When you have a lot of friends with dogs, it’s inevitable that you sometimes run into dogs that are not your own. In particular, with Search and Rescue, you meet a lot of new dogs. People try to plan training a new dog before the previous dog is ready to retire so that they don’t have to leave the team without dogs who can deploy when an emergency strikes. That means that we often come into contact with puppies and like most mere mortals, we are unable to resist giving them attention. Sometimes, that results in some crime scene investigation when we get home.
Last weekend, we went out to meet the newest future member of the team along with Küster, who was also doing some training. I’m not going to lie to you, Oma is ridiculously cute and sassy. After the week I had, it wasn’t any kind of hardship to play with her and spend time cuddling her cute fuzzy little self. I had a great time and I’m glad Mr. Taleteller took me along.
Of course, eventually, you have to go home. At home, my own dogs were waiting, but they were just expecting to see me return after another day at work. When you walk into the house smelling like strange dogs, especially a strange puppy, you’d best be prepared for the ensuing crime scene investigation. You go from being the triumphant returning hero to the lead suspect in a heinous crime.
Each one of the dogs had a different reaction. Küster was there with us and he heard Oma’s loud protests to being in the crate in her new handler’s car. He gave a little sniff when I got back to the car and then, in true fashion, almost gave a shrug before leaning against the crate for me to have the best means of scratching him in his crate. He’d seen her and he didn’t seem to think such a tiny creature was worth his notice.
Morgan’s response was to bark, take a drink of water, and bark some more. It was a little like having a Tasmanian devil in a crate in your living room. It was shaking, rocking and I half expected it to tip right over the way she was carrying on. I smelled like a dog she couldn’t see and things were not okay. If she can’t see the potential threat with her own two eyes, then she is even more unsettled. She let it be known that she did not approve loudly and for the whole neighborhood to hear.
Bunny’s reaction was almost like that of a long suffering mother. There was a sigh and a look on her face of disappointment, then she went off to lay on the couch to express that she didn’t want to be associated with someone contaminated with puppy stink. I could almost hear a voice in my head saying “Don’t come back to me until you’ve had a shower and washed that foul stink off!” Fortunately, she doesn’t hold a grudge for long. Five minutes later, she was won over with a bite of turkey.
Then there’s Flattery. I am pretty sure she was less concerned about me being tainted by puppy stink than she was about Mr. Taleteller. She knows that he trains with other dogs, but they have a don’t ask, don’t tell policy and she pretends that it doesn’t happen. At first, she seemed a bit disappointed, but it didn’t take long at all for her to come up with a practical solution to the problem. As soon as he sat down, she climbed right up in the chair with him and made sure he smelled more like her than the did like that pesky, invisible puppy.
I have to say, I admire Flattery’s problem solving skills. There was no shame, no guilt and no helpless wringing of hands, or paws as it were in this case. She just took action in her calm, quiet way. Flattery felt better a lot faster and I doubt she wasted too much energy on feeling bad for herself. If I can remember to carry that attitude with me through the rest of the week, or the rest of my life, even, I think I’ll be the better for it.