We have fairly new neighbors across the road. They have 2 Jack Russells who are very excitable but harmless, and Ray seems to have them figured out!
We received an invitation from them to go over yesterday evening for a pre-Halloween social with various other people on our street. We had a number of reservations revolving around Ray’s comfort level.
We didn’t know how many people would be there; how Ray would react to people dressed up in various attires (it is Halloween after all), and whether children would be there. How would Ray behave if his space was very limited? Given that he knows a lot of people on the street, we wondered how he would react if their scent was right but their appearance very wrong! We wondered how the JR’s would react to Ray being actually in their home!
I also had reservations of my own as my idea of socializing is having an opportunity to get to know people by way of conversations which, I guessed, would probably be unlikely in this setting… other than superficial chit-chat. My idea of socializing is sitting at a table with food, in a relatively quiet environment and having interesting dialogues!
We decided that all 3 of us would go but, if Ray was clearly not comfortable, then we would take him back home and Carol and I would go over separately so Ray would always have one of us with him.
We went over at 7:00pm and, not surprisingly, there were very few people there but that soon changed as time passed. The 2 JR’s did not seem to have a problem with having Ray on their “turf”, until he started sniffing around their food bin! One of them made it quite clear that he should leave it alone, and he got the message and wandered off (he was always on his leash).
Ray seemed to be relatively comfortable as the rooms filled up with people. We just had to be alert for those talking with their back to him as he is generally not very happy being stepped on! There were young children running around which we watched just in case intervention was necessary. One that gave me concern was a young girl waving a scimitar replica around but Ray seemed totally oblivious to it!
He was not however, oblivious to all the food on the tables and motioned in the direction of some plates that were near the edge! After some decisive “Leave it!” instructions, he decided to just sniff along the table edges. I cannot imagine what was going through his mind when he realized just how much food was on display!
The music was later turned up and those who felt like dancing… did. Those who did not just seemed to raise their voices so that they could talk over the music. The children were much louder at that time for probably the same reason. We three retreated to a sofa in a “sitting area” and Ray seemed as relaxed as ever and, I would suggest that he did better than me!
I like some loud music, but that is because I like to listen to it loud. I get very frustrated with loud music when everybody is trying to talk over it! From my perspective, nothing meaningful is achieved. Conversations are difficult and strained, and nobody can enjoy the music!
At around 10:30pm, we decided to leave. Since then we have had numerous conversations about how remarkably well Ray behaved in, what must have been, a very unusual environment. He is constantly amazing us as to how far he has come socially in the past 3-1/2 years. He really is deserving of constant “Good boy Ray!” affirmations… and of course treats!