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576 Jake, a Lofty Experience 2012-02-10

Spiral staircase leading to the loft

A few weeks back we visited our daughter, Rose in Knoxville. Rose lives in a loft on Market Square, which is a pedestrian mall in the center of Downtown Knoxville. Jake, the dog was going with us on the visit. During our weekend visit, we were also going on a hike in the Smokies; but Jake was going to have to stay with Rose in town.

Rose sleeps in the loft of the loft. The loft is an open platform raised above the kitchen, accessible by a spiral staircase. While we were visiting, she allowed us to sleep in her bed. "Us" means: Amy, myself, and naturally Jake, the dog. He always sleeps with us. The only problem was Jake had never been on a spiral staircase.

When bedtime came, Amy started up the stairs and called for Jake to join her. The steps were metal, the riser between the steps were open, the radius of the spiral was short, and Jake is a cautious dog. He knew Amy wanted him to climb the stairs; but was not sure of her judgment.

Slowly, he took one step, then looked around, trying to decide if he should take another or bail. He was concerned about his footing and the openness of the stairs; but the main problem was that he just didn't fit in the spiral. His body was just too long. He had to climb and curve his body, to match the spiral. Finally, he made it to the top of the stairs. He crawled onto the bed and was done for the night.

Normally, Jake begins sleeping on the bed; but during the night he gets up and wanders a bit. While he slept in the loft, he stayed on the bed. For whatever reason, he didn't think the loft was very safe.

When morning came, we quickly dressed for our Smokies hike and I started down the stairs first. I coaxed Jake to follow, but he was obviously nervous. If we thought his climbing the steps was overly cautious, we had not seen anything yet.

We have always thought of Jake as a bit of a reckless dog. He used to run down the stairs in our house banging into the wall with such intensity that he would shake the house. Then, in the mountains he has climbed over twenty of the Colorado 14,000 foot peaks and been on countless other trails. He was raised going to rock climbing areas and generally has shown good judgement. On one occasion he had to be rescued; but as a rule he is a good mountain dog.

This mountain dog was scared to death climbing down the stairs. I stayed a couple of steps below him as he descended; but even though I was blocking the stairs, he cautiously took one step at a time. He was nearly scared to death.

When he finally touched down, onto the real floor, he went crazy. He howled. He jumped. He danced across the room. He seemed to be yelling at us in dog, 'look at me I did it!' He was as happy as if he had climbed Mount Everest, won the Super Bowl or a gold medal. Whether it was as lofty of a goal as some of our human feats, or not - he didn't care, Jake was just proud of his lofty experience and showed us with all of his emotions. Wooooooof

Happy lofty trails


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