Charley had a really bad, long day on Friday. I had a really hard, long day on Friday. We both had a bad, hard, long day.
We were engaging on what I’ve termed “park- hopping” that afternoon, which is exactly what it sounds. Well, kind of I guess. We hit up (go to) approximately 2-3 parks on 1 day throughout the week in an attempt to wear her out for longer than a few hours afterwards. I suppose there is some hopping involved now that I think about it. I swear she puts the Energizer bunny to shame. Her drive to go- go- go is insatiable, but I try to work it out of her.
With that being said, it has been proven to be more enjoyable if I plan ahead for this re-occurring park hop field trip, mentally and physically, and turn it into a ritual just so we both know (me!) partially what to expect. I usually plan about 3 long outings a week, which has gone down from the 5 we used to do. They last between 2 1/2 – 3 or 4 hours and encompass 6 sometimes 7 miles of walking and playing, and I suppose, hopping. I realized I couldn’t keep up with the 5 and still be expected to live past middle age with my joints not getting stuck into place. The word arthritis has been creeping into my vocabulary lately….
This particular day we hadn’t even gotten really started, maybe 30 minutes in, a warm-up basically, when I thought I heard, by her body reaction, what sounded like thunder in the distance. I dismissed it, until it happened again. Her reaction turned into an obvious flight or flight (no fight), with her ears pinning back, her body shrunk to the ground, tail tucked, and before another rumble came, she had frantically shot forward, with the leash whipping with her along with my arm. At this point I was very thankful for the way I’d wrapped the leash around my wrist, insuring there was no run away Charley. She would’ve been long gone.
But, shoot. I knew this might turn bad because the nightmare of what happened around 4th of July last year flashed through my mind. Random fireworks were popping off here and there before and after that date. I had been walking her in the morning when somebody decided to let some crackers rip at 6 in the morning, scaring her little butt half to death resulting in her jetting off into the wild suburban forest beyond the college campus where we were. Thankfully there was not a major road nearby, and it was so early in the morning that she did not become road kill. I can’t imagine if the traffic situation would have been different, for there was absolutely no registry in her eyes or body or mind when I tried to call her back. She was gone. A good 20 minutes until she emerged magically right by where I’d stopped. I think I still was standing there idiotically, frozen in disbelief. It happened that quick.
But this Friday we were in a neighborhood in the afternoon and there were cars and with roads all around. Once she started taking off and realized she couldn’t get far because of my grip she started lurching backwards in an attempt to get her harness to slide over her head. I had to finally grab her by the hook that is on the back of her harness and pick her up. I’d put her back down, and she would just pull and pull in this crazy feral way. She was so delirious and straining and determined to run away from the noise.
Everything was terrifying her at this point. She was terrifying me. I wanted to kill any loud noise that popped up.
I finally got her to a patch of grass and got her to sit down. She only did that to appease me, for as soon as I stood up she started bolting again. My hands were getting rope burn from holding onto the leash.
Somehow, I can’t remember how long it took me, but I was able to get her to walk all the way to the train station because I knew she didn’t mind the train and actually rides on it with such comfort that actually puts me to ease. It was a straight shot towards home.
I can’t say that underneath my fear and frustration I was cussing and talking some smack to her, but in a tone that she didn’t know what I was saying. I don’t buy that, though. I think she understands a lot of human talk.
By the time we got home, I believe we had been gone 5 hours. We both walked in, plopped down, and didn’t budge for about 30 minutes.
I can’t say enough about loud noises and dogs, but particularly shepherds. Once they get spooked it is basically game over.
Fourth of July is coming. Everybody please watch out for the particular noise sensitive dogs. Especially those urban loving pooches. They already have enough to contend with in the city let alone noisy noises humans can create.