It took me about 10 minutes to gain the little dogs trust but I finally did and was able get close enough to read the phone number on the tag around her collar. After a few more minutes she let me pet her and I was able to get a leash attached to her collar. I called the number on the tag and it went something like this:
“Hi, my name is Mike. I have your dog Latte who was loose in front of my house”. I went on to tell the person on the phone my street and she says, “I’m right around the corner. Just let her loose, I’ll call her and she’ll come home”. Me (out -loud): “How about I walk to the corner and make sure she sees you”?. Me (thinking): How about I walk to the corner to make sure you actually come out of your house, and that the dog is safe to get home before I just let her loose? How about I make sure a car doesn’t come screaming down the street just as I let her off the leash? How about you show as much concern for your sweet little dog as I did when I took time to gain her trust, get her on a leash and hold on to her until she found her way home!. Geesh….
I walked to the corner and saw the owner in front of her house who waved at me nonchalantly. I made sure it was safe and I let Latte loose who ran home to her mom.
Kali and I had been on our way to a nearby elementary school’s grass field to do some long leash training. As we exited the garage there was little Latte sniffing around our front yard. Kali starting barking and tugging but to her credit and to mine I was able to get her to focus on me and not so much on Latte. I used it as a training opportunity but after a minute or so it was too much for Kali and I put her back in the house, turned my attention to Latte, and as you already know got her home safely.
I had met Latte’s mom once before in front of the house. She seemed very nice as she did today when she waved at me to let Latte go. Latte appeared to be smart, trained, and obedient. But I couldn’t help judge the mom for being so casual about telling me to let her dog off lease so that the dog could run home at the sound of her voice. We live on a very quiet street with few cars passing by. So after all, what were the chances a car would come speeding around the corner if I had let her go as the mom asked? And what are the chances that car would not have seen the dog in time to stop? One in Ten? One in a hundred? Let’s assume one in a hundred. Pretty good odds the dog makes it home safely, right? Odds the mom was apparently willing to take; or more likely hadn’t considered.
I liked the odds with my approach better: I keep the dog on the leash until I see the mom, I make sure I can let the dog off the leash without putting it in harms way, and we all get home alive. So that’s what I did. Walking back to the house I felt a bit angry at the mom and a little angry at myself for being judgmental. But I felt very good that Latte was home safe.
Meanwhile, as I walk back into the house to get Kali she and Smokey are all worked up having observed dad through the window spending so much time with another dog. Kali had the double whammy of having her walk and training session pre-empted by the little canine intruder. Finally though, Kali and I headed out and had a great training session at the school and then a nice slow walk home.
It’s Sunday morning and like most mornings I dedicate a significant portion of my time tending to Kali’s needs: up early, delicious and healthy breakfast, a little playtime, a walk, and maybe a brushing or teeth cleaning. The other side of that equation is that Kali also dedicates a significant portion of her time to me: lots of love, attentiveness, a little play time, a good student, sleeping at my feet while I work (this will be great during the winter because I don’t like wearing shoes), and just being, well, Kali. That wonderful dog originally named Nala from Taiwan who has brought so much love into our lives.