Tuesday & Wednesday, February 20-21: Driving
Andrew is not here. Kayla brought three other people in the car. I had to share the backseat with them. They kept hitting their heads on skis. We drove for 18 hours with no fetch. They listened to murder mystery podcasts and I tried to sleep on their armrests. I loved it!
We dropped off two people after turning north. I stole a poster holder while Kayla and Alice ate dinner with their friends. We stopped driving at the end of a long gravel road. Kayla’s dad and her old lab live here. There is snow everywhere. They say this is Wisconsin in winter.
Thursday, February 22: The Barkie Birkie
The next day, I got to wear my red pulling harness. I got really excited because this harness means adventure! We drove to another town called Hayward. There were dogs barking everywhere. They were running zooming-fast with their skiers, so I started barking too. The party is called the Barkie Birkie.
Kayla and I got to start first in the amateur race. They had to hold my harness because I was so ready to run as fast as I could! You can see a video of my start here. The crowd was cheering and the dogs were barking, so I kept barking too. A timer beeped, and they let my harness go. So I ran!
It was hard being in front for the race. I wanted to run fast, but I couldn’t tell how fast we were. I wanted to chase another skier. But we got to finish first – and the crowd made me happy. I played with a squeaky fish toy until it stopped squeaking. It was amazing!
Kayla let me eat a big snack and sleep in the car with Maya the lab. All the humans went to pick up Kayla and Alice’s race gear for the Big Race – the Birkebeiner. Kayla hasn’t stopped talking about this race since the snow started falling in December. It’s why she got me red pulling harness and why we spend every Friday skiing until I’m almost ready to die. It’s the best. I wish I got to ski the Birkebeiner.
Kayla and Alice went to wax their skis that night and made a video of it – you should watch that. That makes them even faster! I wish I could wax my legs so that I ran faster.
We slept well that night. Pulling skiers is hard work. I guess skiing might be hard, too.
Friday, February 23: Pink Tails and Gold Medals
The next day, Kayla put me in the car. That’s always a good sign. She never takes me anywhere boring. I even get peanut butter at the vet! We went to a big school full of small children. Ok, they weren’t so small. Some of the boys were bigger than Kayla.
We spent all day talking to students about learning theory, operant conditioning, punishment versus reinforcement, and how to set animals up for success. Kayla mostly talked, I mostly licked people’s hands. It’s so cool to have a person who knows so much about this. I got to show off my peanut-finding trick where they hide peanuts and I sniff them out. Andrew is allergic, so I guess this trick is kind of important.
On our way home, we stopped by the frozen lake. I guess Lake Superior is the biggest freshwater lake in the world. I want to run around the. Whole. Thing. I betcha I could. I’m a good runner.
Anyway, I ran top speed around through three feet of snow. Kayla and Alice threw snow at me, and I dug around in the snow. I don’t know why it doesn’t snow all the time, I think this is my favorite type of water.
Then I ate so much snow that I had to pee 13 times. Kayla fed me an extra big dinner. That was great.
Then Alice and Kayla boiled some Kool-Aid on the stove and dipped their hair in it. I fell asleep in the bathroom with them while they turned their hair pink. It’s probably because Jessie Diggins and Kikkan Randall won gold in Olympic cross-country skiing. Alice and Kayla love Jessie and Kikkan.
That was fine. But then they dyed my tail pink! I guess that’s what I get for sleeping while they dyed their hair. Man, I’m really glad that they did not do that before the Barkie Birkie. None of the greyhounds or huskies would take me seriously with a pink tail!
Saturday, February 24: The American Birkebeiner
It snowed a foot that night. I woke up and had to stick my head into the snow up to my ears to find a stick. Holy cow, this Wisconsin winter is fun!
Kayla and Alice were gone all day on Saturday. This was almost sad – but then I realized that Kayla’s dad likes playing fetch through the snow! We played all day with a big basketball. When they came back, they said the Birkebeiner was a ton of fun. Kayla and Alice both looked really tired. I guess 30 miles is farther than I’ve ever run, but I think I’d still have energy.
All the fresh snow made skiing the Birkebeiner tough, but it was sunny and there was no wind. I’d be hot, but Kayla was probably in heaven. She seemed really happy.
Sunday, February 25: Rest and Recovery
Kayla and Alice just keep writing. I’ve been bringing them my favorite hedgehog toy every hour or so, but mostly they tell me “no.” I just sleep and pace and try to catch flies. They did take Maya and me on a long walk through the snow. I brought my basketball and got to herd it for a whole mile! They kicked it some. Maya chased it with me until she got tired. I love Wisconsin! I haven’t worn a leash since we were in the high school.
Monday, February 26: I Could Run All the Way Across this Lake
Kayla and Alice were on their computers all day again. Kayla insists that she’s working, and that’s how she pays for my toys. I have my doubts. I can’t see how typing is a better way to spend your days than fetching.
But then! Then! We went back to Lake Superior. Alice and Kayla put on their skis and we skied all the way out to the middle of Chequamegon Bay. I ran so far and so fast. I started to almost get tired, but then I’d remember how fun life is! Then I started running again. Love!
They skied and I ran to a little shed in the middle of the lake. It seemed weird to me, so I growled at it. The building didn’t move, so I sniffed it. It was locked. Kayla and Alice couldn’t figure out what it was, since it was too big to be an ice fishing shanty.
Then we skied almost all the way to the Ashland Lighthouse. I started getting a bit tired here. I tried to ride on Kayla’s skis but that made her stumble, so I went back to using paw power.
I slept in the car while they wrote even more. They fried fish for dinner that night, and I ate a bunch of it after doing tricks. I deserve fish for just being cute, but the tricks are fun, so who’s complaining?
Tuesday, February 27: Why Are We Not Running?
I woke Kayla up really early, just in case she wanted to go for a run. I guess she didn’t. Not sure why – it’s 24 degrees out and the snow plow cleared the roads. Perfect for a run!
She wrote and I slept. But she promises that we’re going skiing again this afternoon if she finishes her freelance articles.
Tomorrow, we’ll drive 9 hours from Ashland to Omaha. Then on Thursday we’ll drive from Omaha to Denver. I’ll get to see Andrew and sleep under my own bed! I don’t know if I’m excited or sad, but seeing Andrew will make me wag very hard.
Author: Barley The Dog
Barley is a four year old border collie who absolutely loves fetch. His zest for life keeps Kayla and Andrew on their toes. He’s also really, really, ridiculously good looking.