I don't believe I've divulged this before, but I'm a born, raised, and still loyal Midwesterner. That being said, for my whole life I've lived just a couple hours from Shawnee National Forest, yet I had never before been there. But, now I have! And so has Astrid, since, rather than board her or get a pet-sitter for the day, we took Astrid with us on our little road trip. (Honestly, I don't think my dad, Astrid's pawpaw, would have let my sister and me leave her behind.) And so, I think you'll be learning a lot more about Astrid in this post.
|I have this intense urge to caption this picture, "Astrid for President."|
All of that said, since the day my sister and I rescued Astrid, she has also always been something along the lines of a Nervous Nellie. This is primarily the case around other dogs and strangers. Even with regular walks and training and socialization exercises, Astrid just highly prefers to not mingle with her own canine kind. And, although she can easily be around people and actually seems to enjoy people-watching, she will scurry to hide behind the legs of her trusted humans if a stranger dares reach out a hand to pet her otherwise perpetually smiling face. And of course there's the fact that, on top of her dog and stranger anxieties, Astrid has a larger-than-life, thoroughly energetic personality.
I say all of that long-winded stuff about my girl Astrid because, for the reasons stated above, I was a bit hesitant to take Astrid with us on our excursion this weekend. I knew that some of our activities would involve walking along potentially crowded trails, with lots of strangers and perhaps even those said strangers' own dogs. But, I forced myself to realize that Astrid could benefit from such an experience, and that this little trip could serve as a training exercise.
So, now that I've bored you to tears with those ramblings, on to the trip...
After leaving plenty of food, water, litter, and cuddles for the feline furbabies at home, we left for our day trip at 6 am on Saturday. It didn't take long before we needed a pit stop, though, and we found a nice little rest stop (with surprisingly sparkling clean bathrooms!), which had some nice little scenery of its own.
|I won't even lie, I found this statue a tad bit creepy. Cool to see, but creepy.|
|Perhaps I'm just easy to impress, but that barge was huge!|
First, though, how was Astrid doing at this point? She was doing pretty well.
|Still smiling, but no tail curled over Astrid's back in this picture, as a large group of nearby kids was in need of her keen attention.|
So, a bit calmer after the initial walk up to the cliffs, Astrid stopped and waited with her gammy. Of course, I didn't forget to leave Gammy with Astrid's #1 training tool - peanut butter!
|Astrid eating her #1 training tool, peanut butter, while wearing her #2 training tool, her ThunderShirt. (It may be called a ThunderShirt, but Astrid is not in the least bit afraid of storms. My sister and I got her this shirt primarily for training against pulling and overexcitement on walks.)|
|Mmmmmm. Gammy sure is generous with that peanut butter!|
|There's that curly tail!|
|There's the road we came in on down there in the bottom of the picture. Whew!|