It is only appropriate that since I am now in prime apple country that I enjoy the fall and go apple picking. The hort grad student group picks apples to fundraise every year so Espresso and I joined the team for the first pick of the year. The outdoor socialization was needed for both of us.
I'm not going to lie, when I first brought Espresso I kept her leashed, tying her long leash to an empty tree post in one of the orchard rows. But she saw the green grass and would run as fast and hard as she could...until the leash would snap her back. She also started tangling everyone's feet as she tried to get in on the picking action.
I've been very protective of Espresso since her hospitalization. Besides the fact she almost died only a few weeks ago, this is an entirely new area that may have plants, animals, and other risks I don't know about - I mean I could easily lose her down a woodchuck hole and never see her again.
But at one point, I saw her straining on the leash, longing to run, and was forced to ask myself, why did I fight to keep her alive? To be scared of losing her? Whether to bacteria, woodchucks, or falling apples? Or did I do it so I could have the best time ever with my pup?
I let her off the leash and she just started running down one of the orchard rows. She wasn't really running away from me or chasing after something...she was just enjoying the grass, ears flapping widely...enjoying being alive. Like I was.
So while the humans picked Ginger Golds, Espresso and her new giant bear of a friend Nikko romped till their hearts content. Nikko was the perfect doggie companion - mellow and very patient with a timid small dog. And a perfect partner in crime - both dogs were slightly deaf to calls to return from frolicking in the tall grass.
Espresso loved exploring under the trees...rolling in rotten apple mush...and just running off into rows and the grass around.
I don't know if I've ever seen her quiet so happy.
And Espresso loves apple so there were lots of tasty apple bits that Mom fed her as a reward for coming when called...or any bits we could scavenge from falling apples.
I'd be lying if I didn't say my heart dropped the moment I let her lose and every time she went out of my sight, everytime she didn't appear instantly when called. But she was actually (for her) pretty good at coming when one of us would call...often running from the opposite direction I had seen her scamper off to. Everyone helped keep an eye out on my pup and she'd make rounds, dodging falling apples as she saw where people were picking.
We ended the day with some delicious sausage cooked on the grill - no, not Espresso, actual sausage. And I let Espresso have her very own apple - one that was just her size.
And we ate dinner overlooking what I even have to admit is a breathtaking view.
Espresso and my new favorite activity in New York is apple picking :)