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We caused a bit of excitement yesterday in La Porte City. Thanks to Nimbus the Weather Dog who admirably demonstrated just how awful my dog coaching skills are.

Let me backtrack a moment. Our first stop was to Roger's Park just north of Vinton, Iowa. Terry had a hankering to land a few bluegill and was sure this would be his sweet spot. The dog had a hankering to jump in the lake. Which he did. With leash on. Now Nimbus enjoys splashing in water, but he is not a particularly good swimmer. Blame it on the fur coat he wears year-round. So I had tried to get him to release some of his mega-watt energy by allowing him to play at the water's edge. He decided this was so great that when we walked out on a pier he cheerfully leapt overboard. You should have seen the shock on his face when he re-emerged. And panic. I quickly reached down and rescued him by grabbing his halter collar and pulling him up.

When it became clear that Terry was going to be a luckless fisherman, the bluegills were spawning but not yet biting, we decided to head on up to Cedar Falls for dinner. The four of us. Terry, Eden, Nimbus, and myself. At this point, Eden refused to sit with the dog (n the back seat) because he smelled like swampy fish water. So I held him in my lap in the front seat and reminded her that at times when she was an infant she didn't smell so great either.

At La Porte City, we pulled over at this quaint little roadside ice cream/burger joint with a car on top of it ( later learned this was Tootsie's Ice Cream and More).

Because I thought Nimbus needed to eat. He had refused his dog food, but had burned up so much energy I thought it would be okay to spoil him a bit.

I opened the door and grabbed his collar/harness to clip the leash on, but experienced epic failure when I missed the small metal ring. In a dog's uncanny way, Nimbus sensed immediate freedom. Before I could grab him again, he bounced out of the car and scampered across an alley. Thrilled. He thought this was am amazingly fun game. He scooted this way and that as I tried to seize the dog (and the day).

Then a whiff of hamburger from the roadside stand hooked him in. He pranced over to the tables of people sitting outside waiting for their orders. Everyone attempted to capture the beast, but he alluded them all.

I am hot on his heels, but can't get within grabbing distance. He tosses a smile and runs into the middle of La Porte City's main drag trotting full speed as pick up trucks, SUV's, and cars pull over to let the little stinker enjoy his moment in the sunlight.

People stopped and tried to intervene, but Nimbus was just too quick and quite determined to take his fifteen minutes of fame and literally run with it. He finally cut over to a quiet side street lined with clapboard homes and beautiful old trees. He would disappear into back yards only to reappear a moment later.

A driver of a pick-up truck realized what was happening. He called out the window. "Do you want a treat?"

"What?" I answered.

A TREAT!" he replied waving a can of pringles chips.

Bless his heart. "YES!" I yelled running over to the truck. "Thank you so much."

"Nimbus," I called waving the can of chips. "Look, treats!"

He stopped his prowling and looked over at me. The can attracted his attention. This is gonna work, I thought.

I didn't want to hold up the young man in the truck, so I extracted a few chips and jogged back to return his can.

Nimbus had now gone around back of yet another house, but quickly returned. "Treats!" I screamed like a demented woman. "TREATS!"

I started whipping them like frisbees at his head. He sniffed a chip. Thought about it. Sniffed a second chip and as he was studying it, I lunged like the Olympic athlete I am not, and snagged handfuls of fur.

Nimbus knew the jig was up. I clamped his leash on. The guy in the pick-up was waiting to see if I had had success. I waved a thank you and he returned his own wave and drove on.

Back at the ice cream/burger joint, the crowd was thrilled to see the returning escapee and wondered what had done the trick.

"Pringles," I replied.

"Cheddar Cheese."


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