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By now you may have noticed that summer seems to finally be underway and both my loyal readers know that means I’ve moved back into the wilds of Lake Tschida. For the record it is not easy to maintain two abodes so in the winter I ignore our lake cabin and in the summer I try to ignore our house in town – but I’m not very successful.

For those wondering, the fishing report indicates that they’re biting, and if I can get a break from all the maintenance stuff I may get to fish before fall. It seems that each time I think about fishing some other pressing matter intrudes. For instance my number two son and his family had to attend a soccer and baseball tourney in Fargo last weekend, which happened to be the weekend of the annual local fishing tournament, and Abe needed to find a dog sitter.

So I ended up with his two black labs, Willow and Tschida, and as such, any activities that were supposed to be dog-free were now off-limits (dogs don’t make good fishing or boat partners). Therefore I was knocked out of the fishing tourney and after a few days of being shadowed around the neighborhood by two dogs I adopted a new moniker – "Two Dog Dan."

Don’t get me wrong, these two dogs are good dogs. There ain’t a mean bone in ‘em and, outside of a lot of warning barks, they do really well around strangers and people. When they first arrive at the lake, they’re pretty wound up as they run to the lake for a dip or chase a rabbit, but after a few rounds they tire out and settle in. For example, this is being written early in the morning and I can hear Tschida snoring in the background.

We use a golf cart to get around out here and I may have made an error when I let them ride along with me because now they hop into the cart every time I do. This can be a bit uncomfortable because Willow likes to sit on the seat while Tschida prefers to sit on the floor usually over the gas pedal or brake. There have been a few times when Tschida seemed to have more control of the cart than I did. The problem here is that both of these guys like to wallow in the water whenever they get close to the lake.

When that happens, they’ll assume their position in the golf cart, soaking wet, and Willow’s big butt will cover the entire seat, causing me to try and get her to move over so I can sit on a wet seat with my butt touching her butt and me ending up with wet pants, wondering why I let them get in the cart in the first place.

But given that I’m out here alone for a while they’ve just become part of my day. However, I do get a bit miffed when they crawl onto our couch. When I’m up, they lay on the floor, but after I go to bed they both sneak onto the couch for the night so when I get up they kind of dare me to get them off the couch. So I holler at them, they get down until I go back to bed, then they resume their positions. I just gave up on it.

Finally, I am somewhat surprised to report that both of them snore and their snoring has awakened me, but then again it just shows how much they’ve settled into life in the wilds of Lake Tschida, so we get along quite well. Here’s to hoping that you get along with whomever is around you, too.

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Dan Ulmer is a parent, grandparent, as well as a retired teacher, counselor, politician, lobbyist, public employee, nonprofit executive and opinionated citizen who believes that we need to do what we can to leave the world better off than we found it.

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