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n0mad

Ceile vs the Elephant Man

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The building rules state that dog owners are to use the “green space” in front of their own apartments for the purpose of relieving their dogs.  If there is no green space available they are to use the area behind the building and beyond the parking lot.  With all the snow we have been experiencing, there wasn’t even any white space in front of our unit that could be gotten to without snow shoes and a Sherpa.  Beyond the parking lot was equally unavailable, however, there was a small cleared area near visitor parking that worked sufficiently for the purpose and so Ceile and I have been making our various daily pilgrimages out the back door. 

“Can we get out that way?” I asked, a man who was moving someone in, “or is it blocked?”

“You can get out,” he said, “we’re pretty much done.” 

The fellow’s idea of being able to get out vastly differed from mine.  There was no way down the steps which remained completely blocked and the only way to the parking lot was over a snowbank much deeper than my boots.

Needing to pee, Ceile leapt from the step and squatted.  Not two seconds later a second fellow who didn’t know we were there stepped out the back door.  Surprised by this intruder on her privacy, Ceile barked.  Equally surprised the fellow shouted giving Ceile the idea he was not to be trusted.  I decided we would go back through the building rather than over the snowbank.  My pup was not comfortable with the situation and obviously neither was the man she had frightened as he shouted a warning about an “excitable dog” down the hall.  

Everything would have been fine had Ceile not looked back. I turned my head to look with her.  There was the “excitable” man, carrying a large decorative elephant in front of him.  By a most inconvenient illusion, the elephant’s head had seemed to take the place of the man’s and the huge body replaced his torso.  Every hair on Ceile’s little body stood on end as the monstrosity before us lumbered down the hall in our direction.  In her mind there was only one option open to us – attack!  I was thankful that she is a small collie as she bounced off the end of her leash.  I threw out my hand and grabbed firmly to her buckle collar, dragging her backwards through the fire doors.  I fully expected that once the nightmare creature was out of sight I would be able to get Ceile under control with only a few words.  I was wrong.  She was going back to take that thing out and nothing was going to stop her! 

I grabbed her by the cheeks, turned her face toward mine and snarled “THAT’S ENOUGH!”  She stopped but after we got back to our apartment she went to the door and quietly growled toward the hallway every twenty minutes or so all evening.   I know it had to be done and later I laughed at the absurdity of it all but in the moment my heart broke a little.  I had never spoken that sharply to her before.  Ten months old and she was willing to take on an elephant-man-beast to protect us.   I am so blessed to have such an awesome little dog.    

 

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Well the last few days after this incident have been revealing.  I was a little concerned when she wouldn't calm down with a few words but it turns out (besides the scary part of the weird looking man thing) she's just trying out her bossy boots a little earlier than my other bold puppies have.  She had tried a couple of minor things previous but since they were silly things like demanding someone play the drum for her, I just chalked them up to busy puppy.  We have applied a little tighter reins and while she still pushes here and there she is content to let me lead again.

She is the most fun dog I have had in a long time. Keeps me on my toes. :)

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I understand feeling bad for speaking harshly to your dog. I hate myself whenever I have to do it, which is pretty rare. But in the situation you describe, a harsh word is far better than the deep hassle of having a neighbor accuse your dog of being vicious,  because most people won't understand the elephant man aspect to it. You did the right thing, to protect your dog. And, she was doing her best to protect you. So all is well.

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