Our dog was invited to his first party this summer. My daughter was going to a cookout at a friends’ house, and this friend has a big fenced in yard. If that wasn’t exciting enough, they also have two dogs. OMG. Cooper was definitely in for a treat…if we let him go.
See, we were a little reserved about letting him out of our sight, mostly because our 1 ½ year old black lab has a well documented history of taking off on us to do a little adventurous sight seeing of his own. Example: If you accidentally open the door a sliver too wide, if you (ahem) trip over something and drop the leash writhing in pain on the lawn for all to see, if he pulls just a little too hard just a little too often on his stake and pulls it out of the ground, he’ll run like Forest Gump, looking neither right nor left.
When he gets going, he somewhat resembles the liquid metal cop from Terminator who chases after Sarah Connor. You can see that this could be a problem if you factor in traffic…because he’s definitely not looking both ways before crossing the street. He’s a man on a mission.
Everyone in our family has had to run after him. He got away from me one night. I ran after him shrieking, cheese in one hand and baloney in another. We finally cornered him about five blocks away. I say we but it was actually my much faster son. I learned two lessons that night. The first is that I really needed to concentrate on more cardio at the gym and the second is that I could run after him with a porterhouse steak for bait and he wouldn’t stop.
My daughter let him out one night for an evening potty and he slipped out of the leash. I should mention that she was completely ready for bed after taking a hot bath; meaning, the over the shoulder boulder holder was off for the night, the flimsy sleep shorts, t shirt, and gigantic hedgehog slippers were on. Because she wasn’t going anywhere and no one would see her.
Or so she thought. Cooper does not like to waste any opportunities, so he took off down the street like he was shot from a cannon. Thinking quickly, my daughter saw no option other than to give chase…and she was furious. You do not want to tangle with her when she’s mad. I’ve seen kinder trapped raccoons. So in 20 degree weather, she was forced to run after him, in her jammies, but with a grim look of determination in her eyes. (hearing the story later, I almost felt sorry for Cooper.) At some point, to enable better traction, she stopped and kicked off the large hedgehogs and ran in bare feet.
A marvelous tackle was made on the 40 yard line, which is about 4 blocks from our house.
I was blissfully unaware that anything had occurred until she marched him back into the house. He didn’t seem worse for the wear but she was livid because a) her feet were freezing and b) because she was forced to run down the street in front of the neighbors without a bra to get that stupid dog. Cooper wisely hid in our bedroom for a while before finally coming out to apologize. (Author’s note…he didn’t sound all that sincere.)
But back to the cookout. Suffice to say that we were reticent about letting him go anywhere in the car with anyone at that point, given his bolting history. Daughter was insistent that she be able to take him with her to interact with other dogs. We finally agreed.
The doggie interaction was a big success. Many behinds were sniffed, gleeful chasing was done, and pecking orders were established. Cooper, as the new guy, was on the bottom of that pyramid, of course.
Before they left that day to go to the cookout, I lectured Cooper to be a good boy, share the toys, and not run off, please, no running off. He seemed to understand.
A few minutes later I hear some soft murmuring. Following the sound down the hall, I hear my husband also lecturing Cooper. I gently push the bedroom door open only to hear him telling Cooper, “and you better be a good boy. And play nice. And don’t run away. And for goodness’ sake, if you want them to like you, don’t open your mouth too much because your bottom teeth are all crooked, and they’ll make fun of you if they see it. I’m just saying. I’m trying to save you from some heartache.”
Cooper was invited back to play a couple of times over the summer so he must have made a pretty good impression.
Either that or he didn’t open his mouth much.