101st: It is out of use to call upon the company often to eat; nor need you drink to others every time you drink.
Today's Search Engine queries:
JOY TO THE WORLD
7 December 2004
Thanks to Mary, I was reminded about Holidailies, the group of journalists who pledge to update daily in December. For me it's kind of cheating to sign up to "accomplish" something that I do every day anyway, but it puts me on a list where I might get "discovered" by more people, so I'm a Holidailies participant again this year. The postings begin with the December 7 entry for all of us, so be sure to check out the site and see what all the others are doing.
Yesterday restored my faith in Sheila. Sheila had such a good time that if she sing a Christmas Carol, it would definitely be "Joy to the World."
I've been uncomfortable going back to the dog park and have been resisting it, which was unfair to Sheila, of course, and I can really tell the difference when she doesn't get out for a couple of days. She's basically a very good dog at home but she does start to get antsy without her daily trip to the park.
So, with fear and trepidation, we returned to the dog park yesterday.
I could hear dogs barking so we weren't going to have it to ourselves. When we got over the hill where we could see the park, I could see there were two dogs there, a black lab and a brindle something-or-other. They seemed to be getting along and Sheila, of course, was all a-twitch to get in and join them.
I hoped things would go well, but suddenly the brindle attacked the lab and the tone for the park seemed to be set. The owners pulled the two dogs off of each other and they calmed down, but that worried me how Sheila would react when she got inside.
I thought that perhaps if I let her OFF leash before we got in the park, she would be better from the get-go, since she seems more likely to be aggressive if she's on the leash.
So I took her leash off as we got to the gate.
Unfortunately, just as I removed the leash, a guy came by riding a skateboard being pulled by a yellow lab on a leash. Sheila took off like a bat outta hell chasing the lab. She was so thrilled to be out and running free. And naturally, she didn't come when I called her.
(Come? When called? Surely you jest!)
She ran to the top of the little hill, and then down into the skateboard park, where she's wanted to go for six months.
But then she saw me standing at the gate of the dog park and something incredible came--she came running down the hill and met me at the gate. Oh joy! Oh rapture!
I started to open the gate, and we went in. The brindle started snarling and Sheila started snarling back. I groaned. The brindle's owner was putting him on leash and talking about how embarrassed she was at her dog's behavior. I had Sheila tightly held by her collar while she struggled to get free. I have to admit that I was relieved to see someone else embarrassed by their dog's behavior.
After the brindle left, Sheila and the lab seemed to be warily ok. There was a brief moment when hackles were raised and growls were heard, but mostly they ignored each other. I began to relax a bit and made sure that Sheila and I went to find a ball so I could distract her from thinking about attacking the lab.
But it seems to be that I didn't need to worry. They parallel played and they ran around the park together and seemed to get along well.
Then Lola arrived.
Lola is a 6 month old Boston Bull terrier who was full of fire and could run like the wind. Sheila loved her. I wondered if the puppy reminded her of her own puppy, Hamilton. The puppy was being a real pest, jumping on top of her, licking her, just all over her, and Sheila took it all without a single growl.
Oh she looked like she might be going to go after her, with those teeth gleaming, but she was very, very gentle with her. When the puppy got too obstreperous, she would gently put her paw on the puppy's back and hold her down.
After our last couple of experiences, it was wonderful to have Lola's owners say how amazed they were at how gentle and tolerant Sheila was.
Then something funny happened. More dogs started arriving. At one time there were 8 dogs there, all Sheila-sized or larger, with Lola the littlest. Sheila got along well with all of them, though I still kept resolutely throwing the ball to distract her if I felt things might get tense.
(I didn't go to the gym yesterday because I didn't want to do 15 minutes on the treadmill--instead I did 45 minutes in the park!)
Another dog started playing with Lola, just as gently as Sheila did--and Sheila started nipping at Lola. It was as if she was saying "Hey! You're MY puppy--what are you doing having fun with another dog."
But it was short-lived. Tossing the ball for her continuously kept her running around--and she was very, very active, which she sorely needed.
A new dog came with a colored tennis ball that Sheila fell in love with. Like the purple ball of yore. She got hold of that ball and she absolutely was not going to let it go. Which meant, of course, that she definitely was not going to come when I called her to go home. She just casually stayed out of arm's reach for about 15 minutes, while I tried to convince her that we really had to go home.
I lucked out when she accidentally dropped the ball and I just happened to be faster than she was (which happens almost never) and I managed to get the ball. She would sit, thinking I would throw it for her, but she would sit just out of arm's length where I couldn't grab her.
Finally I managed to get her trapped between my knee and the gate and was able to grab her. She still naively thought I was going to toss the ball for her, and seemed shocked when we got outside the gate and I tossed the ball back into the park. As we walked to the car, she kept looking back at the park as if to say "aren't we going to take the ball with us?"
So, all things considered it was a good day at the park, but I came away thinking that if Dave the Dog Trainer can really get Sheila to come consistently when I call her, it will be me who will be singing "Joy to the World"!
PHOTO OF THE DAY