Not too long after Ray had moved in with us, we had taken him on a walk to the Humane Society where he came from (we had already realized that he had a few close human ties there). While there, he was amicable with certain individuals, and quite indifferent to others. We were very aware of his social issues and therefore minimized his contact with other people.
All was well until one of the male staff, who was one of the animal rescue people, came through the lobby where we were. Ray immediately went into his lunge and bark routine. As far as we could determine, there was no basis for it (the man had no recollections of meeting Ray before), except perhaps the black uniform that the man was wearing.
Given that Ray had been captured as a stray, and by our Humane Society, he would probably have some disturbing memories of that time. He would have been somehow trapped; manhandled into a van; endured quite possibly a frightening ride in the enclosure within the van; manhandled once more into a small area in the Humane Society building with no way of escape, and then approached by total strangers. It would be quite understandable if he associated black uniforms with unpleasant experiences!
Yesterday, we were out walking and, at the end of our street, wanted to cross over a quite busy road. We duly waited for either a gap in the traffic, or traffic signal change, when a local policeman was suddenly standing near to Ray. He too clearly wanted to cross.
Just as I noticed him standing there, in his black uniform, Carol also saw him… and I knew that we were both thinking “Oh no…… what is Ray going to do?”
Ray has come a long way in developing both his social skills, and in accepting that people are not necessarily a threat to him. One area however that we had not specifically addressed, was people in black uniforms!
Ray came through the experience with a gold medal performance. He obviously knew the policeman was there, but seemed to attach no significance whatsoever to him! A gap appeared in the traffic and all four of us crossed the road and we went our separate ways! (sigh of relief)