With Luke staying with me for a few days the play is constant with Cora but Raimi and Leeloo are mortified a kid has come home. They will be delighted when he leaves but Cora will not know what to do with herself. In previous years I have puppy-sat dogs I've sold and while they were all well behaved, living with a dog that you didn't raise and train can be a challenge because they don't know your routine and you don't know their habits. This can be irritating sometimes when there is a failure to communicate and the dog doesn't know or understand the rules.
Fortunately, in Luke's case, this doesn't seem to happen. He is respectful, quiet, listens to me, comes when called off leash, relaxes when he's told to and we have had very few issues with him and The Boy. Raimi 'talks Luke down' and if I need to I back up The Boy. In the end, I decide who is running the show. Even the food issue that his Mommy warned me about hasn't come up - Luke can be food possessive - but when there were some rogue kibbles on the floor I said "Hold it!" and everyone got their own piece in a respectful manner. Even licking the remnants out of a bowl with his sister was a calm affair. As he plays quietly on the floor with Cora I am thankful that he is a nice stable dog, can accept this strange situation easily and I am grateful that his Mommy and Daddy gave him a solid start in life.
I took a chance yesterday and we set off into the woods off leash and went looking for some squirrels. We didn't find any but the dogs had a good sniff and I managed to get some nice photos of Luke. Cora showed him how to get to a part of the creek that will eventually be fenced off (sorry Cora) although it does offer a nice vantage point from which to photograph the dogs. Luke stopped to pose for me in 'Cora's spot' and I took advantage because like his mother as a young dog, Luke doesn't seem to ever stand still long enough to take 'posing' photos.
I did manage to get a couple nice ones of his pretty expression, and it just brings home to me how much of a baby he still is. The softness in his eye will never go but only time and tides will bring maturity to this lovely soft face.
So what was he looking at in the photos of him at the creek? What on earth could captivate his interest so completely? Not a squirrel, he hasn't spotted those yet ... it was Cora stalking him through the woods, and there she is, ready to tackle him from above. (Plus 2 to Cora for higher ground).
Even if only for a little while it's nice to have one of my babies back - I haven't done it in years, especially considering that I moved. I can take the time to look at him closely, to see how he behaves, what his temperament is like, what he lost and gained from his parents and how he is likely to mature. I don't always look to the dogs I produce with a critical eye but I can't stop myself from evaluating them - even if only on a cursory level. Each generation teaches you something else, something new, and shows you what to try and keep and what to avoid. This family has taught me which direction to go in possible future generations, but that is years away yet, and just now they think it's time to head for home.