For 11 years I have been apologizing for the rude behavior of my German Shepherd, Eika. She is a sweetheart with people, but other dogs? Not so much.
To make matters worse, she has been a bad influence on her younger brother, the nine year old squirrel-sized mini-dachshund named Otto. Otto doesn't know he's the size of a squirrel; he thinks he is big, and when other dogs approach he is annoying too.
That is the back story for our walk yesterday afternoon at Thompson Fields, the sprawling conservation land with woodland trails and wide open meadow that spans Orleans Rd and Chatham Rd in Harwich.
Typically we find a trail to ourselves far from other dogs to avoid an intense conflict resolution session reluctantly lead by me.
Yesterday however, we hit canine rush hour. There wasn't a path we could find where lots of people weren't walking dogs. We were trapped in maze of temptation for bad behavior.
And then we met the most wonderful dog owner ever. I learned her name is Toney and her long haired fluff ball is Dune. I gave my stock apology for my barking dogs and she encouraged me to let them both off the leash; so confident was she that the dogs would work it out.
I happen to believe that too, but most dog owners don't have the stomach to watch my dogs put that theory to the test. At her insistence, I let little Otto loose so he could embarrass me and boss around that sweet doggie four times Otto's size.
At first Otto lived up to his billing, playing big and rude to the challenger, but the other dog held his own, occasionally snapping back. Otto had such a mouthful of Dune's shedding long white hair that Otto looked like a Santa poser.
After some initial posturing, Dune took off with Otto in blistering hot pursuit. Around they went, mostly in figure-eights, sticking close to us, but they were flying and they appeared to be having fun. Toney seemed particularly pleased that thanks to her clever plan, her Dune was getting a real workout.
Toney was right. They did work it out and now they were getting some serious cardio.
When Otto finally gave up, he was panting so hard and moving so slow that I thought I would need to take him to the glue factory.
Mission accomplished. Otto and his new friend got quite a workout. Eika stayed still and watched the good play and Toney got my award for the most chill and self-assured pet owner I've seen in a long time.
Thank you for a fun interlude at Thompson Fields, Toney. It was easy and fun. I hope we see you and Dune again soon.