Saturday, July 30, 2011

Riverboats and Riesling

Ah, sometimes as dog trainers, our dreams come true, if only for the day.  Which is good enough for anyone, I think.

Today, the Humane Society of the Harrisburg Area was hosting Ride the Pride With Your Dog, where we could ride on the riverboat "Pride of the Susquehanna" with our dogs, and enjoy a picnic on shore.  Happily for the HSHA, there was a nice, large crowd of dogs and their people out on this hot but beautiful day. 

Of course, this is Brutus' cup of tea.  As Mayor of Dogtown he's always eager to get out and meet his constituents, shaking hands and kissing babies.  Paul and I decided that this would be a fun way to begin phasing out his convalescence after surgery about 6 weeks ago. 

But essentially, this event, with no personal space for canine or human, all potentially grumpy from the heat, would be Rowdy's nightmare.  Or at least, not something I would take him to, knowing that while he *would* do it for me, having "rude strangers rub up against him left and right" would not be something he'd enjoy.  Understandable, I think, if you really put yourself in his paws.  Reminding me of the good dog trainer's rule of thumb that "just because you can does not mean you should."  Rowdy stayed home with a lovely food-hiding-toy stuffed with a slice of cheese and a handful of biscuits, which is definitely more his style.

Enter Seelie.  A year and a half ago, I was looking for a dog to add to the family both to ease Rowdy's burden as demo dog (and overall utility wonder dog) as he grows older, and to hopefully be able to just walk into a crowded dog event without me having to be on "high alert" like I need to be with the, um, less than social cattle dog.  OK, so Seelie turned out NOT to be the answer to this request, ending up being - in technical dog trainer terms - "kinda freaky."  Ah well, the best laid plans...... 

But TODAY!  Little wonder-woman girl!  There were dogs everyplace, with weird pushed-in noses, and odd fluffy ones, and dogs littler than any normal dog should be and just tons of dogs that are decidedly NOT border-collie-shaped (i.e. "not normal" in Seelie's eyes.)  And gangplanks, and miniature trains with kids riding on top, and kids grabbing her tail, and horns sounding, and a BOAT for goodness sake!

And she was a CHAMP.  A Dream.  She met every dog and person of every age not only with tolerance, but enthusiasm and impeccable social skill.  I'd like to say this is a result of very hard work over the past year and a half, and maybe it is - but either way, I'll just sit here with my glass of Riesling and bask in the small gift I received today.