"It was imprudent of us, in the first place, to become authors. We could have become something regular, but we managed not to.
We were lucky, but we were also determined." Roy Blount Jr

"I don’t change the facts to enhance the drama. I think of it the other way round, the drama has got to fit the facts,
and it’s your job as a writer to find the shape in real life."
Hilary Mantel

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Chipmunk Update & Ruth at School

How a rescued Chipmunk spends its day

Sleeping, mostly.

I'm calling our visitor Chip, it's easier to remember. Here are some snapshots of his indoor life:

Chip likes safflower seeds.

Chip likes safflower seeds

Chip loves green grapes. I don't have the heart to tell him they aren't growing wild in our New England forest.

Chip loves grapes

After a meal, Chip dives into the bed he burrowed for himself.

Chip dives into his bed

He sleeps there most of the day. And the night.

Chip sleeps a lot

He's such a baby, still has that baby chipmunk fluff. His lack of interest in acorns reminds me that it took Tarzan a long time to notice them or try to open one. I'd hoped to put Chip back outside fairly soon. But I worry that if he can't immediately relocate his family burrow, he'll be vulnerable to the local predators: owl, hawk or cat. He seems far too young and immature to fend for himself. I'm impressed by the way he uses his hand to brace all sorts of food, but the fingers are still curled under and immobile. That doesn't hamper his movements, however.

I'll continue to assess his progress on a daily basis, but I can't bear sending him out into the world too soon--as impatient as I am to reintroduce him to the wild.

Ruth's First Day of School

Last night after supper, the Chap and I drove Ruth into the city for our first Level 1 Obedience Class.

There are two households in the class--four owners altogether and a total of three dogs. The canines all have Border Collie heritage, all are rescue dogs, and all are mostly black and white. Ruth is the smallest. Kate is the biggest. Abby is the fluffiest.

Ruth was a bit bratty, she growled at Kate and bared her teeth when Kate tried to get friendly with me, and then with her. But everyone soon settled down.

Ruth was fitted for her training collar (white nylon). We learned about use of treats as rewards, and when to taper off. Then we got busy.

Ruth was the demo dog for the lesson on Not Jumping Up--it's really her only bad habit. We were taught how best to correct her and how we should behave when she does it, and then we practiced the techniques.

Next we did some walking on a loose lead, using the proper commands. The instructor says Ruth walks "like a Border Collie," meaning her head stays down a bit more than the other dogs'. Not a problem, it's just the way she is.

Last, we worked on "Sit" using hand signal and reward. Ruth aced it! She's a wonderful sitter already, so that was easy and she got a lot of praise.

It was a very good session. Ruth became increasingly comfortable with Kate and Abby, and their presence didn't break her focus when we worked.

As soon as we climbed into the car she fell asleep. Once we were home, she slept like a log on the couch beside me.

We've got some homework during the week. Today we've had three practice sessions, one on the octagon deck, one inside the house, one in the backyard. Ruth is responsive and I see progress already. The work on Not Jumping Up continued throughout the day! It's going to take a while to eradicate the habit.

Lola doesn't seem fussed about all the extra attention Ruth is getting. She's laid back, and watches us without getting in our way, which is wonderful.

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