We have had such great weather here in St. Louis over the last few months. Spring came early this year and we've been trying to take advantage of it as much as we can. Ryan and I are both believers in fresh air, sunshine and exercise doing us a world of good, so whenever we have a couple extra hours on the weekend, we've been trying to get out in the elements. The dogs get to run around off their leashes and do some exploring, it feels great for me to be able to stretch and walk around and Mac gets some much needed Vitamin D.
A few weekends ago we headed out to one of Ryan's friend's farm. He has some land about 45 minutes from our house with a lake, lots of fields and plenty of room to run. He also has a black lab named Ivy, who is Sage's best friend in the whole wide world. Ivy and Sage are in love. They are very competitive with each other to get the bumper first (although it's not much of a competition, Ivy's much faster), but then they spend the rest of their time chasing each other, wrestling together and licking/kissing each other. It's pretty adorable to watch them.
Ivy's a working duck dog and very well-trained - being outside and "playing" is all work for her. Ivy wants that bumper and will stop at nothing to get it. (As opposed to Sage, who wants the bumper, but gets easily distracted by frogs and butterflies.)
Ivy will mow down anything in her way (including me, Mally or Sage) to get to the bumper first. I've learned to stay out of her way. Mally has not and has been rolled down the hill a couple times by freight train Ivy.
And not only is she fast, but she's a wonderful swimmer and will leap into the water with such gusto that I'm surprised she can keep her eye on the bumper. She will beat Sage nearly every time.
But that doesn't stop Sage from trying to take the bumper away from her once they're back on land.
I mean, these two don't look like they're having any fun at all, do they?
Yeah, I didn't think so.
Ivy brings it straight to Ryan...
...and immediately starts bouncing up and down in excitement until he throws it again.
And we do this over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over.
The outcome is almost always the same, but Sage doesn't seem to mind.
These two could do this forever.
Ivy especially...it's her mission in life to retrieve.
Sage may run off and chase frog, but that bumper does not leave Ivy's sight the entire time we're out there.
Sage will come back and play, but I think half the time she lets Ivy win.
Maybe she's just being a good friend.
Or maybe she's just less psychotic about a piece of orange plastic.
If it was filled with peanut butter, I bet it'd be a different story.
But of course, being sucker parents that we are, we wouldn't want her to get an inferiority complex.
So every now and then, Ryan will give Sage a better head-start or something so she can get there first.
Go Sage, go!
She's such a good little swimmer.
Very graceful in the water.
And boy, is she ever proud of herself for getting that bumper!
Grinning from ear to ear!
But my absolute FAVORITE thing that Sage does, has nothing to do with her retrieving skills.
And has everything to do with her playful "puppy" personality.
Because the farm is so close to the Mississippi River, the ditches fill with floodwater and bring in some of the river's wildlife.
Particularly, Asian carp. You know...the fish that jump out of the water when disturbed.
Sage may like going after the bumper, but she is an even better carp chaser.
She can't really get anywhere close to them, but she tries her hardest to go after each and every one that jumps. Girlfriend has stamina.
She goes after one in this direction...
And then one jumps behind her, so she switches direction to go after that one...
Up and down, back and forth, left and right, over and over again.
It may be the funniest thing I've ever seen in my life.
I just sit on the bank and crack up and egg her on.
"Get the fish, Sage!"
She just loves chasing those stupid fish.
Mally, on the other hand, is definitely not a retriever, nor a swimmer.
She's usually off on her own adventures.
Nosing around for mice.
And frolicking through the weeds.
Barking and running to her heart's content.
We all truly love our afternoons at the farm.
It's funny, I never thought the smell of wet dog would make me so happy.