December 1, 2014 — Los Gatos Greek Trail, Los Gatos, California
“Walkies” is more of a British expression than an Americanism, so we caught on late. It’s a perfect word. We learned it from Wallace and Gromit and adopted it immediately. So did Chewy. He adopted it so well that we had to resort to using other expressions when simply planning a day — perambulate, circumnavigate the block, mosey, constitutional, hike — to prevent him from injuring himself by bouncing off the walks when he overheard the word when it wasn’t meant for him.
But when it was time, “walkies” is what we said and what he said was “Let’s GO!”
We made many game attempts to train him to heel — but he saw no personal advantage in that so he usually took lead. A professional dog trainer, professionally training professional dogs would cringe. Good thing Chewy wasn’t a professional.
There were several things that were consistent with him: If he had to relieve himself, he always made his deposit far off the trail where nobody would walk. We never trained him to do that. He just did. He loved to greet people and was always a gentleman. Didn’t jump up. Waited for a pat or a scratch. And he sniffed everything. That was his way of catching up in the daily news. “All the news that fit to sniff.” Because he was, after all, a dog.
And he would always look back to make sure we were with him and say, as in the photo above, “Isn’t this great?!”*
(Aside: Canine psychologists and others with lofty titles pronounce loftily that we mustn’t anthropomorphize dogs and assume that dogs are smiling. “Dogs,” they dogmatize, “do not smile.” Right. They grin.)
The one thing Chewy didn’t count on when he became part of this family was the Muse. On occasion, the Muse could out-walk him to the point of his being dragged-out shot knackerd for the rest of the day. Didn’t happen often but when it did, he could be counted on to sleep the day away, waking up only to jump onto the bed when we retired and then conk right out again.
But there was one time we almost didn’t let him join us.
It had been a long day. A busy day. A stressful day. So when I took him out to do his pre-bedtime business at midnight, I wanted him to hurry and told him so. (This was before we had coyotes; I didn’t have him on a leash.) He wandered dutifully into the designate relief area. Quiet. Rustle. Rustle. Quiet. Rustle. Scramble. Yip! Yelp! Whimper… Chewy came tearing out of the darkness, blasted into the, house, jumped onto the family-room couch, buried his head deep into the cushions and frantically rubbed, screaming his head off. The Muse grabbed him and took him back outside. The aroma was — pungent is too mild a word.
Skunk. Direct hit from about six feet, right in the face.
I immediately thought, tomato juice. We had none.** What to do? Of course, Google skunk remedy dog.
Try it. See what you come up with.
Right: hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, and a dash of dishwashing detergent in specific proportions. Work into the hair, wait five minutes, and rinse. I did it.
You want a bonding experience with your dog? De-skunk him in five minutes. He was in awe. I was his god.
An hour later, scent-free, he was in bed with us.
(To be continued…)
(Canon 7D; Sigma 18-200mm f/3.5-6.3 II DC OS HSM. RAW processing in DxO Photo Pro, Editing in Adobe Photoshop.)
*Spoiler: He was on a leash. I Photoshopped it out.
**The website I found at the time was written by the guy who discovered this formula. A cosmetics chemist if I recall correctly. He said, correctly, that if you use tomato juice you’ll just end up with a dog that smells of skunk and tomato juice. Not a desirable outcome.
He also said that he’d been asked many times how come he didn’t manufacture and sell the stuff. He’d make a bundle. Because if you put it into a closed container it will explode. Not with a fizzle, but with a bang. It’s a product liability thing.