Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Ruff Encounters of a Woof

Harley likes to carry his tail curved over his back. It's awfully cute when he wags it rapidly in delight.  In this case, he is studying the dog that has confronted us. 
Harley dog and I went for a walk with the camera.  The only way I can keep up with my active pooch and take pictures without dropping the camera, is to wear it on a cord around my neck. 

I look like a tourist walking a jumping bean on a leash. 

Honeysuckle is starting to appear everywhere in the woods. 
I would prefer an adjustable wrist strap, but somebody chewed it off.  I coaxed a wire tie into the minuscule slot on the side of the camera, twisted it up firmly, then hung it off a lanyard that came with a jump drive. 

Both my cameras are older ones, donated by readers (Angels!)  One I've had around for a few years.  When I was writing my Caribbean weather blogs with island tales, I mentioned one day there would be no more pictures as my camera had bit the dust. The tiny island had a small dismal selection of grossly overpriced cameras.  Mailorder companies seem terrified of shipping to the island, so it was a problem. 

Drew from Minnesota, immediately sent me an older camera.  Thousands of pictures later, it inexplicably died. The Caribbean atmosphere is very rough on electronics. He sent another older camera (He's a Super Angel!) that I've been using until a few weeks ago, it suddenly started acting up, spitting out pale brownish blurs for pictures. I probably got tens of thousands of pictures out of it in the past. 

Meanwhile, another friend donated an older camera, they no longer used, since they had a big nice fancy one now. But it took me a heck of a long time to make peace with it, learning how to use it without a manual. At first it took an awfully long time to take a picture, so I ended up with blurry shots and often totally missed the action shot I wanted. The batteries would die every few pictures (I've since rectified that problem by turning off all the battery hogging options). 

One day the puppy chewed the wrist strap off. I was mad and surprised. He has never destroyed any of my stuff (except clothes pins) as he has heard me say "NO!" to everything of mine he ever tried to mess with. The first week of our life together, he quickly learned to play with his toys and leave my stuff alone. So I was shocked he chewed the wrist strap off one day. He knew I was plenty mad at him, when he saw me discover the missing strap, telling him a loud "NO!" over and over. He folded up his tail, hanging his head down, trying to shrink into the chair he was sitting in. He looked deeply worried.

We still have words about the wooden clothes pins though. If he should locate an errant wooden clothes pin, he rips it apart, then nibbles down on the wood. 

But otherwise, he seems fairly well behaved about leaving my stuff alone. I've been lucky, as sometimes he gets left alone in the motorhome for hours, while I go somewhere without him. Generally this is when someone invites me out to eat. My friends unintentionally try to unnerve me by asking, after we are about 10 miles from the motorhome "Aren't you worried he will tear your motorhome to pieces while you are gone?"

Usually I reply with something like "Not if he values his scrawny little neck!"

In each case, I've returned to the motorhome, finding all is well in spite of the temptations left laying around, like my shoes, or the small garbage can under the table and so on. He does often drag his toys out, leaving a trail of puppy play, down the aisle and across my bed.  In spite of his chronic stubbornness, he did learn early on, that he can't mess with my stuff and I let him know it's ALL my stuff.  
Sunflowers lined many parts of the rural roads we walked. 
 We were exploring a new area. Since there was no traffic, I was letting Harley do his favorite thing on a leash; darting around in all directions sniffing grass, smelling flowers, studying the world at his tiny height. We exited the park where we workcamp, walking up and down rural roads. 

Three times we ran into big loose dogs who wanted to be a bit territorial. So we stopped, just standing there letting the dogs give us a good long look. In each case, their pet parents were no where around.  I was hoping that the fact they were running loose, meant they were more or less friendly.  Still the way they barked ferociously running towards us, made me a bit uneasy. My puppy dog would be a mere hors d'oeuvre, should they feel the urge to taste test him. 

I was hoping nothing bad would happen. I can't run, due to my injuries though I am getting pretty good at walking briskly sometimes. Briefly I thought about all the what ifs...  If one of the dogs came to attack us, should I scoop up puppy in my arms, to save him while my flesh became a sacrifice?  Should I unhook his leash since he can run faster than any dog we've ever met?  What if he decided not to run, but to confront the dog?  Surely he would lose, as these dogs clearly outweighed him 20 to 1. 

So as we stood there, holding our ground, confronting the first strange dog without approaching, but not backing down either, the dog kept coming towards us, wavering between being protective of his perceived area and alternately letting his tail wag briefly, but not totally letting his guard down. 

We started to slowly continue on our walk, the dog shadowed us briefly, then found something else to do. 

In the middle of this picture is a tiny white square. That is my motorhome on the western side.
 Fifteen minutes later, we have two more large dogs come out of nowhere, barking and running straight at us. We repeated the last performance, only this time we turned around, going back from where we came. Harley resisted this retreat at first, but I continued, his leash firmly in hand, so he had to come along. At least he didn't sit down on his butt trying to make me drag him

He did that the other day when we were crossing a small bridge that connects to a floating dock. He sat down, letting me drag him, as I tried to coax him to walk over the bridge. I tried not to burst out laughing, this puppy that doesn't even weigh 7 pounds, is putting on the brakes, refusing to walk forward. 

Finally I scooped him up, carrying him securely across the bridge, murmuring comforting things in his ear. We've run across this problem before, he is scared of docks and bridges. I want him to get over this fear. He is so fearless about everything else, I have no idea what it is about bridges and water.  Maybe his past owners did something horrible to him. He is also terribly frightened of laundry rooms.  Another mystery, that makes me wonder about the past owners. But it's time he got over it. I would never hurt my precious baby. 

When we reached the dock, I put him down. I've read that his tiny body mass can't handle cold water. Indeed this is the same doggy that wears sweaters or coats or shirts when the temperature plunges below 72F degrees. He walked around the floating dock, sniffing it over, briefly glancing at the lake. Then I headed back across the bridge, with his leash pulled up short.  He walked on his own, grateful to be heading towards terra firma. 

Maybe we are making progress in this department.  Last time, I had to carry him both ways. This time only one way. 
Tall pampas grass.  I don't think this grew wild, as it was planted suspiciously close to a rural mailbox.

A Big Thank You To  Angels
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  1. That's a great story ! Thanks for sharing the walk and the background.... is this post a reconstruction of the one you lost in Cyberspace?

  2. Aw, thank you *blush*. Actually, the blog system was having a melt down, merely pretending to eat my story. It finally regurgitated most of it, so I pieced together the rest, more or less. :)


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