Last weekend my cousin was in town, and we had dinner plans with my parents, but in spite of the fact that it had taken us a long time to get out of the house after all the afternoon naps, I wanted to take my cousin and the kids to the park for a brief walk along the creek in the early evening light with the leaves at peak color, and so I pulled into the parking lot planning to hustle everyone out and down along the path.
By the time I got the kids out of the car, my husband was holding onto a strange dog’s leash, deep in conversation with a woman I’d never seen before. The dog, a burly, broad shouldered, sway-backed lab mix with a brilliant blue black coat and a broad, snubbed forehead and snout, was wagging its tail as my husband coaxed it towards him. I did not immediately go over. I wanted to get our walk in and was hoping my husband would conclude whatever this was and come towards us. But he didn’t.
It turned out that the woman had turned to him in tears as soon as he got out of the car—offered to give him her dog—“DO YOU WANT THIS DOG?”—and told him she’d been trying unsuccessfully to get her dog back in the car after a walk—for an hour and a half!!!
Being the natural good Samaritan that he is, he was giving it a valiant try. He suggested that the woman get in the car and start it, thinking that the revving of the car engine would convince the dog it was time to go. The woman backed her car up slightly and my husband coaxed the dog towards the car and almost got it to jump in when the dog balked, utterly refusing to move forward. Clearly, at that moment, it had decided it would rather lead the nomadic life we were apparently offering it than get in the car with its owner.
The woman got out of her car and when my husband asked, assured us the dog would not bite—she said it had never bitten anyone before—and so my husband tugged harder, but the dog was big enough and low enough to the ground that when it set its shoulders and dug in, it couldn’t be dragged.
Reluctantly, after much badgering by my husband about how here was my chance to show off all my dog training practice for a practical result–more practical to his mind than finally getting Cholula to play tug of war –I left my cousin and kids and my plans for a quick walk along the creek and came over. (My husband claims I was as reluctant to offer up my dog training assistance as the dog was to get in the car.) The woman had some kibble she’d been trying to tempt the dog with, so I took a handful and got the dog to follow me as I backed up towards the car, doing my best to entice it with a prey-like manner as I waved the kibble for added motivation–and indeed, the dog came forward as I backed up as if indeed I was exerting a magnetic pull that might overcome the fear of the car until–just as for my husband—the dog got within a foot of the car and balked. This time, though, my husband lifted the dog up from behind just at that moment and shoved it into the car. Whereupon I reached in and gave it the kibble. It ate happily, as if all the trouble had been for nothing.
The woman was very grateful. I recommended she look up natural dog training on the Internet, and she drove off with her dog. I hope they are working things out. And we went up along the creek after all, a little ways.