Trouble & Ruby
I try and take Trouble on a walk without the other two dogs once a week. It doesn't always happen, but when I do I'm so glad for both our sakes. When all three are together, Trouble feeds off Spike's (the oldest) nervous energy and feels like he needs to protect Ruby, the smallest dog. This makes him a bit of a challenge to walk.
But when he's on his own, he's so good. He listens, he heels, he doesn't bark crazily at dogs behind fences, lunging and pulling me off my feet. And for me it's great because I get to put in my ipod and zone out for an hour. I also think some one on one time with my neediest of dogs actually helps him feel more secure and connected and less needy.
So the other day, we're on our walk and this 10 year old boy comes up on his bike. "Have you seen a yellow lab running around?" he asks with a very worried look on his face. My heart falls. Poor kid! I promise that we'll keep a look out for "Basil" pronounced with the English pronunciation, which makes this poor kid now sad AND adorable. I tell him that if we find him we'll bring him home.
Ten minutes later... I notice a very bouncy dog behind a fence fitting the young lad's description. Hmmm.... "Basil? Here boy, here Basil!!!!" I call, feeling a tad silly using the English pronunciation. So Basil comes bounding out from the open gate, responding to his name and makes a beeline for Trouble, who is being an angel because he's solo today.
Well, when I asked the young boy if his dog was friendly, perhaps I misunderstood when he said "yes", because Basil had it out for my Trouble-dog. Trouble, surprisingly, did not fight back, instead of going on the defensive, he tried to get away from Basil. This wasn't a real dog fight, merely a show of dominance on Basil's part so I just grabbed his collar to pull him off of Trouble, whom I'm considering a name change to "Angel" he's being such a saint.
Luckily, the fence that Basil was behind housed another dog with a lovely dog owner who lent me a lead so I could return Basil up a very steep hill to his master.
Both dogs are large- too large for me to control at once if they decide to go at it. So, channeling our amazing dog trainer, Rebecca, I take a deep breath and get both dogs to heal, one on each side. Trouble is so good- so focused- that he alternates between looking up at me for assurance and ahead of him. Basil on the other hand, is pushing boundaries, stealing glances at Trouble, pulling at bit to give him the evil eye. I know if I let up on the corrections with this dog he will lunge at Trouble again and I'm really worried all hell is going to break loose when we step foot on this dog's property.
Fifteen minutes later, we arrive at the dog's home, with both dogs intact. Basil a bit anxious that T-dog is on his property, and he is slowing trying to get closer to start something. Angel (nee: Trouble) is completely ignoring him. Still focused on me, entirely. Phew.
The boys show up on their bikes, there's a younger brother who breaks out into tears when he sees his dog. "thank you thank you thank you!!!!"
Angel and I leave the boys to give their lost dog hugs and kisses and I feel on top of the world.