Ian and Elli on the riverbank. Ian shows off his beautiful front.
Elli demonstrates how to sit so that a Mack truck can drive through hers. :-/
On the footbridge over the rushing water.
"I'm the King of the World!!"
There are several picnic tables and benches in the park, as well as playground equipment. There were two teeters, so Elli did a couple practice runs. Unfortunately, they're a little slippery to be used for dog agility. I wonder if anyone would notice if I were to sneak in there and repaint them with the sanded paint used on agility equipment...
There was also a... um, climbing thingy with a couple slides of different heights. We went up the steps but not down the slide. There are some swings, and a merry-go-round (the turning platform variety, not the kind with horses), and a dome structure made out of bars for kids to crawl through, in, etc.
There's a wooden footbridge that spans the river and leads to the snowmobiling/hiking trails on the other side of the water. It was a little muddy yet, but this will be a great little hike in the summer. It will also be a good spot to take the dogs to get wet and cool off during warm weather. The water is a little high and fast right now for them, but in mid-summer it will be just right, and they'll be kept on lead anyway, per park rules.
What really struck me was that this is going to be an AWESOME place to bring the puppy for some socialization and new experiences with respect to climbing on the plastic equipment and feeling something move under him (a slow turn on the merry-go-round). It'll also be a great place for him to meet new people and see kids running around, swinging on swings, using the teeter, etc. When we were there last night, a boy of maybe 8 or 9 years old came in with him mom, and as they came down the hill, he got all excited, asking, "Are those corgis? Those are my favorite dogs!!" Elli was very happy to greet (read: jump all over and kiss) him; she has no manners. Probably her mother should teach her some. Ian was less impressed with the whole kid thing. I tied Elli for a minute and had the boy feed Ian some cheese and make friends. I'm sure the puppy will already be more outgoing than Ian, and goodness knows he'll be used to children, but it'll be great to get him out to make friends like that.
That is assuming, of course, that I can stop waffling and make up my mind WHICH puppy is coming home with me -- hence, the sturm und drang. For the first few weeks, I had one guy picked out. Then after I went down to visit, I fell in love with a different guy. Have a name picked out and everything. But then lots of people have commented how nice the first little guy is -- which he IS -- and now I'm questioning myself. And I came up with a name for HIM, should he be the one. It doesn't help that the two boys are so very different from one another as far as look and type.
Gah! The indecisiveness! The angst! The fear that I'll choose the "wrong" one! And the added pressure of knowing that the guy I don't take is headed to a pet, not a show, home. Add in the fact that I may, just possibly, be a tad bit obsessive and over-analytical about this, and it's turning into one very stressful week. All totally self-induced stress, but stress just the same. If I had that elusive trust fund, I'd be whining and pleading with Joanna to sell me both puppies, but between going to NJ next weekend, buying a puppy, and going to Nationals next month, I'm going to be eating nothing but Ramen for the entire summer as it is.
I guess it all comes down to what I'm looking for in particular for my breeding program and, most importantly, which little guy I ultimately want to share my couch, my bed, my life with, because those are the most important things. And my willingness to live with the choice I make, whether he becomes a conformation star or not.
So, I'm telling myself to wipe the slate clean and go into this weekend without any preference. Spend time with the two boys, both together and one on one. Listen to the others who are there to evaluate puppies. Stack them up and see how they look when set up like they will be in the show ring. Watch them move, gaiting if possible as well as moving naturally. Make sure there are two balls and correct bites. See who responds more to me, who is more motivated to work for that tasty bit of cheese or hot dog.
And then, go home with the one who claims my heart.