Tuesday, January 5, 2010

A Dog Named Blitz - Chapter Three: "Puppy Troubles" Part 5

For background on this serial, please click here. You can also start at the previous section

The first bad habit that Blitz exhibited on "walkies" was the habit of injuring my wife. While the dog never meant anything malicious, many times when out on a walk together Blitz would do something that would ultimately leave my wife on the ground. Most times it was the dog getting the leash wrapped around Vera's legs, but there were other episodes as well - things like pulling too hard when running down a hill, pulling too hard on ice - when it came to putting my wife on the ground, Blitz was quite creative.

Quite often the two of them would arrive home after talking a walk - one rambunctious and happy to see me, the other scraped and haggard, swearing to never take the dog on another walk.

While I sometimes joined Vera and Blitz on their walks, Vera usually did them as part of her exercise routine, and was often gone for 45 minutes to an hour. I like my exercise to be more active, so these walks were never all that appealing to me. I should also note that my wife is cold-blooded, so the more humid and hot the day, the more she loved it. She often walked when mad dogs and Englishmen were the only ones to stray outside, and my opt out in these conditions was usually assumed.

It wasn't always easy for Blitz, though, and she was at times enlisted for these tropical tromps. Hauling around under a blazing sun in that fur coat was tough on a little yellow lab, and Blitz employed techniques to manage the length of the walk on these hot days. First, she started to lag behind, a place where she never spent any time (unless she was trying to get a good smell on something you happened to be walking past). If that didn't provide my wife with the necessary hint that it was time to turn around, Blitz simply sat down, right there in the middle of the of the sidewalk as if to say, "That's it, mom, I'm not going a step further." This technique always brought about some sympathetic petting and a reverse in course, and the amazingly near-death dog would miraculously rejuvenate and would again be her old self on the way home.

While Blitz was always friendly to everyone she'd meet on her route, she did have a protective steak when she and Vera walked alone. With men that were met on the walk, Blitz always found a way to stay between them and my wife and would operate in a very protective mode. Women were fine. Kids were fine. But if you were a guy, you were only going to get so close. That made me feel very comfortable when they walked alone, although I often had to play M.A.S.H. unit on knees or elbows upon their return due to leash trips.

The second bad habit Blitz had was her insane infatuation with critters. Just about any kind of small animal would make her completely insane, but she saved her most irrational behavior for rabbits and chipmunks. I guess I shouldn't have been too surprised by this trait, as her behavior with the cat pretty much foretold of a dog that wanted to play with her smaller animal brethren.

Ever since we first brought her home, she had this craze. The first I encountered it came during her pre-meal trip outside. As part of our routine, upon rising or arriving home, I first let the dog outside to relieve herself, then she ate, then we went for "walkies" or a poop-sprint, depending on the situation. One beautiful early morning Blitz was in the back yard taking care of some business before breakfast when out of nowhere this fat robin comes out of the sky and lands right beside her. Blitz must have thought that the bird was some kind of retrieve toy, because in one fell swoop the bird was scooped up, settled in her mouth and was being quickly transported back to me via the Yellow Dog Express.

That sprint across the back yard felt like it lasted forever for me, as the whole time I'm standing there in my robe, looking at one very happy little dog and one very much alive and very scared fat robin, and wondering what I'm going to do when the dog finally comes to me. About ten yards away from me the robin must have found the eject button, because all at once he was free and on flying at a dead sprint for safer confines. Given his speed and trajectory, I figure he probably made Mexican airspace sometime that evening.

Despite our run-ins with birds, mice, and deer droppings, Blitz saved her best antics for her encounters with bunnies.

To go to the next chapter, click here

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