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Ziggy Tails: Season 2 Episode 7: Simply Amazing

Yes, Ziggy is still in the picture. As horrible as he can be sometimes, life wouldn't be the same without him. In fact, the other day I was separated from him and I started to have a panic attack. It was weird since I am often without him. For some reason on that particular day, I felt my heart start to race and echo in my ears and my throat start to seize, wishing he was at my side. Thankfully, I recognize panic attacks now and know it's something I can control. But I sure did miss and need him for those few short minutes.

Prince Ziggy has filled our summer with fun, new adventures, and laughter. The tears and anguish are coming less and less often. As summer colors fade to autumn hues and the mercury drops, it's bringing out a new life in our four-legged friend. He is not a fan of the heat. I also am relishing in these humid and bug free days before winter arrives. This too is my favorite time of year.

I know I have said it before, but this breed - Australian Cattle Dog - is simply amazing! Sure, they need lots, and I mean lots, of attention, exercise, and training, but we are beginning to see the rewards of all that time, money, and effort. Our biggest fear with him right now is his reactivity to vehicles passing by. It doesn't matter if we are walking in the yard or on the road, riding in the car, or in the house, when a vehicle goes by he goes buzz-zerk. And the faster and loader the car is, the worse he reacts. One day he tried to leap through a closed window in the house to get to the passing construction truck as it zoomed by the house. Side Note: Please, if you are driving on our camp road, please go the speed limit and if walkers are out, go even slower.

Besides that though, Ziggy is truly one amazing canine. I put together a list of commands and tricks he knows. Does he do them all the time when told - no. but that's my fault. I am working on that. The list gets stronger and grows weekly. Here are most of the things I can remember that we work on.

Come. Sit. Stay. Down. Heal. Relax. Leave it. Rest. Go to your place. Shake. Hug. Kisses. Cuddle. No Bite. Give. Pick it up. Open Fridge. Close Fridge. Close Door. Enter. Exit. Weave. Left. Right. Front. Behind. Creep. Stand. Beg. Hop. Over. Under. Roll-over. Play dead. Bang. Search. Find Mama. Find Daddy. Help. Twirl. Peek-a-boo. Put your toys away. Pick up the trash. Pray. Go to bed.

Lots of these he knows by hand signal or body language. If only I could get him to stop chasing cars. I will not give up.

Every day he amazes us. It could be something as simple as going to his place for a longer duration than normal. But just this week I couldn't believe what he remembered. You've heard me write about Mollie's Trail, a path out back we have been using for years, but this Spring our neighbors cut it for the wood, leaving it impassable. The last time we hiked the whole way was sometime over the winter with snowshoes before they cut it. We tried a few times this summer, but got discouraged with the difficulty of navigating through all the debris.

But this week, Ziggy and I gave it a try and to our surprise the downed limbs and branches have already started decomposing and breaking down making passage easier. So, we went to the end and beyond. At one spot I like to leave the original trail and do a work-around. This work-around is not as noticeable as the main path, that's why I like it. Ziggy was in the lead and he chose the work-around path. WOW!!! How did he remember that? It had been months since we had been there. Then when we got to a spot I like to rest, he ran right over and sat on our "resting rock!" Again, how did he remember that? Just simply amazing.

It's never a dull moment with our furbaby. Sure, life would be simpler and our wallets fuller, but what fun would that be. Spending time with him is so much more than just owning a dog. Just like when I hiked the AT, I learned things about myself I didn't know, I have also been learning things about myself from having this little guy in my world.

Here are a few photos and video of this weeks happenings with Ziggy the Taco Bear of Chilicothe.

We are working on a stronger "Leave-It" for his safety. Thankfully this was just a garter snake.

Our latest trick.

I hope you enjoyed this update of our munchkin. Sorry it's been a while.

Happy Hiking,

Emily and Ziggy


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