As often happens these days, my day started a little late. As a consequence, Dante and I started on our 2.5 mile stroll around 11:00 a.m.. I have been slowly training him to the leash and teaching him to “stay with me,” i.e., walk next to or behind me and to one side. American Eskimo dogs are highly intelligent, extremely loyal, and more than a bit high-strung. He is also hyper-protective of his pack (that’s us -- or me).
I did not know that children would be coming home from school around noon. Dante is not well socialized and is especially skittish around groups of active and noisy kids.
Normally, I simply avoid the near occasion of contact with children and give wide berth to groups of youngsters. Today, however, buses were dropping small groups everywhere (like paratroopers behind enemy lines) and those exiting the buses for the last time this school year were in high gear and several were screaming in glee.
Dante was getting nervous and started pulling on the leash (a definite no-no in our walking relationship), which required me to stop, demonstrate we were not going anywhere until he stopped pulling, and to (finally) praise him for falling into line. Suddenly, a block ahead, a group of three or four young girls literally jumped off their bus and began shrieking, screaming, and jumping about -- obviously happy school was out -- this had my partner on his hind legs, straining against the leash and yapping in extreme excitement.
Five minutes later, cooled down and calm once again, we set out for the next corner.
Kamikaze on Blades
About ten minutes later, we were strolling past Tony’s Country Kitchen, smelling the pasties and thinking about lunch. My hearing is not so good, partially because of my tinnitus and because each footstep when I walk sounds like a bass drum in my ears, so I had no warning when a young lady on roller blades blasted past us from behind, brushing my shoulder and startling me. My protector went ballistic, leaping after The Flash on Skates and nearly pulling me off my feet. Like most dogs, Dante can read my mood and sense when I get nervous or angry. I was amazed at how quickly he read me and launched into protect mode.
I don’t wish to give up my route, mainly because there are three doggy doodoo receptacles along the path, which means I don’t have to carry bags of poo very far before I can deposit them. Soooo...as with last summer, I will have to get up much earlier and have our walks before such distractions are abroad.
And all this time, I expected not to complain anymore when the kids are out of school for the summer…
Good night, and God bless,