Gracie and I played a new game called “I’ve got stuff.” When you play this game, it’s important that your stuff be really good. My stuff? Steak dog treats baked according to the directions in a doggie treat recipe book that someone must have given me as a birthday or Christmas present.
The equipment and rules for “I’ve got stuff,” are pretty simple: you need one fenced yard, a warm sunny day so that the ground is comfortable for sitting on, a plastic bag of kick-ass dog treats, a great dog (today, that dog is Gracie) and all the time in the world.
Gracie and I navigate the back steps leading out to the back yard. She’s on leash as her person is at work today and Gracie’s a bit shy with me. Not as skittish as she was two days ago but still not ready to trustingly follow my lead. She knows the parameter of the yard and it seems that she likes to check out the two grape vines – could that be because she likes to hide behind them as she stands testing the air for new smells? As Gracie squats to pee, she hears, “Good girl, Gracie,” and when she’s finished, I offer her a treat while slipping the lead off of her boxy head. She looks up at me, shakes her head slightly and very carefully leaves my side, starts to check things out.
I find a warm patch of ground and sit down. Gracie keeps moving occasionally looking at me. “‘I’ve got stuff, Gracie,” I say as she comes a little bit closer to me. Slowly, I extend my arm in her direction, dangling one tiny piece of dried steak from my finger tips. Gracie’s nose twitches. She inches close enough to daintily take that piece of dried steak from me. Off she goes to ramble around the yard. I keep sitting very still, occasionally making a big show of reaching into my plastic treat bag as I invite her to come back to me.
“I’ve got stuff, Gracie.”
Gracie stretches out her back legs, looks at me, ambles over and takes that treat.
I alternate sitting with standing and walking around the yard. Sometimes, I’m following Gracie. Sometimes, she’s following me. She likes my stuff. Today, that’s enough for me.