Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Big W

I have a little Shih Tzu named Button. He's is a total weeny. He is acrophobic. He dislikes campfires, doesn't like boat rides, and, while he is waggy-tailed and curious to sniff out new dogs that he may encounter, he will tolerate only just so much butt-sniffing. Especially if the other dog's butt is too high for him to sniff appropriately. He's afraid of them!
We chose this breed because small is easier to pick up after, and small is easier to travel with. Check. That part works out fine. Unless our travel is such that a pet would not be allowed. And that is what prompts this blog. 

We're planning a cruise vacation next year. Button can't go on a cruise. So what to do? I don't like the idea of a kennel or doggy-day-care. Not because there aren't wonderful facilities out there, but really, for the same reason I didn't like leaving my babies in day-care. I want them to be in a loving, family home environment where they are looked after with the same affection as I give them.

The solution? A family babysitter! Or, dog-sitter in this case. Our daughter, Leah, and her husband Nick have a lovely home with a big backyard, and a dog of their own. Baby. Now, Baby is the sweetest Boxer you ever met. But she is an Alpha female. And, considering her height, I know exactly how Button is going to respond to her when they do their initial greeting ritual.
But I have watched The Dog Whisperer on TV. So I think we can make this work out well. I have hatched a plan. Nick and Leah have given us the most wonderful grandson imaginable! He is a robust little almost-nine-month-old-giggle-machine who enjoys outings in the stroller. So I have proposed that the three of us (Leah, Jamison and I) begin taking the dogs on The Big W several times a week.

The Big W is something my mom introduced me to on a visit years ago. She had a Springer Spaniel and a Golden Retriever at the time, and I had a black Lab named Minnie. The dogs were mortal enemies when they first met. But then Mom suggested we go on a "W".  "What's a W?" I asked. She simply began to walk, and called her dogs. They got all excited and followed after her. The lightbulb turned on. So I took Minnie by her leash and followed her as well.  We walked all around her 27 acre property. Maybe for an hour. And by the time we were back at the house, the dogs were best friends! Imagine that. Dogs who roam together consider themselves a pack.

So, yesterday was our first Big W with Button and Baby, who had, up till then, never met. Button and I met them on Baby's territory.  Button strained to get close to Baby, sniffing, wagging, whimpering. Baby approached, and went around to Button's fragrance station, and checked him out. But when Button had had enough, he turned and gave her a snarly growl. So Baby simply straddled him. If he had been a taller dog, well, you know what that would have looked like. And the snapping and growling commenced.

We separated them, and began our W.  We walked for maybe 45 minutes along a greenbelt path.  While I can't say that Button and Baby are now best of friends, it did result in what I would call a "truce" attitude.  Baby will let Button come into her house without getting upset, and Button will wander Baby's nice backyard without picking a fight. And they both adore Jamison!

It was a good start.

1 comment: