Devon brought a bumper with her from the van, so I threw it for her. Ian raced with her down the hill for the bumper, and when he reached it first, he didn't know what to do with it. It wasn't a ball! My dad has taught Ian to play retrieve with a ball, but this was a long, orange, knobby thing with a rope. It didn't look like a ball!
Well, Devon sure knew what to do with it. She swooped in and grabbed it right from under his nose and turned and raced back to me. Ian was left trying to catch up with her. I threw it a second time, and they both raced down the hill again. Ian beat Devon to the bumper again (those longer legs and lighter body weight really made a difference), and this time he reached for the bumper. Devon backed off, but Ian still wasn't sure exactly what to do with this weird thing! Finally after a couple of drops, he picked it up on one end and ran back full speed at me with this long orange bumper hanging out of his mouth - he looked like he was running with an orange Popsicle in his mouth and all I could think of was I hoped he didn't trip and shove it down this throat!
This lead to a game of "fetch" with my Belgian Sheepdog (Devon could never beat him to the bumper, so she gave up). Ian had a so much fun running back and forth retrieving this bumper. His tail was wagging 100 mph, and he looked absolutely beautiful as he posed for his bumper with his black eyes dancing and raced down the hill at top speed with fur flying in the wind.
Ian is truly a beautiful dog, and when he's comfortable and having fun, he forgets all his worries. He's happy and bouncy and very goofy. I was so happy he could be comfortable and share this side of himself with Kathy. So few people other than my family and his breeder ever get to see this side of him and it's why I do really love this boy. He does make me laugh (usually at him).
Since Ian loves birds so much and is now retrieving bumpers, Kathy wondered if we could enter him in hunt tests. It's an idea! We can tape his ears so the fold down and maybe people will believe he's a Flat Coated Retriever!