Thursday, October 13, 2011

Eager Wilderness Doggie Adventures

When your border collie becomes bored, it is his problem. 
He will make it your problem.  I promise you.

I had felt pretty run-down last week, what with Cricket's untimely death.  So I had slacked off on walkies for the puppy.  Meaning I also slacked off on training.  Bobby let me know in his own sweet way that it was not in my interest to continue to loaf around moping. 

Eager explorer doggie

This past weekend we had to travel to T-Town to visit family and celebrate my nephews' third birthday.  In part out of guilt for neglecting my poor puppy, and in part to settle him down for a super-long car-ride, this past Saturday we took him to our favorite park.  Ault Park.

Ault Park's most visible landmark is the pavilion and the grounds and gardens surrounding it.  It's a lovely spot, which is probably why its so sought after as a wedding venue.  We had our own wedding photos taken there.  It also has a newly planted sakura grove next to the ball field.  I cannot wait to see it in bloom next spring. 


The weather was unseasonably warm, the trees were showy with autumn, and there were quite a lot of people (and dogs) coming and going.  Nearby a Korean family was playing soccer ("No, no! Mama already got red card!"), but Bobby didn't bother them, which was a blessing as he has taken to barking formidably at anything, and sometimes at nothing. 

The ball field would have been a great place to let Bobby run, and D tried to play fetch with Bobby, but it was just impossible.  Bobby has difficulties with his attention span in the best of circumstances.  In the park, there were just too many sights and sounds and smells for him to withstand.  Our giddy puppy barely looked at the ball we threw for him.  He also wasn't terribly obedient.  So we took to the trails.

Ault Park's wooded trails are sorta rugged.  Perhaps I say that because of the dirt trails and because I may or may not have fallen down some old stone steps.  Whatever.  The woods made for a lovely walk, and Bobby got to explore in the wilderness. 

There were some dogs running around off-leash, which made me tremendously nervous.  I don't know what strange dogs will do.  I have yet to feel a mastery of my own dog, nor do I posess an understanding of what he will do.  So the meeting on the trail could have ended in tears.  But the off-leash doggies (also border collies) were well behaved and quite obedient.  They sniffed eachother and that was the extent of the interlude.  Wish Bobby were so well-mannered. 

Anyway, it was a lovely day for it.  And probably the last nice/warm weekends this year.

Colder days they are a-coming

The rest of Bobby's weekend could be described as traumatic.  We shoved him in a car for hours on end, where he got carsick (as he often does) and threw up in the back seat.  The next day we walked him up in a wooded park up north, but then cruelly packed him away in the car for another torturous ride.  He didn't throw up on the way home, but there were some shaky moments. 

When we got home and after things settled down I took him for a walk.  We were walking down a busy-ish street in front of a restaurant and suddenly Bobby's head snapped toward the landscaping bushes.  He immediately tensed up, growling and snarling as I have never seen him do.  Bobby continued baring his teeth and barking (reeeally loudly) and I admit, I was frightened.  My first thought was that some ill-intentioned creature would rush us from the bushes.  After a few moments, when it became glaringly obvious that neither feral mongoose nor sabre-toothed wombat was flying out of the shrubbery at us, I felt a tad embarrassed.  Bobby was still doing his (loud) impression of a rabid mongrel.  And finally it dawned on me. 

There were two animals.  One was my dog.  One was the mascot of the barbecue joint. A giant pig statue.

There in front of an elephant-sized pig, my dog was having a cow. 

I tried to bring him closer to show him that the pig wasn't real.  He put his paws out in front of him, trying to hunker down, desperate to not go any closer.  I stood in front of piggy calmly.  I knocked on it with my hand to show him it was solid.  I tried to explain that he might be overreacting but that I appreciated his concern for us both all the same. 

Bobby paused, tearing his eyes away to look at me as though listening to reason.  And then he continued to have his panicky fit.  He would not be shushed.  The barking stopped only when I clamped his mouth shut.  And when I released his jaws he started again.  There was nothing for it.  I began to drag him bodily away.  Because he didn't want to leave either.  As though the spot he was on was the only spot that was safe from the giant pig.   On the way home he kept looking behind us, as if expecting to be mauled from behind by a ravenous pig. 

What are we going to do with this dog?


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