Thursday, August 21, 2008

Hiking with my Hounds

A tired dog is a good dog. The VeryBadDogs enjoyed a trip to the park last night, in hope that they won't add Playing With Matches (Max already Runs With Scissors) to their repertoire of Very Bad Deeds. We made our first visit to Lafayette's annual Hike With Your Hound, sort of a doggie trade show-cum-fundraiser in Columbian Park, one of Lafayette's neatest recreational areas.

It's a popular event. We got there a little late, and encountered a huge line for registration. They tried to be helpful by having us fill out the forms while waiting in line, but most people weren't finding that very easy to do while holding dogs on a leash.

Just in front of us in line was Cheech, a puggle. A lot of people want to know what kind of dog Max is, and a lot of people guess puggle. Cheech makes that look like a pretty good guess.

When we registered, someone mentioned that all the dogs had been really good so far. Max broke that streak as quickly as he could.

Eventually I got the dogs registered, everything together, and we set off on our hike through the park. The plan was to go from booth to booth and learn about dog resources in Lafayette. They'd even put up nifty doggy factoids along the route.

And the dogs got free bandannas, so they could look spiffy for their hike.

Most of the stations were purely informative, but some were more interactive, like this obedience course from the Greater Lafayette Kennel Club. We didn't bother to try this one.

But Max found some of the information very interesting.

Some stations were meant to be fun, but I couldn't convince my guys to play. Neither one of them showed any interest in playing in a wading pool, or fishing tennis balls out of it.

On the other hand, Oscar liked drinking the pool water much better than the water dishes all along the route, and Max loved the "How many oyster crackers can you catch?" game. I'm pretty sure "all of them" is the answer he would've liked to give.

The game area is where we met Promise, an adorable girl who's up for adoption at the Almost Home Humane Society. She and Oscar got along really well, and it was very difficult to avoid coming home with three dogs. Aren't those ears wonderful? And that smile?

Speaking of doggie smiles, it turned out there were contests at the end of the hike. And there were even celebrity judges - the local weather guy, the mayor, and our local state legislator. This is a small enough town that these people turn up everywhere - especially Shelia, the state legislator. But I must question the judgment of our local celebrities, because neither one of my fine dogs won the "Best Doggie Smile" contest. Clearly they're blind, or biased against ugly dogs. (Ok, or maybe there were a lot of cute dogs there. Just maybe. The winner is a foster dog, so maybe his victory will prompt someone to give him a good home.) We were seriously outclassed in the "Best Trick" category - I didn't see the winner, but was impressed by the Yorkie who'd jump on and over his Golden Retriever partner.

Did all this lead to good dogs? They slept last night, curled up looking like sweet, calm doggies, until they woke up to get into the compost and drag corn husks all over the house. So far today Max has eaten a clothes hanger and a pencil. Clearly they're not tired enough.



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