We have had some extremely warm days recently which, coupled with high humidity, has made Ray’s walks an exercise in strategic planning.
Generally the evenings have offered the best opportunities unless storms are forecast, in which case we’ll try an early morning walk. The next piece of planning is how far do we take him which is often impacted by how far do we want to go!
Ultimately we all set off, along with Ray’s poop bags, treats, a water bottle and his collapsible water bowl! This has been the norm for some time and the walks have been uneventful. We will stop periodically and give him an opportunity to drink some water and, in extreme conditions, have given him a tummy rub with water! I remember reading somewhere that it would help his natural cooling system if his underside was damp.
Just recently we were on a typical uneventful walk, when we saw a couple coming along the sidewalk directly towards us with a Chihuahua on an extendable cord leash. Ray initially (when he first moved in with us) had a problem with all dogs, but that slowly changed to just small dogs. That may well have been because small dogs are often excitable, yappy and, if the owner is not concentrating, capable of wrapping their cord leash around Ray’s back legs. Ray does not react too well under those circumstances but then, tie my legs together with a cord and I would not be too pleasant either! Over the course of the past 6 months or so, we have been working on the “dogs mean treats” association and he has become quite accepting of even small dogs who want to say “Hi”.
Carol was holding Ray’s leash and I was thinking about suggesting that we should move to one side so that the two dogs did not meet. I had nothing to base that on other than perhaps remembering a number of awkward situations that have occurred in the past with small dogs. However, as the gap between us closed, I noticed that the man holding the Chihuahua’s leash was allowing it to extend. Clearly he was not concerned about his dog meeting Ray and, at the last minute, he assured us that it would be ok.
The two dogs were in a nose to nose position when the Chihuahua suddenly snarled and lunged at Ray’s nose. Fortunately Ray turned his head to one side really fast and so avoided any contact. He then just stood there, staring at the dog probably wondering what on earth that was all about, when the owner said “It’s okay, he can’t bite. No teeth!”
I said something rather impolite and totally non-constructive as we pulled Ray away and headed for home. I spent the next few minutes thinking of all the things that I should have said. Isn’t hindsight wonderful?
“Have you considered what could have happened to your dog if Ray had not been so calm. He would have no way of knowing that your dog could not bite!”
If we meet them again, we will certainly avoid any doggy contact. It has taken Ray 2-1/2 yrs to reach this point where he does not see another dog as a threat. I will not let some thoughtless idiot unravel all the work that Ray has done with us.
I need a scotch………..on the rocks of course!