Sunday, January 8, 2012

Orent II, Weekend Warrior!

I learned this weekend that Orent is finely-tuned into the weather. When it's too hot or too cold out, he hurries outside to hurry (tee-hee!) and turns to come right back in. But this unseasonably gorgeous weekend (60ยบ! In January!) he has lingered longingly every time we went out for a potty break. Yesterday we got to do a bit of outdoor adventuring, having lunch outside, taking our Christmas tree to be chipped, and romping a bit in the neighbor's yard. But today I knew we needed to do more playing!

So... we started the morning at a bakery I've been wanting to try almost since I moved to Philly. Funny how having Orent gives me an excuse to have all sorts of adventures. Anyway, they were very dog-friendly, even if Orent was a bit restless. See the previous post for photos of that!

Then, we took him to the doggiest place in all of Philadelphia, Rittenhouse Square. It's in the fanciest part of the city, so you see teacup dogs and purebred everything (though I've yet to see a fully groomed Afghan hound, I'm sure that's just poor timing on my part). And you see mutts and pitt-mixes because, after all, this is Philly. Maybe even more than dogs, you see kids, too, playing in the dry fountain all winter long.
Orent meets a young friend
Kaytee and Orent practiced the "jump" command on every configuration of bench, step, and concrete rail they could find. The highlight, I think, was when we practiced "jump" into and out of the dry fountain and met some dog-loving pre-schoolers who did a great job with Orent. They told him to sit, fed him treats which he took gently, and petted him. He did good, focusing on my and my generous treat bags, which is a real win for him!

Then we drove to Philly's biggest & best part, Fairmount Park, the most ginormous urban park in the world. It was once run by Mr. John Kelly, father of Grace Kelly, and therefore father-in-law of the Prince of Monaco. Mr. Kelly controlled more land than his son-in-law. What that means for an urban dog like Orent is a chance to play in the woods and creeks, to get muddy and sniff wild smells like squirrels and voles and leaf mold and such.

He perked right up. From being relatively stressed and laggy in the busy streets of downtown, he was engaged (even pulling on the leash - ahem!), with a busy nose and alert ears. I was impressed that he mostly managed to stay calm around the other dogs, and never once chased bikes or running small children. Because even in the wilds of Fairmount Park, you're rarely alone. With millions of Philadelphians sharing the same green space, it's not exactly peaceful and quiet.

Orent's adventure in the woods
After a bit of wading and adventuring by the creek, we hiked up out of the valley (Kaytee tried to teach Orent a made-up command, "haul," meaning pull us up the hill by the leash...) in search of the playing fields at the top. Surprisingly, they were actually empty except for a discarded tennis ball. Orent and I played, "ready, set, go!" and chase the tennis ball and he had a great time. I've never seen him so thrilled. He got this goofy look on his face and darted around the field with the ball, running next to me or around in circles. It was great! He even fetched a couple of times before becoming completely exhausted.

I was proud of the team for making the long walk back into the valley and to the car without getting too tired. We stopped at the lovely Valley Green Inn for people snacks and dog water, and found four horses waiting for their riders to finish lunch. Orent bravely approached the horses and sniffed the air around them while keeping a prudent distance from those big feet. I, being taller, boldly approached a pony and got licked and was allowed to scratch the pony's shaggy coat. That was neat!

Orent and I got a chance to be photographers' assistants on the way home, as Kaytee met up with a friend who is an aspiring actor. We took glamor shots near some statues in the park. Orent learned about whispering benches and responded to a command from 100 feet away that sounded like it was right in his ear! He also had the important job of acting like a silly puppy to help our friend smile in her photos -- apparently in head shots you're supposed to "look like you're greeting and old friend" and so I guess Orent played the role of old friend.

Kaytee tests her focus while the dog across the way tests Orent's!

1 comment:

  1. A whispering bench command worked????? Which one did you use? Did he know to look at you, or did he think the bench was telling him what to do? That's SOOOO cool!