Monday, 8 October 2012

A Whole New World

We’ve had Mila for coming up a year. In that time, we have lived at the same house, with the same section, and more specifically, the same backyard.

However, it has only been in the last week or so that Mila has come to realise that our backyard is A LOT larger and A LOT more fun than she originally gave it credit for. Don’t ask me why it has taken her so long…we haven’t exactly been hiding it from her.  But I blame Mike for leading her to her latest discovery.

Come on!! Look at this awesome new playground I found!
Let me explain. Our property is divided into two parts: the part that is easy to get to (which includes the house, the front yard and the courtyard); and the part that you almost need tramping gear for (the steep, overgrown terraced section at the back of the property with the stone steps carved into the 3 metre cliff face and the immaculate view out over the city).

Mila has just found that second part.

We first realised that she had learnt to negotiate the backyard, when we let the hounds out to run around the flat part of the yard one morning.  They ran around the house, played in (and peed on) the pile of cut branches we had made from our gardening mission and generally enjoyed themselves while we had breakfast inside. Then Chris came back inside. While this in itself isn’t weird (Chris has a limited tolerance for outdoor activities), Mila’s fear of missing out is usually enough to ensure that she is not far behind. 

No Mila.

So I go outside, wander around the house, check the gates, come back inside, check the bed/couch/floor and then stand there stupidly, contemplating how a 30 kg dog can vanish into thin air. One more check outside – and in the tall grass above me appears a black face with a goofy grin and a long pink tongue. Mila has spent the last 10 minutes negotiating the steps and racing through the grass from terrace to terrace, getting herself covered in cobwebs and muck in the process. At least the furiously-circling tail is doing an excellent job of flattening the grass behind her.

Tearing up the stairs is the best part!!
Ever the spoil-sport, I call her down to see me, worried that she will fall down the hill. Down she comes full-speed (heart in mouth) until she reaches the steps again where she must choose where she walks wisely if she wants to avoid losing her footing and hurting herself. All credit to her, she understands that she needs to be careful and thinks before taking each step toward the ground.

You mean there's MORE??
Ever since that morning, Mila has taken every single chance she can to get up the back again and chase the birds, butterflies – and sometimes cats (they’re okay) that hang out in our little urban jungle. Wind, rain and mud are no impediment to her missions, and it appears that strategically placed rubbish bins, wheel barrows, bricks and wooden boards aren’t much of a deterrent either. She doesn’t even care about ruining her jarmies on the way up the hill!

She loves it so much up there – and can’t believe that this magical place is actually somewhere very close to her own house! She is always thoroughly worn out by the time she makes it inside.

Contemplating our next move...
Far be it from me to deny someone such a glorious adventure in their own backyard (literally), but there is a reason that that section of the property is particularly unkempt. It is hard enough for a human being to negotiate the cliff, let alone a gangly-limbed greyhound who manages to hurt herself (if you ask her, quite seriously) walking into walls in the comfort of her own home.  

Mike’s logic is that four legs is always better than two when it comes to keeping your balance and negotiating rocky terrain - and having a much lower centre of gravity makes it less scary too – but I worry that one day she will take those steps too fast or try to walk in just the wrong place and will end up tumbling down the hill and doing some serious damage. Looks like I’m going to have to be the meanie that blocks off access to the backyard, as much for my own piece of mind as for the safety of young Mila Grey.
...and pausing to survey our kingdom.

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