Hobbes and the Unicorns

This past Saturday (08/13) was a pretty big day. We headed up to Dublin to see Fred and help him out a little bit since he had surgery on his wrist. It wasn’t much: tidying up his workshop, fixing part of the guttering that came down, giving Karma the eggs that John didn’t eat. We gave Miss Karma lots of loving (she’s getting tubby, it’s really cute, but she’s also 5 or 6 so of course she’s going to be a little bit more filled out than she was when she was younger) and of course got “Karma’d” (Jamie got a ton of mud all over his shirt and I, of course, got mud in the eye). It’s what we call it when Karma gets  super excited and wiggly. We came home with a military-issue ammo box and some string-lights along with our usual stack of magazines to look through (Time, Outdoor, Men’s Journal).

We had to head home earlier than we’d prefer because Tech had a game planned and traffic is a nightmare for a good two hours before the game even starts, so we like to avoid it as much as possible. Got home, brought stuff inside, and set about working on prep-work for Robert’s belated-birthday dinner. Our big exciting plan was to take the Unicorns* (Goose and Fiddler) and Hobbes out for a walk to help with Hobbes’ leash manners.

We let the dogs run around for a bit, wore out Hobbes a little, and then got him in his walking gear. Hobbes wears an Easy-Walk harness, it’s one of the ones where the leash clips to the front and, if you want added protection in case the dog manages to wiggle out of the harness, you can clip the leash to the dog’s collar as well. Since we weren’t sure how Hobbes was going to behave, we clipped the leash to both the harness and his collar. He became very excited at the notion that he was Going Out and even sat patiently for a brightly coloured bandana to be put on him. And we all know: Everyone loves a Pit Bull in a bandana (or dressed up in general).

Jamie and I beat Robert to the area of the Greenway that we agreed to meet up at and were very happy to find that it was exactly like Robert had mentioned: practically deserted. There was only one other car in the parking lot, as opposed to the parking area that we usually go to which is normally a nightmare and a 50/50 shot of actually getting a parking space.

Jamie walked Hobbes around a little bit while we waited on Robert and his dogs. I attempted to get some decent shots of Jamie working with Hobbes and Jamie worked on keeping Hobbes’ attention while some cyclists were getting their gear ready. Hobbes is wary of bikes and usually if he is walking and a bike comes near, he freezes until they are a few feet away.

Robert showed up and we talked while we tried to see how close Hobbes could get to Goose and Fiddler before he did his pig-noises and dancing. Jamie was able to get Hobbes about 7-10 feet away from the others and sit without going nuts. This is a huge improvement for him; usually we have to stop approximately 30-40 feet from another dog before he does pig-noises and crazy puppy-dances.

We started our walk, Goose and Fiddler were calm and relaxed, and Hobbes flipped his ears back and walked very nicely. Jamie was able to walk Hobbes about 3 to 5 feet from Goose and Fiddler with the occasional closer couple of steps when cyclists were coming by.

During the course of the walk, one jackass on a bicycle almost ran into Goose and successfully scared the hell out of all the dogs for a few moments. We don’t have eyes on the back of our heads, we can’t see that you’re barrelling up at high-speed (for a bike) behind us. I hope you eat asphalt you jackass. It doesn’t take that much effort to say “On your left.” like the other cyclists did. Then again, this is probably a guy of the same stock who fully believes that the Greenway is for cyclists only and who glare at anyone else who does not get off the Greenway when there are cyclists side-by-side and take up the whole damn thing.

Hobbes started slowing down and we realized that it might be a good idea to turn around and head back to the cars. We told him he was being a good boy and he sped up to a happy, slightly prancy trot. All three dogs managed to get pretty close to one another with no reaction (yay! this is an amazing and huge improvement for Hobbes). We managed an approximate 2 1/2 mile walk.

We loaded the dogs into the car and headed home. Robert took the Unicorns home and headed to our place for a nice dinner (homemade ravioli, baked stuffed portabello mushroom caps, salad, and Jamie made a really neat brownie with peanut-butter filling). We had a nice end to a long day. Jamie and I are very happy that Hobbes did so wonderfully and we’re very proud of him. We’ve all agreed that we should do walking with the dogs again, though next time we might work with Izzy instead of Hobbes.

* Unicorn: When we met Goose for the first time, we were at the Dog Park and Robert had mentioned something about how everyone who sees her always act so shocked, as though they’ve never seen a dog before. In his neighborhood, a vast majority of the people are wary of her because they don’t know what she is. Being the smart person I am, I immediately piped up with “She’s like a unicorn!” This cracked everyone up, so now there is a small running-gag of them being known as “unicorns” instead of their breed name: Greyhound (they are retired racers). Also, Goose is the darker dog on the outside of the last photo and Fiddler is the lighter-coloured dog closest to Robert (red shirt)

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