Last week, as I was about to open the security gate and leave my property to walk my dogs, two homeless guys passed right in front of the gate. I hung back a bit and waited, as I recognised the one guy, and last time I’d seen him he’d had a medium sized dog with him. Sure enough, a few seconds later the happy little dog, with its long shaggy black coat, went trotting past. This floor Mop is just walking in the zone, and the most balanced dog I have ever seen; and that includes all the hundreds of dogs I’ve come across at dog class over the last eight and a half years.
Why did I hang back? Little Monkey is unbalanced and anxious and needs lots of time and space to deal with any dog she suddenly comes across; especially if they are passing “her” property! (Her previous amazing encounter with this black floor Mop can be found in my post Curiouser )
So, now we could go. When I am tired, and it is about to pour down, I take my dogs on a short walk round the block. It’s less than a kilometre, but at least they have been out. And actually, with Mr SL, it takes us a good 25 minutes anyway, at his top speed of zimmer frame!
We were nearly half way round the block, having done one short side and most of a long side, when I noticed LM had spotted something. Down at the corner of the street was the black floor Mop. It was sniffing the grass, then started running our way, right up the middle of the road.
LM goes into superfreak state. Over the years I have learnt how to deal with most situations. Now, I could see that this homeless dog was only intent on finding its owners, and not bothered about us at all. Mr SL was not reacting either. Just LM. She was super alert, ears up, eyes locked on the Mop. Then she leapt into the air. This is when I grab her by the scruff of the neck on either side of her throat. Now she is standing on her hind legs (and she is quite tall since she has a long body) and I have her by the neck. But she is now calm – or as calm as she is ever going to get.
(It is hilarious when I have to do this in a narrow alley way, when other people and dogs insist on passing by us in that confined space. I’m like, “Hi, how are you?” They are like, “You’re weird!” And LM is like, “Look at me! I’m standing on my hind legs!” and “DOG!DOG!DOG!”)
Well, there is a car on the other side of the road, but it has stopped, and Mop runs up the road a little, then turns and runs back down and disappears round the corner. The driver in the car asks me if it is my dog. I explain, nope, but LM is anxious and scared and I have to keep my distance from Mop. I also tell her that I saw Mop with its owners a few minutes ago going past my house, so it does have an owner. I just tell you this exchange, because I live in a very nice area, where people will rescue dogs found wandering round the street and take them to their vets, or animal rescue organisation, if they have no collar and disc with phone number on them. (Also, just a day or two previously, another woman stopped her car by me and my dogs to tell me there was a border collie running loose in the road around the corner. I thanked her profusely and turned and went the other way!)
So, OK, we can proceed on our walk. The coast is clear. A few minutes later we are round the corner and about to do the short side of the rectangle, when again I spot Mop at the next corner, sniffing the grass and trying to pick up its owner’s scent. Then it runs off in the direction I was going to go – up the long side of the rectangle.
If I only had Mr SL I could walk where I pleased. Although he is a dominant male, he listens to me, and he will leave another dog alone, if it leaves him alone – which is all I ask for. Well I stood there for a moment, thinking. Then I decided to go back the way we had just come, and so avoid Mop. These are things I have to do with LM, and that is just the way it is.
So we turn round and retrace our steps, but I cross the road so the dogs at least have something different to sniff. Mr SL really doesn’t want to turn round, and drags for a while. He thinks we are going the wrong way, and he just wants to get home and have his supper!! We are a third of the way back up the road, when poor Mop appears again! It is running right up the middle of the street again, but this time keeps on going. I manage to control LM without the whole leap in the air thing, by grabbing her ear, but she is OK. Mop is past her in no time, and clearly not interested in her at all.
I watch as Mop runs away up the road, and find myself holding my breath that he will turn down my road, and in the direction of his owners. Yes, he does! Yay. I am sure he will find them now – and if not, like I said above, someone will take him in.
And I am amazed at his tracking skills! It was a good 15 minutes by now since he and his owners had gone that way, yet he had picked up the scent. Dogs truly are amazing. Even LM and Mr SL!
post script: If you think that “The Monkey, the Spaghetti and the Mop” does not have quite the snap to it that “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” has; mine is in the real world!