Conquering our fears….

“Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, “I will try again tomorrow.”

–Mary Ann Radmacher

Screwing his courage to the sticking post for descent.

Well, it’s been an interesting last few days here at Chez Feinberg.  The Beaumeister has suddenly developed a fear of stairs. 😦   We’re not sure why, as he’s been navigating them masterfully for months now, to the point where he’s gotten a little reckless, especially on the “downhill.”  Oftentimes (especially in the morning when breakfast awaits below), he doesn’t even bother with the last three or four steps and just catches air as he makes his way down the final flight.

We’re pretty sure he took a tumble, though neither of us witnessed it.  He’s fallen in the past going both up and down, but he’s always dusted himself off and ‘jumped right back on the horse’ so to speak.  But this time is different.   He’ll still go *down* the stairs, but he will no longer go up.  Those two back legs are *not* leaving the ground for love nor money (or chicken, string cheese, or kibble for that matter), he’s made that perfectly clear.  He’s shown a *remarkable* ability to stretch his body (as a former Pilates instructor I can tell you that his extensions are a sight to behold), but he absolutely refuses to lift a back paw off the ‘terra firma’ of the foyer.

Now I’m proud to say that I follow a pretty rigorous fitness regimen, including strength training (the importance of which will become relevant momentarily), but I would like to go on record to say that hauling a 7 month-old, 60 lb. bundle of Chocolate Lab love up two flights of stairs is *not* an exercise I’ll be recommending for my boot camp class.  (Beau, conversely, thinks this new development is fabulous–he gets this dreamy look in his eye as if harkening back to his younger days when Mom routinely toted his little brown bum up and down the stairs.)

Lola Bug, meanwhile, is both puzzled and relieved by this sudden turn of events.  She speeds up and down the stairs by Beau, glancing over her shoulder as if to say, “Come on, Beau, this isn’t hard!  Chase me!” Then she gets to the office or the bedroom, realizes that he *isn’t* following and gets a wee twinkle in her eye as if to say, “Well, now, just a minute!  This is rather lovely–I can stretch out in this patch of sunlight and relax, since that brown bomber is not going to pounce on me the minute I shut my eyes.”

I know, I know, I can just imagine what you’re thinking–“Lori, what are you doing?!  Don’t carry him, for heaven’s sake, he’ll never do it on his own again!”  And you’re right, I know you are, but seeing him gazing up from the bottom of the stairs, his front feet on the third or fourth step while his back toes grip the foyer floor, breaks my heart.  The whole family is upstairs and he wants to be up there, too.  I promise you, we’re still working on re-establishing his climbing ability every day, but until he gets his confidence back, I’ll help him out.  He’s a very smart boy and determined too, and tomorrow’s another day.

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