Thursday, 20 December 2007

A Lurcher Tale. And a wreath.

There are days when any silly little thing can set my blood pressure going off the scale. There are days when I am perfectly happy and content and one silly person can send me from chilled to boiling in the space of 30 seconds. Today was one of those days.

I was walking home from work with Bridie, looking forward to an afternoon of pottering around at home. It was a lovely walk, the sun was shining and all the trees and grass where still covered in this morning's hoar frost.

In the distance I could see a chap walking a young Leonberger off lead. He was talking on his mobile phone and not paying a huge amount of attention to his dog. The dog came bounding over to us and started to torment Bridie, who is by now bouncing like a gazelle on the end of her lead and getting us all tied up in knots. I just stood still and calmly yelled at him to please get his dog under control as my dog was on a lead for a reason. He wanders over, still talking on his phone, and said "Oh he's just come to say hello".

That was it. The red haze descended and he got told the story that everyone else gets told when they say that to me. Whether they want to hear it or not.

Lurcher No. 2 has always been a flight dog. If he found himself in any situation where he was not comfortable, he ran. Not far, just far enough to get himself away from his perceived danger. Then two years ago he caught his foot on an exposed tree root and fractured and dislocated a toe. He was on lead walk for six weeks and do you think the local dog walkers kept their off-lead dogs away? Did they like hell.

When a flight dog can't run away he very quickly learns that the best form of defence is attack. The first year after his accident he was a nightmare. If any dog he didn't like the look of came near him he just launched himself at them, bearing his teeth and snarling. He never aimed to bite, just to warn but, nevertheless, it was still scary. So he had to be muzzled and we did a lot of work to get him back to how he was before. We never did get all the way and although he doesn't have to be muzzled all the time now, he still does have odd moments of regression.

So "just coming to say hello" can have a more profound effect than some stupid dog-owners realise and it's high time some of them realised that, around here, if a dog is on a lead, it's on a led for a damn good reason. Fortunately Bridie is a level-headed dog that didn't really give two hoots, she jsut wanted to play, but that's not the point is it?

There, I've had my say. So moving swiftly on. "Wreath" did someone say? Here you go then. It's not the most ornate in the world is it? And it's still missing a pine cone but I figured that that's how fate decreed my wreath should look. And who am I to mess with what fate decrees?

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