Regular readers will know that one of Ray’s favorite places to visit is our downtown Lululemon store. (Searching this site for Lululemon will produce many results!)
In Ray’s early days with us, I used to take him there on a regular basis as it not only provided an opportunity for socialization which he badly needed, but getting there just after they had opened presented a safe and controllable environment. From Ray’s perspective, they simply had biscuits there especially for dogs!
He soon learned that if he went into the store and sat near the biscuit bowl, I would give him a biscuit. If he did not sit, then there was no biscuit. He was so predictable and so well-mannered that the staff liked him immediately and often commented that he was the best behaved dog they had seen in there. I was (and still am) so proud of him for making the adjustments necessary to generally fit in with our world. He was overcoming his instincts that were driven by past experiences, and becoming relatively (he still clearly has issues) sociable and amiable. As noted in a very recent Post, a number of the young ladies working at Lululemon now greet him by name and he allows a certain amount of gentle touching.
One afternoon just recently, we both took Ray out for his walk and Carol was holding his leash. We decided to let him pick the route and, not too much of a surprise, he headed for downtown and clearly in the direction of Lululemon. We went through the front door and Ray, as expected, made a sharp turn towards the biscuit bowl and sat down. I took a biscuit and gave it to him.
The store was quite busy so Ray did not yet the usual attention however, while he just sat there, I was looking around at the displays and also watching for anybody who might suddenly approach him. He eventually stood up next to Carol who was also looking around.
There must have been a brief moment when neither Carol nor I were watching him because we suddenly heard a crash! Ray had decided to take advantage of an unsupervised moment and made a dive for the biscuit bowl. The bowl, which is placed on top of a short pedestal, clattered extremely well as it hit the floor propelling its contents in all directions. It certainly drew some attention!
The sight was quite interesting because there were biscuits all over the floor, in the middle of which was Ray grabbing as many as he could. Being the size that he is, it was difficult for anybody near us to avoid watching him as he twisted and turned his 75lbs in order to scoop up this windfall! With his mouth full of biscuits, Carol quickly pulled him away from the “war zone” and, while I tidied up as best I could, she was contemplating making him give up some of his bounty.
It should be understood that while there is no way that I would put my hand in his mouth (he warned me once about being too close to his food bowl), he does allow Carol to remove undesirable things from there. This has been a real asset on numerous occasions but, this time, his whole manner dictated that this was his prize and to not even try taking it away from him! Whoever said “discretion is the better part of valor” could not have known how precise that statement was in these circumstances!
We have not been back since simply due to us having other plans, or as a result of Ray’s choice to go elsewhere, but we will be taking him back soon in order to give him an opportunity to redeem himself. Once again (hopefully) he will be the best behaved dog to visit Lululemon.