dreaded circle of gathering occurring. Anna starts running around our group, faster and wider, swooping the other dogs into her orbital pull and then straightening out, leading them out to the road and leaving us in her dust.
While Anna likes to explore forbidden places, such as other people's garbage cans and dog yards, Rosie usually slips into the woods and sneaks past the house. Anna will head for the cat shed and we can get her inside from there, while Boomer comes when called (what a concept!) Then I am left standing on our steps, calling to Rosie is who is slinking past the barn across the street, about 100 feet from me-well within earshot. She pauses, looks at me and visibly makes up her mind to ignore me, lowering her head in her wolf mode and continues on. If we can get her cornered well enough she gives up and waits for us to walk over and get her. Note she doesn't come to us- we still have to walk over and grab her collar, then she's all sunshine and light, expecting a reward when we get home.
Other than the running away, Rosie is a pretty mellow dog. She's big and gawky and looks silly when she tries to jump and play with the others, and she never did think fetch made any sense. Except for a soft little red ball that was a nose on a stuffed toy, I think. It's a little smaller than a ping pong ball, and she loves to pull it in her mouth, then roll it out on her tongue like a magician's trick. She flicks it at me and waits for the toss back. Silly, silly dog. She doesn't stand when she can sit, and doesn't sit when she can lie down. She has taken over our couch, though she doesn't mind sharing, as long as she gets her end.
She was a goofy puppy and grew up to be a gentle sweet dog who can be sly and ninja-silent while rearing up to the counter and stealing food left within reach.
Who knows where to sit for the treats, and if we don't notice or get there soon enough, lifts her butt off the floor and sit again with a noisy thump.
She's a big dog with a shiny coat and soft brown eyes and adrenal glands that don't work anymore. When we discovered this last fall, we spent money we couldn't afford on her diagnosis and treatment. Her hair fell out and she wasn't herself anymore and we decided the best course was not to continue the medication. She regrew her winter coat and recovered her appetite and we hoped she would be alright for awhile. And she was, until two weeks ago. She stopped asking for and eating treats. She stopped eating her food. We tried a change and she gobbled it down for four or five days, then that was no good either. Canned pumpkin or eggs, raw or cooked, bread, even table scraps-all previous favorites- were ignored. We knew this would happen, her system will slow down, her blood pressure will drop and heart rate will slow and stop. She's not in pain, though we are. This is Rosie's favorite place to lie in the summer, so that's where we'll put her.
The last thing she ate was part of a hotdog, 3 days ago. Just before we took the dogs to the pasture and let them loose. She could still run a little, and sniff around for mice, and drink the pond water, while circling 25 feet out of her way to avoid getting her feet wet. We didn't have any trouble catching her and releashing her for the slow walk home. I think she had a good time. I hope so, because it was the last time.