I forgot to mention a rather interesting detail that happened yesterday when our escapee was on the run and we were trying to catch him. Ugh.
We have a few new neighbors in the area that we haven’t yet met, mostly because of COVID and the fact that people have been staying to themselves more in general the last few years. We usually make it a point to introduce ourselves though, and I do remember the hubs saying he spoke to this family briefly once, but I never actually met them until yesterday.
It wasn’t exactly the way you want to meet your new neighbors!
Tonka had made his way around the block and seemed to be headed back into our general direction when he got sidetracked by this particular neighbor’s doggie who was out in its unfenced front yard, minding its own business. It’s a cocker spaniel, so not a big dog, and its face is a bit gray, so it’s obviously older.
As soon as he saw her (I learned it’s a her), his instinct kicked in. Uh-oh.
Luckily it was not his prey drive which can cause huskies to attack smaller animals including other dogs, but his puppy instinct of wanting to play (he is still pretty young). He completely ignored their chickens and rabbits in the back yard and honed right in on this poor little dog who made it clear she did NOT want to play (and also didn’t want a stranger in her yard!).
I should mention here that this little dog comes into our yard a lot and stirs up the pack in their husky fortress, so… yeah.
So I’m sure he recognized her and as he did his best to coerce her into playing, she became more aggressive and we became a bit more panicked because we could not catch him as he bounced around like a kangaroo on cocaine, despite our trying, and that’s when the kids who live in the house came out and tried to intervene.
They all started yelling and the older boy picked up his dog, flailed around with it, screaming and kicking towards our dog and that triggered Tonka to be even more adamant that he be allowed to play with her. I tried to calmly reassure the kids that our dog was not being mean, he just wanted to play and that they needed to stay calm and put the dog back down or it would make things worse.
He listened and put his dog back down just as his mother came flying out of the back door, screaming at the top of her lungs, and jumped into the fray, which again, only caused the tension to rise and made Tonka react even more (since dogs tune into our energy). She began screaming at my son and I to “get our effing dog!!!” and I calmly explained to her, too, that she needed to calm down and that we were obviously trying to catch him.
Now I do understand her rage and I even understand her reaction, but I’ve learned the hard way that the most important thing to do when dogs are all fired up is to STAY CALM.
It’s not easy, but it’s imperative.
Especially when it’s dogs who have never met and one is in protective mode, like her pup was!
My son was almost able to catch Tonka but he sprinted off and down the street, leaving me to deal with this poor, distraught neighbor and her kids and their trembling cocker spaniel who was yelping and acting as if it had been mauled, which it hadn’t. Tonka wasn’t able to get close enough to her but he did scare her. He scared everyone, including me, but I kept my cool which I am pretty proud of to be honest.
The lady tried to have words with me and I stayed calm and reassured her that I’d stay there while my son kept trying to catch him and I’d make sure this didn’t happen again. She wanted to be angry with me but I was apologetic and told her if anything had happened to her pup, I’d take full responsibility because I love dogs and I’d never, ever forgive myself if one of mine hurt someone else’s.
I also explained to her that we work with kids with our pack and they are very kid friendly so not to worry, and she agreed that he didn’t seem aggressive once she thought about it.
“His tail was up, wasn’t it?” she asked.
Yes, I told her, that means he just wanted to play.
“We probably shouldn’t have yelled and kicked at him,” her son said.
No, I told him, that’s not a good idea because that can trigger even the most friendly of dogs.
We chatted for a few minutes and she told me she’d take her dog in and that she’d watch to see if we got Tonka before letting her back out into the yard and also mentioned there was a baby sleeping inside. There were four kids I could see, all red headed like her, so she has at least five kids (which is normal around here). So a stressed-out momma bear, which I can relate to since I used to be one myself.
I told her I’d stop by to let her know when it was safe, which I later did.
By the time I left her front porch we had formally introduced ourselves and I again told her I was so sorry, and that I’d do my best to not let it happen again. She apologized that her dog roams the neighborhood and even gave me a hug at the door and we parted on amicable terms.
A few hours after we caught Tonka and everything was calmed down, she came to my door and surprised me with a fresh loaf of bread she’d baked and said she wanted to make sure there were no hard feelings, which was super sweet and neighborly of her!
I am always so humbled by how nice our neighbors are and she was no exception.
The bread went perfect with our pot roast dinner last night.
I think I’ll make her some pumpkin bread tomorrow. 🙂