Yesterday, in an attempt to improve my health, I ventured into unfamiliar territory with my dogs. It’s a route that I used to walk all the time, but haven’t traveled much in the past year or so. The homes in our neighborhood are on 1 to 5 acre lots and its got lots of gentle hills…an ideal place to walk.
So, I leashed up Matilda the Basset and Barret the Dog and we started walking. We walked about a mile down the road, hit the dead end, and turned around. The weather was beautiful and we were just slightly winded…having a good time. All is well.
On the way back, however…
One of my neighbors, who I had not previously met, had let out (into her fenced yard) three of the biggest, bad-ass looking dogs that I have ever seen. They may well be the sweetest dogs on the earth. I try not to judge by appearances.
Matilda is one of those dogs that thinks every human and every dog on the planet is here to be her best friend (and rub her belly). She is also very vocal. Barking away, she tries to run up to the fence and say hello.
I try to discourage her.
She does not want to be restrained.
She really wants to meet these dogs.
I am becoming entangled in her leash.
She pulls out of her collar.
I am completely hobbled by her leash.
She is at the fence.
The three dogs go wild.
Matilda is baying.
The three dogs are gnashing their teeth and lunging at the fence.
Spittle is flying.
They are all running up and down the fence. Matilda is apparently unaware that they want to completely rip her to shreds.
Barret decides to come to her rescue. Barret is a very, very scary dog when he gets riled up.
The neighbor comes outside screaming.
I am still tangled in the leash and my shoe has become untied.
The dogs are raising holy hell.
I can’t hear what the neighbor is screaming so I think she is yelling at me.
I’m apologizing…we are in her yard and my dog is loose.
Turns out she is yelling at her dogs and not me.
I am trying to get untangled and retrieve Matilda and keep Barret from going over the fence and introduce myself.
At this point, Matilda grows tired of “playing” with the three dogs and catches the scent of a rabbit.
When a Basset catches the scent of a rabbit, what little brain function they have shuts down and pure instinct takes over. They will run for miles. This property backs up to over 300 acres of undeveloped cedar and rock.
As I finish the pleasantries with my neighbor (which we are yelling at each other over the chaos of the four dogs trying to kill each other) I manage to free myself from the leash and hand Barret’s leash to my new friend.
“I’ll be right back!”
I take off after Matilda. I can hear her baying as she runs. The path she has chosen is uncleared , cedar covered, rocky terrain. After climbing and sliding through a 6 foot deep rock ravine about a half mile away, I finally catch up with her. She has come to a wildlife fence and stopped to rest. She is very pleased with herself and happy as can be.
I pin her in place with one knee and finally tie my shoe.
Then, I hoist up her long, wriggly, loose-skinned 50 pound body and balance her on my shoulder. I’m not trusting the collar again. We hike back through the ravine and cedar. Matilda is drooling down my back.
I retrieve Barret from the neighbor and once again apologize for the whole fiasco.
Then begins the long trek home. We still have almost a mile to go.
Today, I think we’ll take another route for our walk.