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Abbey doggedly adheres to morning routine

Everyone and everything has a morning routine. Although that routine might vary greatly as to the content of the actions, it is always quite important to the individual.

Every morning during the summer months when my wife gets up in the morning, she first makes her morning coffee and then she and her dog, Abbey, go outside to enjoy the morning on the patio.

While I was familiar with my wife’s routine, I just realized that Abbey also has a definite routine of her own.

As my wife settles down with her coffee on the wicker settee to survey her surrounding flower gardens, Abbey stations herself at the edge of the patio and slowly scans the property.

It took me a little time to figure it out, but she is looking for anything out of place or anything that she doesn’t think belongs there, like a squirrel.

Our property is wooded with plenty of oaks, so it is a natural attraction for surrounding squirrels. Abbey doesn’t really care if the squirrels stay in the trees where she thinks they belong, but heaven help one that dares put their feet on the ground.

Now the squirrels also have a morning routine. As soon as they hear the back door open, any squirrel within sight of the house scurries for the nearest tree.

However once Abbey has checked the ground, she is not finished in her search for trespassers. She crouches down like a lion and slowly picks her way through the boarding flower beds moving only inches at a time.

It took me a little while to figure it out, but Abbey is sneaking to where she has a view of the ground around the bird feeders my wife has placed in the gardens.

There are normally several squirrels hanging out checking for fallen bird seed who are not able to observe the back door of the house. If there are squirrels under those feeders, Abbey does not charge forward but stands frozen in place waiting for what she thinks is the right split second to charge and then leaps forward scattering squirrels in every direction.

Abbey also has standards for how high up a tree the squirrel must be to be out of her jurisdiction. Any squirrel that stops at less than

6 feet from the ground gets barked at as Abbey tries to climb up to get him. Once they are 10 feet or higher, she leaves them alone.

When the squirrels are all safely in the trees where they belong, Abbey slowly wanders back to the patio making a stop at our fish pond.

She always goes right to the edge of the pond and lowers her nose to the water staring into the pond. As soon as she gets in position, a school of fish swims up and surrounds her. Now in Abbey’s mind, she probably thinks she is the “Fish Whisper,” but actually the fish associate anyone or anything near the edge of the pond with getting fed. Abbey slowly dips her paw into the water in an attempt to touch the fish, but they are not interested in a “hairy paw handout,” which is lucky for Abbey or one of those big Kio might just pull her in.

After a few minutes of playing with the fish, Abbey heads back over to the patio having completed her rounds and hops up next to my wife laying her head on her lap as if to say, “I checked everything out and we are safe.”

Abbey is content to lay there until my wife finishes her coffee or gets up and then in a heartbeat, Abbey is up in search of a ball or a Frisbee because if my wife is done with her coffee, it must be play time and that is the next part of Abbey’s morning routine.

If that’s considered to be a dog’s life, I’ll take it.

John Kasun writes from his home in Duncansville when he isn’t retrieving a Frisbee from a tree or a ball from the fish pond.

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