Jun 23, 2011

Away at "Finishing School"

On days when Cameron gets home before me, Tulley usually is out and about so she comes to greet me the second our alarm chimes announcing that someone has walked through the door. But for the last 3 ½ weeks, it’s been eerily quiet. Tulley has been away since May 27th at what we’ve been calling “Finishing School”.

While Cameron did a great job with her initial training for both obedience and hunting, both he and his hunting buddy Dave agreed she needed some extra hunting conditioning, which required some attention that Cameron just doesn’t have time for to make happen before this year’s hunting season. After a phone call with a trainer and breeder up in Oroville, Cameron took her up there for an evaluation that Friday, since he had the day off for the Memorial Day weekend.

I didn’t say goodbye that morning, thinking Cameron would return with her that evening. It was just for an evaluation after all, and to provide Cameron with an idea of how much it would cost as well as find out how long the trainer thought he would need to get Tulley into top notch hunting form.

When Cameron found out the price, he couldn’t pass it up – the price included food, flea & tick control and heartguard for the two months the trainer would need work with Tulley. And so Cameron left her there. The next morning, Saturday, we all piled in the car go say goodbye to Tulley and drop off some papers as well as sign some paperwork, but she’d already been moved to another kennel location.

It’s been a long 3 ½ weeks for me. She’s my baby. Being that I was pregnant and laid off right after we got Tulley, I like to think she and I have a special bond. I miss my cuddle monster and greeter, though London does what she can when Cameron’s already picked her up for the day and she’s working on the cuddling part. Cameron is also missing her. Our bed feels huge these days without our 65 lbs heater taking up space in between us.

Even London appears to be missing her, carrying around and patting a stuffed animal that looks like Tulley and snuggling with it when she goes to bed. When she sees a dog she gets really excited but then seems disappointed when the dog doesn’t react like Tulley would.

At least we’re almost half way through the training. We can go to visit her, but our weekends have just been so busy. We’re looking at arranging something over the long July 4th weekend, but haven’t confirmed anything. It seems that by the time we do have a weekend free up, it will be near the time we will be picking her up!

I can’t wait to see how the training is coming though. The trainer raises his own pigeons and mallards for dog training purposes, so she’s supposed to grow more accustomed to birds and retrieving them. She was a little apprehensive last season, sometimes running up to the birds and barking at them.

Cameron has called in once to check in, and from our understanding she is doing well, but does have that short puppy attention span. At least I didn’t have to deal with her being in heat for too long. She went into heat the day before Cameron took her up there and should be through her cycle now which means she can play with the rest of the labs at the facility.

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