With a break in the hair-raising humidity and torrential rains, I sat out on the back patio after work to soak up some vitamin D and watch the boys play, which to me was heartwarming to see them playing so well, though the sound is certainly not for the faint-hearted. After dinner I figured we’d settle in for some couch potato-ing but seeing them being so good and knowing that they’d enjoy it, I decided to take them each for a walk around the neighborhood.
Julius and I went out first and strolled down the streets I rarely get to walk on. He is easy and our walk was silent and companionable. He’s been rocking his Halti instead of his harness and it has been a game changer. Juli is always good in his harness-don’t get me wrong- but the Halti like I said was a game changer. He still rubs his head on my legs occasionally but there were several times I had to look to see if he was still with me because the slackness in the leash was so alarming…and gratifying.
I love that we are getting to such a good place and that we can enjoy the quiet companionship together.
Awaiting me at home was Ray with his soft, hopeful eyes and his bouncy-cow hop. Ray is normally fine just wearing a martingale collar for walks but Julius and I had seen Daisy, a neighbor’s dog, lounging off leash in her yard and since the said yard is on Ray’s walking route, we opted for the Freedom harness for Ray just in case we needed some extra control.
Ray is like the Rain Man on walks; he has a certain route and routine that must be strictly adhered to unless he decides it doesn’t. Normally, we depart the driveway and make a beeline across the street to the lamp-post to leave some pee-mail. We then recross the street and skim along our side yard to the neighbor behind us where we (Ray) pees on her corner lamp post, and continues to the American Bulldog’s house to …do more than pee. We then retrace our steps back and walk around the next block, up the street and around the corner…past Daisy’s house.
Tonight I’d like to sincerely thank the neighbor with the “doodle” puppy. As Ray was preparing his poo spot I noticed they were walking toward us but still a good distance away yet also in the exact direction my Rain Man and I would be heading. I knew the possibility of Ray
losing his shit reacting to the puppy if it were coming head on toward us was a real possibility. The next few minutes stretched on as I fumbled for a poop bag and scooped up after Ray all the while throwing furtive glances to the approaching pair trying to will them to turn away and still remain calm so that Ray wouldn’t pick up on my mood. I began regaling him with the temptation of yummy treats in order to lure him in another direction while he stood, glancing between his suddenly crazy mom who wanted to go the wrong way and the approaching puppy. The neighbor (thank goodness) realized what I was doing and slowed her approach and indicated the direction she needed to take to get home. I ended up luring Ray to a yard to partake of some yummy snacks while the lady carried her doodle past us, “I don’t want him to slip his collar” she said with a smile, passing us by as if the entire interaction was completely normal. It was truly a nice change from “It’s ok…my dog is friendly” people.
As we continued on Ray’s favorite path and headed up the street towards where I knew Daisy was lying out on her driveway, my mind continued to spin thinking of ways to try to cajole my stubborn dog to make a detour I heard the sweetest sound. Daisy’s “dad” had just turned on a dreaded leaf-blower. Ray stopped and looked at me…”Let’s go this way,” I said, pointing in the opposite direction. As we approached our house from the wrong direction and doubled back to another pee-mail location, I took a moment to bask in the warm glow of the realization that Ray trusts me to keep him safe from things like doodle puppies, leaf blowers and other random items of lawn equipment. For that he earned a nice slice of dried sweet potato.
How does your dog let you know that you’re earning doggie thumbs up?