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  • Sue Hawley

Puppies and Pandemic

Those of us on Hawley Hill are surviving the pandemic with as much grace as we can muster. I’m not a big fan of just about every one of my usual ‘go to’ places being closed, from our local pub to the mall (and I don’t even enjoy shopping—it’s the food court I miss the most!). I miss our date night at our local pub, Gasoline Alley, probably the most. We have so much fun hanging out and meeting new people. I know places will begin opening up at some point, but I’ve become accustomed to a routine and it has been interrupted.

How do I occupy my time? While my neighbors all seem to be on cleaning sprees, practically scrubbing their houses to destruction, I fill my day with pup chores, reading, cooking dinners, laundry, a nap and playing games on Facebook!

Daily morning walks with pup have been, surprisingly, the highlight of the day. One morning last week it was snowing and she kept looking up at me as if walking in the woods on a muddy path was not my brightest idea. Maybe it wasn’t but it tired her out, which is my number one goal. The last couple of days, though, I've changed the location of our walks to Bath Nature Preserve. I love it there so much it plays a major role in the fifth book of the Peg Shaw series. I'm not going to spoil it for you- but I will say that the Preserve has its own secrets and, unlike Vegas, what happens there definitely doesn't stay there…

There are three main reasons I switched our daily walks to the Preserve. One, most of the paths are paved, so no muddy shoes! Second, it’s beautiful with tons of distractions to help convince the pup she can, and will, survive scary new noises. For example, not like this has happened recently or anything, that swans honking won’t hurt her and she doesn't have to try to bolt and hide somewhere. Right now, birds are fascinating for her (except for swans) as she watches in amazement as they fly directly over her head. She looks at me as though to say; “That’s so cool!”

The third, and probably most important reason, is there are always people there; some with dogs, some merely enjoying nature. What a fabulous place to train! At four months old now (how time flies!) keeping her attention while another dog passes has been a challenge. But I now have a secret weapon—HOT DOGS! We’ve gone through many types of treats so far from regular training treats, to Cheerios, and now hot dogs. I learned the best treats for pups to focus needs to stink! Who knew?

With all that's going on in the world, and in daily life, I have one big question. It's not about the virus or pup training- I want to know who the hell woke up mosquitoes and why they are out and about in 42-degree weather!

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