All of our dogs worry us at some time or another. They will not eat. They seem depressed. They start to eat the furniture. We call our friends, call our vets, search the internet and worry. Sometimes we get more solutions than we know what to do with and while we are seeking answers, the dogs stop doing whatever they were doing that worried us in the first place. Sometimes, though, problems are emergencies, like the day we were at the dog park.
Dog Park Encounter
As we were leaving the dog park, we walked past a guy, standing beside his pickup in the parking lot. He cradled a Chihuahua in his arms. I smiled at him and thought that his dog looked adorable cuddled in his arms. We walked on, but he called us back. “Excuse me,” he said loudly.
My friend and I walked back to him with our dogs. I was wondering if one of my dogs had played too roughly with his little dog and he was cross about it. If so, I had to hear it and, of course, apologize.
“Can you help me? I’m desperate here and I don’t know what to do,” the man said. This big guy had a quiver in his voice.
“What’s up?” I asked him. “Is your dog sick?” I have to admit I was glad he wasn’t complaining about my dog.
“She’s gonna be,” he replied. “I moved into my new place last night and she won’t use the back yard. I stayed out with her in the yard, but she just sits and shivers. I tried walking her, but she just won’t go. She’s gotta go!” He planted several kisses on his little dog’s head and hugged her.
A dog called Fenway
As I stood there, feeling sorry for the man who was so upset, I remembered my daughter, Nicole, having a similar problem with her dog, Fenway.
Fenway was a black Lab/ Newfoundland/Boxer mix. When I was sitting on the couch, she used to put her big paws on my shoulders and gaze into my face. It was the sweetest thing and I used to hug her back. I know that was the Boxer part in Fen. Boxers do that. They love face-to-face communications.
Fenway had a problem, causing everyone with her to have a problem. She refused to use any turf but her own to relieve herself. When they took Fen for a walk or went to the doggie beach, she sniffed normally, played in the water, watched her best friend, Tikka, go on the grass, but would not use the grass herself until she got home to her own yard.
Of course, she ruined everyone’s trip because we all check that our dogs go, waste bag in hand to clean up. Cleaning up was not needed with Fenway until Nicole had a brain storm and solved the problem, creating another, of course.
Nicole cut a piece of sod from the backyard of their home and took it along with her on a walk with Fenway. When Fen sniffed, Nicole put the piece of sod down. Fenway watered that piece of sod. People out and about were puzzled by the woman yelling “Yay!” and doing a dance while her dog was busy.
It became a habit for all of the family. If Fenway was going, so was a large piece of sod from the backyard.
If it was a long trip, it had to be more than one piece. Needless to say, the backyard turned into strips of mud, causing a problem to solve a problem, but Fenway used her own backyard wherever she went.
All of the above things flashed into my mind as I listened to the guy by the pickup with his little dog. It was getting dark and people and dogs were all heading for their cars. He told us about the things he had tried. Finally he had decided to come to the park to ask dog people if they had any ideas. The dog park was closing. I guess we were among the last dog owners he could ask. Apparently, he had asked others, and they were sympathetic to his dog’s problem, but didn’t have an answer for him.
I asked him if he could go back to the house and yard he had so recently vacated. He said it was not far and he could do that. I told him to go back with a bag, gather grass and mud from his dog’s favorite spot in the yard and scatter it in his new yard. I said that I thought the familiar smells might convince his dog she was home.
The man grinned broadly. He said he was sure he could do exactly what I had suggested, thanked me, and jumped into his pickup. He peeled out of the parking lot.
I didn’t see him again, although I looked for him at the park to ask him if it had worked. I hope so.
I think it is important to tell my readers this story. Some of you may be moving out of state and have a dog. You might consider taking along a small sample of your backyard to scatter on your new backyard. Scent is all important to dogs. This precaution could make your dog accept the new backyard right away, and use it.
Severe health issues can and will occur if for some reason or another, a dog does not relieve itself regularly. The guy in the parking lot of the dog park was so right to be concerned about his dog that he obviously adored.
I believe breed traits are the way to define a dog, but all dogs have their own peculiarities, which make them special and individual. These peculiarities are what we remember with fondness, and a tear or two, when the dog is no longer with us.
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Until next post 🙂