Last Friday, the Holden Arboretum--Barley's favorite place in the world--was giving away free dogwood seedlings (my favorite trees) for Arbor Day. Barley and I have gone to the Arbor Day festivities for years now and I was looking forward to having a day with my best girl all week. Then I woke up and started getting ready for our adventure and I just couldn't leave Rye behind. (In my mind, Barley was singing the first verse of "Don't Take the Girl" as I packed our bag.)
I was sure I would regret my decision. Rye still hates nature most of the time. We walk in the same park every week after obedience and her confidence has gone up there, but the arboretum as 20 miles of trails and I was afraid it might be a little overwhelming for her. There were also sure to be a lot of people since it was free admission in addition to free seedlings and Rye is very shy. When Rye is nervous, she pulls like crazy (my Barley walking arm has no muscle definition, my Rye walking arm has a bulging bicep these days) and that's just not the relaxing walk I wanted. I just couldn't bring myself to leave her home, though, so I decided if drove 45 minutes both ways to just get a free seedling and turn right back around that I'd have to be ok with that.
Suprisingly, Rye did very well. I don't know if she felt more confident because Barley was so excited to be back in her favorite place or if it was just the magic of the arboretum taking hold of her, but she was good.
The crab apples were still in bloom, so we went to that part of the arboretum first to give Rye a little time to settle in. We spent some time just relaxing and enjoying the flowers while we watched people enjoying the nearby butterfly garden from a safe distance.
Rye wasn't always willing to pose for pictures, but she seemed to like trotting through the woods. Barley was more than happy to hop on things and pose.
Every now and then, Rye would humor me, too.
There were a couple moments when she got a little nervous--mostly when we were near the observation tower and canopy walk where there were a lot of people making a lot of noise, but she couldn't quite see where it was coming from.
By the time we got to the rhododendron garden where there were several large groups and a few other dogs, Rye was a pretty confident pup.
We strolled back through the woods to the display garden to take one more loop around the lilacs that were gorgeous and smelled incredible. The end of the walk was a little bittersweet--it was also the 5-year anniversary of my grandma's death and she loved all things purple, so being surrounded by so many pretty purple flowers. Our lilac moment wasn't as sad as when Whitman saw them blooming the dooryard, though. We had a great day helping Rye learn that the world isn't always a scary place. I'm sad my grandma never got to meet Rye because she would have loved my tiny terror, but being surrounded by purple all morning made it feel like she was there.
Even Barley seemed to have made peace with the fact that Rye came with us. I still owe her a solo arboretum trip, though.