Okay, so you noticed, I put lesson two before lesson one. There’s a method to my madness – no, I’m not mad. That’s an expression I heard a human, who will remain nameless, say.
Lesson one is always the command to sit. Apparently, it’s the easiest one for humans to master. All they have to do is hold a pleasant delight before our noses with said treat in their fingers which point to the sky looking like an unopened lotus flower. At least that’s what James’ hand looks like when he wants me to sit.
We dogs already know how to sit. We’ve been doing it since we were several weeks old. During those first few weeks, of course, all we do is lie around and crawl as best we can. Once we’re able to stand on our four feet, we find we can also sit, which is almost as pleasant as lying around.
In the obedience class James took me to, he was taught how to correctly hold his hand, where to place the delectable, and to move both his hand and the reward slowly towards my nose so that I backed up slightly and then sat. The other humans in the class were also being taught this. We canines got a good giggle out of how challenging it was for some of them to get it right.
Once they figured we had sitting down pat, they went on to ask us to lie down. They were taught to do this trick by refusing to give us the treat once we sat, move their hands down to the ground, leading our noses such that we were forced to get completely on the ground before being rewarded. Now you’d think “down” was the second command, but in actuality, it goes hand-in-hand with sit, so it’s part of lesson one.
Repeating this over and over made me feel like a yo-yo. Up, down, up, down, over and over. Which reminds me. James wrote a poem about hummingbirds that had my BFF Trek’s head going left, right, left – not exactly like a yo-yo, but you get the drift. I asked James to share it with you. Here it is for your reading pleasure.
and when a recurring whirl
causes my dog, Trek’s, ears to twitch, and my
head to twist towards the trill. Floating fixed, staring
sideways, saluting us throughout this temperate term – we
smile a warm welcome – our hummers have returned.
crowns with dark notched tails,
our resident male sports a distinctive
crimson throat tipped by an ebony chin.
Accurate angels of sunbeams polishing his
neck radiate radiant rubies.
The flora’s scarlet color attracts his attention,
yet the minuscule quantity of sugary nectar is what he
requires, hovering at 70 wing whisks a second:
A tremendous force
by a tiny frame
for such trivial fare.
Our solitary hummer vigorously defends the
blossoms within his boundary. Trek’s head swings left,
right, left, while our hummer hounds intruders. A
valiant Knight of the Roundtable, his chase chatter
saturates the air as he jousts with his
extended bill, his clashes like the crash of javelins.
Akin to our heroic hummers, Vermonters always
answer the call to protect our homeland. We are
proud of those who respond, and pay tribute to the
ones who never return, unlike the
poppies – and hummers – each May.
Such are the honorable
pleasures of our
hummers’ return to Vermont.
These tiny birds with their wings beating so quickly are amazing. I have to admit that they awe me. Here I was complaining – well, not really complaining, mind you – about going up and down like a yo-yo when these miniature birds outpace me by a mile.
I got off track there. Sorry about that, but I love James’ poems. (Score! A treat.)
You might like to know why I put lesson two first. I thought it might be obvious – because it was about my favorite treat – liverwurst. Something of which I’m now deprived for reasons I will not discuss.
Suffice it to say that James mastered this combined sit/down lesson quite well. I was so proud of him. It appears that he already had practice lesson one with Trek. I’m not his first trip to the rodeo – so to speak.
Come back in two weeks and hear about the different kennels I’ve been lucky enough to visit while James and Ron are away. Of course, James and Ron may not think I’ve been so lucky. You’ll find out why when you read my next post.
Between now and then, feel free to scroll down and leave me a comment. Let me know what you think of my blog and James’ poems. I always like to hear from you, so please leave me a note about this or anything else that’s on your mind.
Until next time,
Sir Oliver of Skygate Farm (you can call me Ollie)