Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Walking with Liam

Liam has been surprisingly shy lately.  I don't know what causes this rather sudden change in behavior toward people who come to visit, but I do know it has lasted for about the last two weeks.

The pup who always lit up when people would come and wiggled his way toward their outstretched hands often hides under the table or backs off when someone other than Bill or me wants to greet him.

I am baffled.

I must also report on his latest "priceless" story, regarding the $30 Easy Walk collar I purchased at Petco after seeing ads on TV.

Liam spends much of his time outdoors on leash.  Most of that time, he's pretty easy to control, but dogs or coffee cans or a good, strong deer scent can bring on an instant gear shift to what I've been told is the "Border Collie Crawl."

The Border Collie Crawl requires great force and an intense sideways lean to muster up enough grit to direct oneself as well as one's owner totally off the originally charted course.  

Extreme tension (on the leash) mounts as does tension on the arm muscles and joints of the human in charge.

With Liam, any walk toward the barn and the fenced-off field of doggie delight and Folgers coffee cans will involve several cycles of Border Collie Crawl followed by several "redirects." 

I'm sure my left-arm muscles have doubled in size since Liam moved here.  Fortunately, so far, I have not suffered any shoulder dislocations from abrupt turns followed by Border Collie crawl.

But still, enough becomes enough after a while.  And, when one sees the "Easy Walk" advertised on TV and learns that this is not an infomercial where we have to send in our $19.95 where we can get two for one, ears perk up, knowing they're available at the local Petco. 

I go into action. What's another expenditure with Liam, anywho?

So, last week I went to Petco, purchased one collar for $29.95, came home, slipped it on Liam, headed toward the barn and, lo and behold, it worked!  No dragging, no Border Collie crawl, no abrupt about faces.

Heaven!  Maybe I can enjoy walking with Liam after all!  So, I left the collar on Liam and took him out a few more times that day.

Next morning, while I was writing my blog post, Liam came up as usual, said hello and then climbed on the bed to rest while I wrote.  

When I was finished, we both got up to head downstairs.  That's when I noticed he was not wearing his Easy Walk. 

Hmmm, Bill must have taken it off.

Hmmm, Bill did not, I discovered while walking through the living room.  

Liam did AFTER he chewed the main strap, the one that holds the leash, in half. 

At that moment, in between the not for public consumption comments, I actually thought about how nice it would have been if I had ordered the collar through an infomercial offering the second one free.

Thirty dollars down the tubes in less than 24 hours, but that collar during that 24 hours had been worth every cent I paid. 

Bill saw my frustration and decided to ease the financial pain.  

"I'll buy you another," he said.  So, he did.  Lesson learned.  Liam only wears the collar when he's on leash. 

And, now back to the shyness.  I decided yesterday that it was time to do some more socializing with Liam.  So, he and I and no other dogs went to town, first stopping off at the credit union where the staff told me to bring my puppy in after learning I was going to go check on him in the car.

"I don't want him to eat up the car," I said.

"Bring him in," they repeated. 

Well, Liam was back to his wiggly, loving self, except for when a gentleman stepped out of his office.  Liam's shyness, however, was short-lived and he decided the manager was okay. 

So, we went on to town where we walked down First Avenue and into the Cedar Street Bridge which allows dogs.  As we approached people, I held Liam a bit tighter and, happily, was able to talk him out of being too exhuberant.

I was so proud of his behavior and feeling really good about this experiment when we were walking on the second level of the bridge.  

"Yap! Yap! Yap!" we heard and then saw the little pooch sitting next to its owners at a table.  

One black mark for Liam.  He barked back.  Liam's bark is rather loud in comparison to "Yap! Yap!" 

So, we immediately turned around and headed the other way, going out the east door and on to the walk way along Sand Creek.  All went well, even when we met another little dog along the sidewalk.  I kept talking to Liam as we passed by, and this time, no barking and no lunging. 

After our downtown visit, we moved on to the Popsicle Stick Bridge, a place filled with many childhood memories for me.  One of the most vivid involves a night when we children were in the back of the truck which our dad was driving.

With us was our dog Skippy.  He chased cars and barked at other dogs, all the time.  Well, that night we passed another dog.  Skippy got to barking so hard that he fell out of the pickup.  

He survived to chase another car or two. 

I was glad that we didn't see any other dogs while Liam and I strolled down the hill to the bridge where Mike, Kevin and I spent almost every summer day fishing and rolling our own cigarettes. 

The place is built up considerably since those days, and that teepee was never there during our youth.  It's for sale, by the way. 

Anyway, it was a nice visit to yesteryear, and I was very proud of my newest pup, whose shyness seems to be limited to the Lovestead.  

My buddy and I definitely enjoyed an EASY walk. I have a feeling we'll enjoy a lot more.  

Happy Tuesday.  Easy Walk also allows the owner to take pictures while walking the dog. 

This is Murray's field off Selle Road. I drive by every day and want to take a photo.  Yesterday, there were no cars behind me, so I was able to stop and snap this image. 

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