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I hooked Sophie up to her 40 foot lead this afternoon so she could go potty without me having to go out on to the snow covered stoop. As soon as I opened the door she was off like a shot, blue lead stretching out all 40 feet behind her with the handle I dropped bouncing at the end of the line like a bobble head.

I took off after Sophie, who was hell bent for leather to go see her trail. After she vanished around the corner and the lead was going fast, I dashed back to the condo hopping from one sock-covered foot to the other in the foot deep snow throwing myself into the door for foot-refuge on the stone tiles. Hmmmm….they felt warm. At the same time I was luxuriating in the relief of getting out of the snow in my sock feet I was calling for my spouse and grabbing my boots. The trail is a half mile and I could imagine her dashing joyfully the whole way, blue 40 ft lead a-dangling.

There is a leash law here in town and I was not sure how that would play out. “Let me see, Mam, if I have this right. I should not give you a loose dog citation because your dog was on a leash. It seems YOU were not on the leash since you were running down the road in your sock-feet.” “Oh, Officer. You understand! Thank you, thank you, sir. The snow was really cold and my socks were really thin.”

Sophie was so happy because we came back to the condo where we lived this fall. We have been gone the better part of a month staying with family and then at the the Homewood Suites in a neighboring town. The people who own the condo were gracious enough to let us come back until their next ski trip. We can only stay a few weeks but hopefully we will be able to move into some habitable space at our own house while it is being finished.

Yesterday and today my spouse and I were somewhat dejectedly going through the motions of packing our suitcases and heading back to the condo to live in it like a hotel. We kept reminding each other not to move back in, just a few things along with the two suitcases we have had with us since we left. To bolster our courage, we kept telling each other that this should be the last move. By the first week of February we should be able to move into a tiny basement suite we fixed up for us to live in while the house is being finished. We joked today that this will be our last move, that is until we move from the basement of our house to the upstairs of the house. Some how after 19 months and what seems like at least 18 temporary housing situations one does not gather hope easily.

Even Sophie was dejected today. When we pulled out the suitcases she cast a baleful look in my direction and rotated her sleeping position so that her back was turned toward the suitcase.

After packing and then a sojourn at Lowes where we lucked into  $1000 worth of base and crown molding for $187, she was sitting in the back seat of the car sighing to herself as we headed to our town, returning for these few weeks. When she realized the direction we were going; when she recognized the road I turned on, she began barking joyfully. By the time we drove the mile to the turn to the condo if she had not been buckled into a seat belt I am certain she would have unlocked the car door and lept out on her own she was so happy.

After we arrived and put her inside, my spouse and I left the garage door and the condo door to the garage both open so we could move things into the condo. I looked up and here came Sophie prancing out to see “her world.” I called her back and she came, but reluctantly. “Mom! So many things to smell. I want to know who was here while we were gone. What if Santa’s reindeer pooped on my trail and I missed it? YEA! We are at our place. YEA!” She bounced back into the house as told but she was wound tighter than an 8 day clock.”

When she needed to go to the potty, which usually includes a walk, I don’t know why I expected her to ignore the attachment of her jingly outside collar and her 40 foot lead. How was she to know that there was not walk attached to those sights and sounds? Since August when that dog gear comes out it means we are going for a perambulation on the green way trail. Dashing off a totally happy girl was what she was trained to do. She just did not realize I was not attached. She even stopped at the edge of the tiny road before the trail and looked both ways before proceeding. “We always do that. I am a dog, if I do it once and it is a habit, do it twice and it is a rule. I know it is a rule, we have done it bunches and bunches of times.” “It is a rule too that I get to go on my trail. Thank you for my collar and for my beautiful 40 ft blue lead. I am so happy to be here! I thought it was going to be like the other places and when we moved out we would not come back. YEA! Suitcases inside not going outside. YEA! YEA! A dog’s best day.”

We learned a lot this evening chasing after Sophie in the snow as she took off for her usual walk. I learned that it is a good idea to have on shoes on if you are going to let the dog out of the house on a lead when there is snow around. My spouse learned that leaping after the elusive lead was fruitless.

Most of all we learned that we should be happy. We have felt more at home in this condo than anywhere we have stayed since the fire 19 months ago. Sophie showed us that is our home for now. She showed us we should be leaping with joy to come back to something that has been good. It is a good place, not just another place on the road home.

dog running all four feet off the ground ears raised mouth open