Better and Better

Montana just gets better and better.

Cali and Jana’s cousins came to visit recently. Ziggy and Hannah live in Kansas, where summer is full of scary thunderstorms and terrifying lawnmowers. Up here on the hilltop in Montana, there are no lawnmowers at all. Thunderstorms are rare. There’s a huge play yard and lot of places to go hiking. Ziggy was excited.

Cali, Jana, and their cousins went to Missoula to visit Scarlett and her sister, Gracie. Then they went for a walk by the river, saw a huge carousel, met some really friendly Montana kids, and then, best of all, they got to go out for ice cream. The nice lady at the Big Dipper gave each dog her own cone! Ziggy and Jana and Cali ate theirs really fast, but Hannah showed her good breeding and manners, licking her cone delicately and not dripping it anywhere.

Hannah and Ziggy quickly learned to use the automatic dog door, and they each got their own key. Hannah thinks that it opens when she barks at it. She likes to bark, so that suits her just fine. Jana’s friend Molly came for a visit, and she remembered how to use the dog door right away, even though she hadn’t been over to visit in a really long time! She’s super-smart because she’s a poodle. She knows that barking is not what makes the door open.

Molly likes to bark too, but with all the girls barking, Jana and Cali’s mom couldn’t get any work done, so she told everyone to be quiet. Meanie!

The cousins and Molly loved playing out in Cali’s big play yard. They chased the ball, chased Cali or Alberta chasing the ball, ate grass, barked at deer, chased each other some more … when they got tired, they went back inside and piled onto the dog beds or stretched out on a rug. Hannah and Ziggy thought that Montana was pretty awesome. Molly, a native Montanan, couldn’t agree more.

After Hannah and Ziggy and Molly went home, Cali, Alberta, and Jana finally made plans to go to Packer Meadow. Jana loves this place and told Cali and Alberta all about it, but Cali and Alberta had never been there. It’s huge and very green. Jana remembers being there when it was so full of purple flowers that it looked like water. Speaking of water, there’s this really great stream that runs through the meadow. Brrrr. The water is very cold. But a dog can jump in and climb out and jump in and climb out and jump in and … all day (or until her mom makes her leave. Meanie.).

Unfortunately, the day they went, Packer Meadow was closed because it was too close to some huge forest fires. Good thing that Mom always has a backup plan; the girls had a great afternoon at Jana’s second-favorite place, Fort Fizzle. Jana found the first of her heart-shaped rocks there. She loves splashing in the river, finding rocks, rolling on the bank, and chasing sticks. Cali chased tennis balls; one almost got lost way out on the rocks, and Alberta wouldn’t bring it back, but Cali finally agreed to go and get it. She got a bunch of cookies for that. Maybe Mom is not such a meanie after all.

And guess what! They still get to go to Packer Meadow in a couple of weeks. Montana sure is a great place to be a dog.


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