White Dog led the charge to Pumpkin as YoYoMa, Nuka, and Puff jockeyed for position behind her. Quinn opted to stay home to guard the White Dog Ranch. Oso was curled up in a tight ball, snoring and sleeping so soundly that he did not even respond to "Anyone want treats?" We kissed both boys on their heads and promised to return with something good as we headed out.
It was a touch warm to be a perfect Autumn day but the skies were blue and the smell of chilies roasting filled the air. We headed west toward the mesa. On the way we stopped to pick up a gift basket donation filled with organic pup treats and toys and care products; it was beautifully arranged and all of the White Ones had to sniff through the cellophane before giving their approval. Of course, when Steve revealed that Suzanna, the store owner, had sent out a little "sample" of some new venison treats the WDA changed their focus from gift basket to yummy treats.
We went for a nice drive in the country with the windows down. We noticed that the trees along the Bosque were just beginning to show the slightest bit of yellow. When we stopped along the river to stretch and wander a bit, White Dog ran (for the first time in weeks) challenging YoYoMa and Puff to keep up. Nuka and I enjoyed sniffing under the red sumac bushes and watching the bumblebees flitting around the butterfly bush. The warmth made us drowsy as we listened to the insects drone and once back in the car Nuka and Puff took a nap.
On the way back to town we stopped at our favorite treat store to stock up on WDA bedtime snacks. They were having a fundraising meet-and-greet for the local Wolf Rescue who was there with a gorgeous mated pair of timber wolves. The White Ones and I stayed in the car out of respect but first Bindi and then her partner stood up and looked directly at White Dog who was hanging out of the driver's window. It was amazing as White Dog squared herself up, tipped her head up and let out a howl. Not a growl or a bark, but a howl. Bindi strained toward the car but not aggressively. WD howled again and shoulder-to-shoulder Bindi and Hokshila returned her call. That got the rest of the White Dog Army howling (even our deaf Nuka) and across the parking lot we heard several other calls from other pups..
When Steve went to apologize for our Army, the handler stopped him saying that it wasn't a challenge call but a pack identification activity...sort of a "shoutout" of where you are from and who you are. No apologies were needed. Everyone knew we were "The White Dog Army from Albuquerque" thanks to White Dog and the rest.
It was decided as we headed into long shadows that a gingery garlicky asparagus beef and fried rice would be the perfect thing to take home and share with Quinn and Oso. Steve added potstickers, White Dog's favorite and made sure that we got enough fortune cookies for everybody. We all agreed that YoYoMa got the best fortune: "You lead a life of adventure and pleasure."