Hurray for Ray!

In order to set a context for this post, I would like to quote a comment from the Oakville & Milton Humane Society (OMHS) concerning Ray:

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When he came into our care as a stray that no one claimed, he was pretty timid; wouldn’t make contact with anyone, and could look pretty scary when he was uncomfortable and used his big bark. For many shelters he would not be the kind of dog that would go to the adoption floor, but we are so lucky to have two dog training coordinators on staff who worked with this big guy until he was ready for a forever home, which took many, many months. We then worked with his new owners to help him to be comfortable in his new home.

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Not surprisingly, we quickly discovered that he was very uncomfortable when close to people, and dogs, that he did not know. He was a little more tolerant of women than men, and he often displayed a distinct aversion to uniforms (which we surmise was because he was picked up by uniformed OMHS staff).

On a recent walk, Ray took his traditional route down the road and into our nearby park (see Ray Discovers Acorns – Oct 26) however, this time there was an OMHS van parked just where we cross a road to access the park. The OMHS take on the responsibility of enforcing the Town of Oakville’s By-Laws as they relate to animals, and we were approached by one of the officers who explained that they were checking that all dogs were licensed, leashed, and that the owners were “picking up” after them. I asked Ray to sit.

The officer thought she recognized him and so we had a general “doggy” conversation for a good 5 minutes. When the conversation ended, she noted how remarkably well behaved Ray had been and it was then that I realized that, with the exception of an initial treat, I had totally ignored him. Hurray for Ray!

When we left the park, Ray was heading in the general direction of downtown Oakville, but then veered off that route and in a direction that would take him to both the Canadian Pet Connection store (animal foods and supplies) and OMHS (where he has people friends). This route entailed crossing a small park consisting of trees, shrub beds, and a memorial to casualties of various wars.

We were almost across the park when an elderly man stopped us and commented on what a lovely dog Ray was! I asked Ray to sit, and the man started a conversation about his last dog (Shepherd/Malamute X) who apparently looked very similar to Ray. We discussed Ray wearing his muzzle, his apparent fears, his training, and after around 5 minutes we bid each other farewell but, just as we were starting to walk away, the man turned around and said “Considering what you have told me about him, he has done extremely well to just sit there and wait for us to finish talking.” Once again, I realized that after his initial treat when we stopped, I had totally ignored him. Hurray for Ray!

He had shown no signs of any antagonism towards the uniformed OMHS officer, nor towards the man who was a total stranger. Neither had he moved from the place where I asked him to sit. This is particularly significant because Ray is very protective of me and, under these circumstances, tends to quietly position himself between me and the stranger just in case he sees a need to “intervene”!

They had both showed considerable diplomacy in not approaching too closely, but that should take nothing away from Ray’s admirable behavior. Hurray for Ray!

As an aside, he is also coming to terms with other dogs such that after a walk downtown in which he sees many, my thoughts are always that Ray is better behaved than most of them. He no longer sees any necessity to bark at them and, if they bark at him, he simply looks at them and then up at me ……….. for his treat! Hurray for Ray!

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