Monday, June 29: Day 10
Today we went off to a local (delightful) garden. Our hosts, one of whom is a retired landscape architect, have spoken well of the garden, and promised us that we will enjoy it. To be completely honest, I was rather looking forward to this trip as far as where we were going – I truly enjoy gardens, and as it turns out, so does Hudson.
He didn’t enjoy having to walk over grates in the floor. I’m not sure if I mentioned this before, but Hudson hates walking over grates. At our host’s, there is a 18″ wide grate that extends across the entire drive between where we park and where the house is. He started by refusing to come near it, lying down to make his refusal clear. Then he would take this great lurching LEAP over it – the first time nearly knocked me over. Obviously, this was not acceptable. So we’ve been working on the grate, giving him the really nice treats when he noses it, or puts a foot on it, or gets closer to walking nicely over it. There’s been clear improvement, but it’s still difficult.
At the gardens, we had this opportunity to work over grates that were wide enough that Hudson couldn’t jump over the whole thing. He was not pleased by this turn, which is amusing because he’s been brought to this very place and walked over these very grates dozens of times. The first handful, he attempted to rush, but I was on a scooter which gave me more leverage in holding him to the sedate pace that matched mine. He got treats and lavish praise as he behaved well on the grates, and as the day continued, he got better and better. Eventually, I was actually walking beside him, and able to do so without being tugged and pulled. It felt like an enormous victory.
He also decided that he didn’t mind picking things up (much). We worked on the objects that seemed the most challenging – plastic water bottles I knew he wanted to crunch, a piece of a pinch collar (because he tries to walk away from me when I pick his up in the morning), and so on. Ha! I knew Friday’s pill bottle crunching (he actually broke it into pieces he crunched it so often) was a challenge. One of our trainers even brought a pill bottle so I could make him do it again, and he started crunching, so I put my hand under his chin…and he stopped. Obviously, this is a battle he and I will have to fight – he likes crunching things, and pill bottles in particular are important so that I can send him to get my medication.
The gardens were absolutely breathtaking, and included an entire room full of orchids. I love orchids. I currently have 3 orchid plants, though one – the first plant I got in my then-apartment and a housewarming gift from my boyfriend – has been slowly dying. These were in the most fantastic colors, and the blossoms varied from no larger than the tip of my finger to as large as my hand. The waterlily pond was fantastic, as well – I never knew that waterlilies came in so many colors! I very much want some of the fantastic blue-purple ones we saw, some day, when we own a house and can put in a little lily pond.
By the end of the day, I was so completely and utterly spent that the trainers let me go home while everyone else had to wander the gift shop (I think mostly due to my exhaustion, which was so severe that even forming sentences was difficult, but I suspect also because Hudson and I had worked so damn hard and done so well)
All in all, it was a very good day. Hudson was on the whole very well behaved and pretty darn attentive, we had a big break-through on his behavior over grates (I think), the gardens were lovely, and the boyfriend and I really enjoyed ourselves (he, as it happens, likes gardens too although I suspect that my love of plants has caused him to like them more than he did before he met me). While we were there as a group, we got to wander off on our own a fair bit, as long as we were in the right general part of the gardens. We had lunch with probably my favorite other recipient (M, who is paired with Valiant), and otherwise we just drifted through the gardens as it suited our fancy.