Friday, November 27, 2015

"Getting to know you"

After we lost Bliss in late July, Spirit had to come to terms with living without his brother, and being an only dog. One of the ways I figured I could help him, was to take him to the dog park in nearby Cobourg. You can see his back end in the centre of this photo above following other dog owners around a track which surrounds a piece of bush.

It is an off leash park, It is managed by a group of Cobourg dog owners, and without a doubt is a popular place for both dogs and their owners.

The owners have the opportunity to have a bit of social time, discussions around a picnic table for example, or walking as a group, as dogs romp or chase tennis balls, or like Spirit, relish all the new smells to be found every day.

It has been a godsend to help this lonely dog find himself and - this sounds so corny - but GROW. His personality has expanded as he has met new dogs, new people, and I have been enchanted what the various opportunities I have tried to find for him, have given him.

 For instance on Hallowe'en, he sat beside me on the front steps and welcomed all the kids who came to the door... he wanted to lick faces of those who would tolerate it, and relished the hugs that many of the children gave him. I wish I had had the sense to take photographs...

And then there is the lake. We are within a couple of kilometres at most, of Lake Ontario. Spirit has always loved to swim and this past summer was no exception.
 He will chase a stick for hours, if allowed... Wonderful for older dogs with a bit of arthritis and then there are other dogs who go to the beach as well. All seem to get along, and owners throw sticks or balls or toys, and we all love watching the pups having such fun and getting great exercise. 
And finally, it's the neighbours and residents of Grafton, that make Spirit being an "only" so much easier. Grafton is a small village in Ontario close to the shores of Lake Ontario, but also to a main highway - easy access to Toronto or points east or west, And via boat to the US.

The people who have dogs, often walk by our little bungalow and stop by if Spirit is outside. Sometimes they even knock on the front or side door to say hello. Could be the treats I keep in my pocket that make the dogs steer the owners up the drive, but whatever works to help this dog adjust.

And for him, it's almost more seeing the people than it is seeing the dogs. He is quite the "people" dog.

When we had some water damage after a huge storm which made an underground water way of some parts of the basement, Spirit loved staying outside to be near "the guys" - the men who were working hard to fix the problem. 

And I learned something new about him as well, through this experience.

The front porch was removed and a huge hole dug to get at the weeping tiles. One time I opened the front door to speak to one of the workers. Spirit was very upset when I opened the door and grabbed my shirt tail and pulled me back. Later that day when I went outside and walked near the hole he grabbed my sleeve and pulled me away. Interesting protective behaviour. I had no idea he understood there was a potential danger. 

He still won't walk on the front yard - though there is no longer a ditch or protective fencing... Probably it will be spring before he wanders there.

But it has all been a learning experience for both me and this big black lab - for him getting to know new things about people, and me learning new things about a wonderful loving dog.


1 comment:

  1. Wow great blog AGAIN and took me out of my day to day troubles.
    The two videos worked just fine even you say "hey comeon" to Spirit lol
    Keep writing!