Thursday, August 30, 2007

The most important word to teach a dog

"Come." I've done research, and that's definitely it.
While staying with my cousin Solveig and her husband, Jeff, I decided I could take all three dogs (Wes' 2 + their 1, "Silka") for a jog. Jeff thought it sounded a bit ambitious, but I forged ahead. All went well at first, all three dogs heeling at my left-hand side, matching my slow trot. We drank in the sights and sounds of the neighborhood for about a half-mile, at which point we were ambushed. Two tiny dogs yapping, followed by a big dog barking, followed by two humans yelling, came running out of a flanking driveway. Chaos ensued, and I emerged moments later with three leashes wrapped around my legs, two dogs still at my left side, and one dog on the other side of the street. Silka had used the confusion to her advantage and slipped backwards out of her collar. She pranced and mocked from the otherside of the street as I demanded, "Silka! Come!"
In response to my repeated demands, Silka repeated her mocking dance. I proceeded walking down the road, Silka skipping along about 10 yards ahead of me. Fine, I thought, be that way. I can just herd you all the way home.
After another half mile of this ridiculous parade, the largest bull moose I have ever seen stepped into the road about 50 yards ahead. None of the dogs even noticed, but I thought it just might work to scare Silka into running back to me. We would continue down the road until she took note of this gargantuan.
Only to reiterate my estimation of the moose's size, a super-sized soccer mom vehicle came up behind us and proceeded down the road to within a few yard of the moose. It towered over the Expedition: Ford's Soccer-game-on-a-mountain Edition. Again Silka grabbed a window of opportunity as the moose stepped out of the road to allow the SUV to pass. She shot between the vehicle and the large mammal and trotted off down the street. The Expedition drove down the road, and the moose walked straight towards myself, Wrigley, and Toby. Knowing the moose should not be trifled with, I edged myself and the dogs to the otherside of the road, avoiding the moose that had closed the gap to 5 yards. Hoping we were safely clear, I ran after Silka, who had disappeared around a corner.
The moose couldn't be bothered with anything but the suburban shrubbery, but Silka had disappeared. I frantically called for a few minutes, then called Jeff.
"I lost your dog." Isn't the greatest thing to have to say. Jeff sent Solveig to come help look. She shoved on her shoes and opened the front door. There on the front stoop, with a clever grin on her face, was a collar-less Silka. Wrigley and Toby and I trudged back, dragging an empty leash, thankful that Silka hadn't been hit by a car. "I killed your dog." would definitely be a more uncomfortable phone call.

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