Sometimes, man is a dog’s best friend.
Ron, my late husband, had been part of Greta’s new family when we brought her home from the Carroll County Humane Society in 2006. http://www.carr.org/humane/ He petted her and occasionally walked her, but after the chemotherapy weakened him, it was no longer possible for him to walk around the subdivision, with or without a dog. A young dog like Greta, who was nine months old at the time, would wear him out in minutes. I suppose Greta may have his scent still stored in her incredible canine olfactory memory, so she would recognize him if they ever met again. But her memory of him as a part of the household is gone.
Greta became accustomed to not having a man around the house.
Then, two years later, came Mike. He began coming to the house on most weekends in Spring, 2009, as our relationship ripened from hiking companions to casual dates. Greta barked the full “All Hands on Deck” bark whenever Mike’s blue Isuzu rolled into the driveway, but once he entered the house, she wasn’t sure how to handle the situation. She retreated, barking steadily, as he advanced into the room. She continued barking, but waved her tail when his deep baritone boomed out, “Hi, Greta!” Eventually, she stopped barking and sniffed him cautiously. When he passed the sniff test, he could come in. She would keep an eye on him, just in case, but she no longer had to give the intruder full attention. She could take time to check on the squirrels raiding the bird feeders.
Greta and Mike’s relationship changed after Greta made a discovery: Mike would play with her. He would throw tennis balls across the yard for her and throw them again when she brought them back. He would get down on the floor with her, tell her what a good dog she was and scratch her tummy. He would hide, and Greta would swivel her ears forward to listen for him. She always won the Hide and Seek game. His scent and the sound of his breathing were enough for her to track him down. He would even go along with me on her walks.
The man had potential, Greta concluded.
(c) 2011 by Donna Engle