Was Steve leaving me? I didn’t understand this. Not sure I liked it.
One morning, after the yard and my breakfast, Steve loaded me into the car. Sitting in the backseat, I watched the world go by. So much to see!
When we finally got out of the car, we walked into the biggest room I had ever seen. And scents! Oh my! I smelled dogs, cats, birds, rodents, food, biscuits (Yum!), and more. More scents than the park and the backyard combined. So much to take in that I was panting as if I had just run after a pack of squirrels.
Steve talked with a man who walked us to a small area that had a little fence around it in the front corner of the big room. His name was Bill. Another dog sat unceremoniously in the fenced area. He was kind of squat, fat, and jowly. Panted a lot with slobber coming from the side of his month. Not a whole lot of oomph, if you know what I mean. I forget his name. And, the not-impressive dog had a young woman with him. She paid more attention to a thin thing she held in her hand and kept swiping her finger across.
For the next eight weeks, Steve and I would enter this room and play with Bill. Though, I must admit, after a while it began to feel like work. Lots of commands to do this and that. I noticed that Steve began to carry biscuits in his pocket every time we left the house. And I started hearing the same words again and again.
Sit. Stay. Down. Come. Wait. Leave it! Watch me. OK!
Didn’t make much sense to me. Steve would say one of those words and I would just look at him, my head tilted to one side.
What in the world is he talking about?
“Sit, Roxie, sit.”
“Sit, Roxie, sit.” And then he would gently place his hand on my butt and guide it to the floor. I got a biscuit and smiles from Steve.
Ok. I like this.
I quickly figured out if I did what Steve said, I’d get “biscuited.”
One day we walked around the big room. I was on a leash, Steve by my side. We passed other dogs who came into the big room with their people. We passed bags piled as high as our backyard fence, and each one smelled of delightful food and treats. Down every isle more and more bags of aroma. I pulled at the leash, so I get closer and sniff the bags. I wanted to linger.
“Leave it, Roxie, leave it.” And, we kept walking until we returned to Bill at the fence area. He was smiling.
“Good dog, Roxie! Sit.”
I wagged my tail. Bill scratched my ears. And, I got a biscuit. I liked this game.
One day, Bill hooked me to the longest leash I’d ever seen. It looked like it could have stretched across our backyard at home.
Steve took the rope and stood beside me. I sat. Steve patted my head. I looked up at him.
What, no biscuit?
I came to learn that I didn’t know when I would get a treat. Hmm.
“Stay, Roxie, stay.” He walked away from me. I got up to follow. Steve stopped.
“Sit, Roxie, sit. Good girl. Stay.”
I assumed the position. He walked to the end of the rope, turned and looked at me.
“Come, Roxie, come!” he said waving his arms and being all excited.
I took off and ran to his arms.
“Good girl, Roxie. Sit.”
The last day we played with Bill in the big room, I had to do the hardest thing yet.
We walked out of the little fenced area into one of the paths by the wall. I remember my nose up in the air taking in all the smells. Bill was waiting for Steve and me.
“Sit, Roxie, sit. Stay!” Steve said as he walked in front of me like he had done before.
Hey, you forgot to hold the leash!
He walked and walked and walked. Never looked back. When he got to the end of the building, he did something I could not believe. It scared me a little. He turned to the right and was gone!
Where did he go? I don’t see Steve anymore. Bill stood off to the side of me and watched but he did nothing to find Steve.
I just sat there, like Steve told me to do. But I tell you I did not like it. I felt like the night in the box when that person left me on the side of the road. Was Steve leaving me? I didn’t understand this. Not sure I liked it.
So, there I sat, intently staring to where I saw him turn out of my sight. No Steve. Then I heard him, but he was coming at me from the other direction. He had walked around the entire big room and was walking back to me.
He didn’t leave me!
I started to move until I heard, “Stay, Roxie, stay.” Steve got closer. He stopped a few paces in front of me and looked at me.
“Come, Roxie, come!”
I ran to him and nose nuzzled him, excited as I could be. I got a biscuit and more importantly, I still had Steve.
“Good, girl, Roxie. You stayed! Good girl.”
Little did I know; I would soon be staying by myself for a lot longer than it would take Steve to walk around that big room.
Beyond the Biscuit
Think of the last time you were challenged to learn a new set of skills. What were they and why did you need them? Who helped you develop the new skills and how did they help you grow as a person?
Next time I share when I could sense that Hoppi was sad, and so was Steve. And then, I got sick.
Thank you for reading my blog. Would you mind sharing it with a friend? I’d really appreciate that! WOOF! Love, Roxie.