|Quite a climb. But worth it!|
Monster is enjoying himself too. While he doesn't appreciate the surroundings as familiar and comfortable (quite the opposite, he doesn't like being away from home), he does appreciate the freedom. I know the people here (I'm related to most of them), I know their dogs (I don't think I'm related to them), and I know their routines. I know where to go to be alone (pretty much everywhere, there is no shortage of "alone" here), and can let Monster off leash daily.
|Hey, I'm not off leash! You're just not holding on!|
Within sight of a village I just let the leash drag, but once we're a couple of minutes away I take it off completely and let him run.
|Hey, are you coming or what? It's not that steep!|
He does range out from me a little, but he keeps track of me and checks in regularly. He never goes out of sight. Deliberately...
Sometimes if he's found an interesting scent or heard some strange noise he'll lose focus and forget about me. That's when I turn back the way we came, or just step behind a rock or tree. A few seconds later:
He'll come racing back, looking frantically left and right trying to find me as he's running (we've done this before so he knows I might be hiding off to the side and he'll run right past unless he's careful), and nearly bowls me over once he spots me. After one of these little reminders he makes sure to be more attentive.
I really love being here, I miss the forest like nothing else when I'm not here. Monster is beginning to appreciate it more each day. There's lots to see.
|Mom! I made a billion new friends!|
The mosquitoes - and the awful black flies - are a problem, Monster doesn't have the tolerance for them that the locals do and gets huge red bites all over. But I think it's starting to get better by now...
Mosquitoes aren't the biggest problem though. Snakes are very common here, although so far I've only almost stepped on one - that I know of. They're not necessarily very dangerous, as dogs react differently to the poison, but they can be lethal. My biggest concern is the bears, however. Before I didn't really worry about them very much. You pay attention, and make sure to make a bit of noise as you're walking (not a problem for me, I'm naturally gifted in the "making noise" department, stumbling and tripping all over the place), and that usually does it. Most bears stay well away from people if given the choice, and even bears who don't run off are just a little curious. But with Monster... What would he actually do if we happened upon a bear? I have a sneaking suspicion, so I make sure to talk, laugh, and generally make a fool of myself nonstop as soon as we step outside the village. Just in case.
|Nah, come on! If they live here they must be nice...|
It really is lovely here, though. No way we're not going into the forests.
|Hey, check it out, the ground here is like a giant cushion!|
|I swear, Mom, I didn't do anything! I just sneezed...|
|Oooooh... I thought trees generally had more ground to hold on to...|
|Hey, that's where we live, right?!|
|Come on, let's go back down again, I'm thirsty.|
|Huh... Even the flat roads are different here...|
Monster doesn't play though. Perhaps if he did he'd feel more at home too!
Now my stolen internet access ran out several minutes ago, gotta go! Don't know when we can drop by again, but I'll try to update when I can.