24 April 2008

It is easy to just pretend Courtney Love is Laura.

In Marfa, you should have your dogs on a leash only if you are visiting the Marfa Prada. It is on a highway. It is some Art. Even though I believe it may not be on a busy highway, if any of your dogs tend to chase trucks, you might as well leash 'em up there. But everywhere else, I believe it's ok to just let 'em run.

This is what I look like most every morning when I walk around the block. Today it involved the Timmy shuffle backwards and forwards, Ruby sort of 3 legging it, Otterpop REALLY disgruntled about going slow, and Gustavo howling and flying at cats and squirrels. Because you know on a day like this, you will see EVERY cat and EVERY squirrel. And, just when you think it can't get a lot worse than that, a lady with a reactive dog walks up to us. Otterpop, who usually is not reactive to other dogs or leashes, starts to react to her already melting down dog. The lady stops. Right in front of us. Wearing a flowery sun hat with a string around her chin to wedge it tightly on her head. And says, "Oh, is one of your dogs like that TOO?"

I have this insane clown posse of a pack either shuffling, 3 legging it, howling and flinging, or growling and pulling. And hers is lunging towards my whole mess.

I sort of look at her, thinking, well, she is a smart lady no doubt. Just move along, smart lady from around the corner with your own dog problems to take care of. Kind of a no brainer. Bad dog lunging=move away smart lady with your ugly ass hat.

But no. She inches closer. I believe to chat about our dogs. I back up. This is just too much of a circus to have some kind of weird leashy dog fight start. Otterpop has a rockin' Leave It and she does that and comes in to her close position. The lady is staring at me, wanting to chat about bad dogs I guess. I just need to keep this rolling party of freaks moving. I have eye contact of love with Otterpop so she stares at me and not at the bad dog that is calling her out and throwing out some Them is Fighting Words.

Likely, Otterpop is bodyguarding Timmy, a new development we got with Timmy's descent into the decrepit. In a sweetly endearing, yet frightening and pack-like way, Otterpop protects Timmy against all evil these days. If I take Timmy somewhere, I take Otterpop. We had a couple of bad Timmy days this week, horrible panic attacks where something unknown scared the pants off of him and he was literally climbing the walls until I could jam tranquilizers down his gullet and corral him in a padded cell until he jonesed his way down. Otterpop stayed by his side the whole time, his calm in the storm, just me and her waiting it out with him when he didn't know us from the furniture he was bashing into.

Hat lady with the dog finally assumes I am a mute freak with my freak show of black dogs and makes her way down the street, away from me, tugging her own lunging bad dog along behind her.


Anonymous said...

I woke up yelling at one of my kids for something he did in a *dream* (he was riding *my* bike down a dangerous hill with an electrical extension cord--no wonder I yelled!). I don't even have a bike. But, that's how badly my day started: waking up yelling.

But, TSD pretending to be Courtney worked the usual TSD magic, and I'm now thinking about Timmy and Otterpop instead of me me me. I want to be Otterpop. I really do. At least I was Timmy in the test. So Otterpop is taking care of me, and Laura, too, writing TSDBlog and getting it posted first thing in the morning because she knows some of us depend on it.

Perhaps, however, it's time to write some more in your series on having a good attitude (I need a little work on that, and it could have an agility theme, perhaps about attitude at trials, but you could throw in a little something about being an English teacher with a little more grace and optimism). You seem to have made great progress in the attitude area, i.e., you showed great restraint towards the lady in the hat! (unless, of course, you left something out of the story, e.g., things you may have muttered under your breath).

Anonymous said...

Hey I use "Leave it" and "Close" for my commands too. It's interesting to see the vocabulary we all pick and choose from in working with our dogs.

I use "Side" for right side.

Anonymous said...

oh I had another thought: I was thinking about why I like your blog, reminds of "Sometimes A Great Notion" in some weird way....but in any case as good dog trainers, we should always remember that we never really know what's in a dog's mind, like Timmy, and that we can make up all sorts of rational sounding stories, and they can be just wrong!

team small dog said...

Hey Mary do you have these songs in your ipod?

Tom Waits-Lucinda
The 5 Stairsteps-Ooh Child
Jimmy Cliff-Sitting in Limbo
Gogol Bordello-I Would Never Wanna Be Young Again
Elvis Costello-Pump it Up
Sex Pistols-Anarchy in the UK
The Shins-New Slang
Vaselines-Jesus Wants me for a Sunbeam

I don't know if those will help with good attitude at the agility trial. But I think they could get you thru a drive to teaching English class and then you can just sing them in your head to have grace and optimism while teaching.

Um, yeah, I was muttering big time under my breath to that bad dog lady and totally thinking in my mind, I hate you lady. So maybe not a good attitude, not a good ambassador of good dog training.

Anonymous said...

But everywhere else, I believe it's ok to just let 'em run.

I hate to rain on your Marfa parade but what about rattlesnakes? I believe they're everywhere in Texas. I would hate to hear about TSD being bitten by a rattler!!