Roxie almost bit Ken.
It happened because:
- Roxie got afraid when…
- Ken made a sudden movement with his hand, because…
- I failed to give Ken instructions on how to interact with Roxie.
Ken and Carl work together in our building. Carl is the building engineer, Ken reports to Carl.
Carl understands dogs.
Roxie and I often run into Carl on our walks. Carl lets Roxie come at her own pace. It was probably the fourth time that Roxie got close enough to smell Carl’s hand. The fifth time, Roxie let Carl scratch under her chin.
So, when Carl and Ken were together, and Carl petted Roxie, Ken wanted to pet her, too. That’s when I created the conditions for things to go wrong.
When Carl tells the story, he says, “Roxie ‘bout took off Ken’s hand!”
But we all got a do-over later that same day.
Roxie and I ran into Carl and Ken later that afternoon. I said, “Let’s say hello,” and started walking toward them. I thought Roxie would head toward Carl, but she went toward Ken.
I said to Ken, “Stay still, let your hand hang down, don’t move it. Let her approach you.” Roxie sniffed Ken’s pant legs and Ken said, “She smells my dog.” After three seconds, I said, “That’s enough. Let’s go.” Roxie and I calmly turned and headed out for our walk.
Roxie is trainable.
So am I.
Nothing like the incident with Ken has happened since. Roxie has made friends with many people in the building and likes when they pet her. But she and I still have much to learn about how to relax around other dogs.
I’m going to a writing conference in October to celebrate five years of teaching at the University of Cincinnati. The conference sent out a request for additional submissions, highlighting some categories that needed entries. I’d already planned to submit to two categories and decided to ignore their request to “write in a new genre.”
But I then woke up with a giant leech on my mind.
This story was a blast to write!
Chewing the Cud of Good
Thankful for the beauty of nature.