Update on “the attack”

We were pleasantly surprised that Kali woke up feeling much better the morning after being attacked by the two Rottweilers. Although still stiff she was able to put weight on her hind leg that had been so sensitive the hight before.   We kept the vet appointment that afternoon and found out that she had a severely strained ligament.  All in all Kali was fortunate to have come away with only this strain given the 150 pounds of Rottweilers that pounced on her only 24 hours before.

Dr. Brenda sent us home with some muscle relaxers and pain medicine (for Kali not us) and instructions to apply cold therapy along her back muscles and heat therapy to the ligament a few times a day and to perform frequent massages to the ligament.  Talk about doggie day-spa! Kali is a great patient and of course loves the extra attention she has been getting.

After a few days off we’re back on the trail and Kali is doing just fine.  In fact, now that the golf course is closed we’ve gone off trail for some of our daily walks taking advantage of the open fairways to let Kali romp and explore.

I’m mad!

I’m not mad at my neighbor but I’m real mad!  My neighbor is a good person and his dog, while a little aggressive, has mostly been polite when Kali and I meet them on the trail.  I’m mad!  So thanks to all of you who read this unedited therapy session.  As they say, the first session is free and therefore I will rant, complain, lament, and then move on.

It was raining most of the day (yay for California!) so Kali and couldn’t walk this morning.  Well we could have but I negotiated a stay from Kali and promised we would walk later if it dried up.  And so we did.

The neighbor in question lives two doors down on the other side of the street.  As we passed by I noticed him in front of his house with a couple of other people.  I also notice his dog, a Rottweiler, grazing around his front lawn. We’ve encountered the dog on the trail before at the end of my neighbor’s leash but never around the houses when the Rotty was off leash.  The Rotty had seemed calm and constrained when I’d seen her in front of her house in the past so I was not too concerned.

So I’ll cut to the chase.  In a flash the Rotty was on Kali gnashing, growling, and attacking.  Kali tried to protect herself but she was on the end of the leash I was pulling tighter and tighter.  I tried to put myself in between the dogs but the Rotty was relentless and Kali was in protect mode.  Just as I was about to try to put my foot in the Rotty’s nose another dog – an even bigger version of the first one – was on Kali.  Now there were two dogs Kali and I were trying to fend off.

It all happened in a matter of 30 seconds or less.  I tried to pick Kali up in my arms to protect her from two sets of gnashing teeth.  The owners, showed a sincere and urgent effort to quickly get to their dogs and quickly got them under control.  They were apologetic and continued to express apologies as they pulled their dogs back to their house.  I was so freaking mad and could not bring myself to say anything.  I just wanted to get Kali home and check her out.  They got their dogs inside the house and came back to apologize,  Fine…

As Kali and walk back towards our house I see she is limping badly.   I have her lay down in front of our house and I check her out.  I gently pull on her limbs and rub her fur to see if there are wounds.  Her tail is wagging and she doesn’t seem to be in any pain as I tug and pull on limbs and rub her body.  She stands up and now seems to be walking ok.  So we go for a short walk so I can see how she is walking.  It’s ok for a while but then I see more limp.  We head home.

I fill Holly in on what happened and then I’m off to a client appointment.  Holly texts me a short while later and tells me Kali si limping and in some pain.  She’ll see the vet tomorrow.  I don’t think there is a puncture.  The attacking dogs didn’t seem to get any teeth into Kali but I’m not sure.  I think she may have twisted her leg in the melee. There is a very sensitive area and when I touch it she reacts in obvious discomfort.

I’m pissed off.  Not at my neighbor (things happen), not at the dogs (although I was moments away from risking my own safety to tackle those dogs and giving them a beat down), but I’m just mad.

So thanks of the therapy session and guiltless grammatically error-ridden and ranting post.  We’ll know tomorrow the extent of Kali’s injuries.  For now she is sleeping soundly at my feet as any other evening after dinner.

Blazing New Trails

The neighborhood was all a twitter as the engines rolled in with sirens and hoses.  One after another the engines kept coming and more and more firemen hit the trail.

You know you live in a quiet neighborhood when the biggest event in recent history is five or six fire vehicles pulling onto your street to douse a small fire.  But, it could have been a much larger fire – lord knows the elements are prime for a huge blaze – but our guys took care of business quickly and efficiently.

The trail head to Kali’s creek trail begins at the end of the block.  After over a year of walking the trail almost daily Kali knows the trail like the back of her paw.  Pretty much the same sights, same smells, and same neighbors out for strolls with the dogs, a bike ride or a jog.  Hit the trail head, stop for a quick poop (Kali not me), wrap around the golf course, bark -if antagonized – at a couple yap-yap dogs through a fence in a trailside home, on to the duck pond, a quick jaunt past the dog park (past being the operative term here since Kali is not ready to go in yet), and then we head home.  It’s our routine.

So it was of some personal interest to Kali and I when we heard the fire engines and saw that they were converging at the trail head from both sides of the creek to address a fire that had started in the brush.  One of the fire fighters told me that the fire had been started by someone throwing a flare into the creek.  I hate to assume it was kids who did it but boredom in suburbia after two months of summer vacation is the likely circumstance for someone to “see what would happen”.

We’re in the middle of a mini-heat wave and the temps were in the low 100’s yesterday and will remain so for another couple of days.  So on top of an already drought-ridden landscape the high temps and moderate winds make anywhere in this area prime for a major fire with little effort on mother nature’s part of any one stupid enough to throw a burning cigarette – of flare – into a wooded area. Fortunately, the fire was put out quickly with minimal impact to the creek and no harm to any of the surrounding homes.

I’ve always been fascinated with fire fighting.  When I was five years old I told my mother I wanted to be a fireman.  To this day I wish I had gone into that line of work and don’t have a reason or excuse for why I didn’t.  When I see news stories about fires this time of year, homes in danger, and acres and acres ablaze I feel compelled to drive to the area to see what I can do to help.  “Give me a shovel. Here, I’ll help move that hose….. “.  “Stay out of the way old man.  If you wanted to be a fire fighter you should have done so years ago when you were in your prime!”.  Sigh….  “OK, I’ll just watch from here but let me know if you need anything.  I’ve got a real cool dog – you want to meet her later? Maybe she could ride in the engine next to you.”

The Trail Head

Gaining access at the trail head

Crews Converging

“Let’s roll boys! We’ve got a fire to put out before the game comes on back at the fire house….”

I guess this is one way to get the water level back up in the creek....

I guess this is one way to get the water level back up in the creek….

All is well again at the creek

All is well again at the creek

I have few if any regrets in my life but not being a fire fighter may be one.  And if I had been I guess I’d be adopting Dalmatians instead of Golden Retrievers, right?  NOT!  I can guarantee you that If I was a fire fighter my Golden Kali would be riding and smiling along side of me in Engine No. 7 and helping to keep her community safe.

1% Chance

It was a warm evening as my buddy Marty and I assembled my new BBQ in my garage.  It was about 7:00, we had a moderate amount of tools out, a couple of beers, and Holly and Jen, Marty’s wife  were in the back yard munching on snacks and drinking wine. This was a ritual that used to happen more often when we were younger and living across the street from each other:   I buy something, I try to build it, i can’t build it, I call Marty, Marty comes to the rescue and builds it for me.  As we’ve grown older we’ve both become more proactive.  So a couple of weeks ago I told Marty I had ordered a new BBQ he said, “great – you’ll need me to come over and help you build it”.  And I said, “yep, I think it’s a two beer job”.

So as we were getting started I opened the door to let Kali out to the garage so she could hang out with us.  She quickly lied down in the middle of the action.  Although we live on a very quiet street whenever I’ll be in the garage with the door open for anything longer than a minute or so if Kali is there I put on her long 30 foot leash and tie it to the workbench. Kali is not a “runner” nor is she very interested in exploring past our front yard and 99% of the time she would be just fine staying close to me.  But for the 1% chance that another dog or a cat would walk past the house all bets would be off.  I am pretty sure that Kali would take off in hot pursuit with no regard for any command I would give her to sit, stay, or come.  So I always eliminate that 1% chance and I tie her up.

Well, almost always.

Last night I let my guard down and didn’t put Kali on the long leash.  Maybe it was the oh so calm night that convinced me it would be fine.  Maybe it was the melancholy I was experiencing of hanging out in  the garage doing  a project with Marty just like the old days when we do this often with our little ones riding bikes and playing in the yard.  Or maybe it was just laziness.

As we were about half way done assembling the BBQ I see a neighbor come by with their 90 pound Shepherd mix.  I immediately look to see where Kali is so that I can grab her and make sure she doesn’t run out.  But she’s sauntered off to greet my next door neighbor who had just pulled into his driveway.  I see Kali in the next yard and I see that she doesn’t notice the Shepard mix approaching because my car was blocking her view as the dog and owners came walking down the street.  For a brief moment I think I can navigate this situation and think that maybe even if Kali sees the dog she’ll just come back to the garage as soon as I call her.  None chance – not even 1%.

Kali sees the dog and bolts towards him barking with teeth gnashing.  As she got close she lunged and growled and the dog’s owners look concerned that this monster of a Golden Retriever was going to make mince meat of their dog.  I ran to Kali calling her and apologizing to the owners all at the same time.  They were cool but after about 30 or 45 seconds of this “dance” they were visibly upset.  I didn’t blame them.  Meanwhile Marty has run out into the street and is trying to corral Kali, and almost gets his hand on her collar.  But she dodges him like Jim Brown of the Cleveland Browns on a December Sunday.  By now our wives have left their snacks and wine to see what the commotion is and stand in the garage watching Marty and I running around in the street like two blind three-legged border collies.

Kali finally retreats to the garage and Holly ushers her out the side-door into the back yard.  I apologize again to the dog’s owners as they high-tail it down the street.   Holly and Jen return to the back yard to enjoy the warm evening.  Marty and resume assembly of the BBQ.  Kali lies down in the back yard and tries to get her heartbeat back down to something less than 250 bpm.

So no real harm done but a good lesson, reminder actually, that 1% is 1% and if it happens then it’s 100%.   As a worrier I think that Kali and I dodged a bullet.  It could have been a cat across the street that caught her eye that she ran off after and a car, as unlikely as it is (1% chance?),  would come speeding around the corner just at the wrong time.

So after all is said and done it was a great night:

Kali safe, great reminder for dad about being smart and always keeping Kali safe, a new awesome BBQ, delicious steaks, good wine, and best of all a great summer evening with our dear friends Marty and Jen.


Kali: “Is there a 1% chance I’ll get a little taste of meat from the new BBQ? After all I kept that big old Shepard mix away from the steaks, right?”

I’m Still Kicking Myself: Epilogue

I’m no longer kicking myself and I managed to correct the mistake; the mistake of cutting Kali’s dew claw in a manner that it split and exposed the quick. So me with a sore butt from kicking myself and Kali with a slightly sore foot are finally doing better and are back to our routine. This is a good thing since we are both such creatures of habit.

As suspected the entire nail had to come off. So after the vet examined the nail on Monday afternoon I left Kali with her. I was very proud of Kali who let the vet examine her nail without flinching or making a fuss. The biscuit I held in front of her nose didn’t hurt the effort… Brenda, Kali’s new vet, said she’d be ready to pick up at 5:00 (Kali not Brenda  🙂 So I left Kali, went home, and watched the final innings of the San Francisco Giants home opener on TV.  I was surprised that I wasn’t stressed or worried. I don’t like anesthesia. Even with the modern technology to monitor blood oxygen levels mistakes can happen and if there isn’t enough oxygen flowing through the blood to the brain there can be irreversible damage. But I wasn’t worried and the only stress I had in my body was from watching my Giants losing the game.

When Holly and I arrived to pick up Kali the med tech told us what a great patient she was. I was like a proud dad talking to the doctors after a child’s tonsillectomy. The med tech brought Kali out and she had a major wrap job on her foot. She was happy to see us and was released with some antibiotics, pain meds to be used only if she needed them (she didn’t), and no restrictions for activity beyond the first night of “taking it easy”.

When we got home it was evident that Kali was still a little loopy from the anesthesia. She had a blank stare about her and when she lied down and fell asleep she had major dreams and was growling off and on in her sleep.

Although it was little hard for her to walk up the stairs that night she slept soundly through the night and by morning all was well. We took a couple of short walks with the bandage on the next day.   It probably felt a little strange to her to walk along the path with a artificially padded foot but she did fine and was glad to be back on the trail.

Last night I took off the bandages. It was really cool to watch Kali as I unwrapped all the bandages, tape,and padding the medical staff had compressed around the wound area. Although she was never in any pain Kali was not real pleased about her foot being wrapped. As I unraveled and removed the bandages she looked up at me and seemed to say thank you for getting all the “stuff” off her foot.

So today for the first time in almost two weeks we walked without a cracked nail, blood, or a bandage. Kali walked, I walked.  And for the first time in almost two weeks I didn’t kick myself.

Golden Kali (and Dad) is back!

Wrapped (looks a little like those socks the race horses wear - kinda cool!)

Wrapped (looks a little like those socks the race horses wear – kinda cool!)

Unwrapped (looks like we got our money's worth)

Unwrapped (looks like we got our money’s worth)

After the procedure and bandages off

After the procedure and bandages off

I’m still kicking myself

I’m still kicking myself.  Holly told me to let it go but my nature is to continue kicking myself until I correct the mistake I made.  Sometimes it takes longer than I’d like but I usually find a way to fix “it” whatever it happens to be…  And I will this time too!

Kali’s nails never need clipping because our daily walks seem to keep them short.  They pretty much always look the same.  Neatly manicured by mother nature.  Except for her dew claws.  These tend to get long and I know when they begin to bother Kali because she’ll start to chew on them.  So last week when I saw her chewing on them I took a look and sure enough they looked like little hooks and in need of a trim.  I’ve trimmed them a few times and although it’s not a favorite grooming activity of Kali’s (to say the least) she usually reluctantly complies and I’m able to get off a quick snip without any problems.

But not last week.  Last week Kali squirmed away just as I was pressing down on the handle of the clippers and I immediately knew that I had hurt her.  I caught the nail too close to the quick.  There was a bit of blood and probably a bit of pain for Kali.  Holly helped and as I held Kali still Holly quickly cauterized the nail with styptic powder and wrapped the area with a sterile bandage and gauze.

Kali was fine but I wasn’t.  I walked around the kitchen saying, “#%&!!…”.  Holly:  “Stop it, she’l be fine.  It happens”.  Me:  “&*%$#!!”.

I went over to Kali who was now laying down and settled.   “I’m so sorry Kali.  I’m so sorry I hurt you”.  Kali didn’t seem to be in any pain and other than being a little confused about the bandage on her paw everything was fine.  But not for me.  I wasn’t fine and I’m still kicking myself.

The next morning I was surprised to find the paw quite swollen but during the course of the morning the swelling resolved and everything seemed fine.   Kali let me hold her paw and squeeze it gently.  There was no apparent pain.  The nail was black but there was no bleeding so I didn’t re-bandage it.   Then a couple of days later Kali was running in the yard and I saw her pull up and come hobbling back towards the house.  The nail was bleeding again.  We bandaged it and again the next day it was fine.  Yesterday on our walk I noticed it bleeding.  When we got home I did a closer inspection and could see that the nail was split – much like a hangnail – and the quick was exposed.  Great – more kicking myself and some silent #%$^@!!”s.  Kali walked on it fine but when I touched the “hangnail” she didn’t like that at all.  When I moved the small piece it clearly hurt her.

Kali tried her best to be a good soldier; she knew what I wanted.  I wanted her to hold still while I washed and bandaged her paw.  But she was too scared and her instincts overrode the desire to obey.  It was an interesting dynamic seeing in her eyes both acknowledgement of what I wanted and also the fear of being hurt.

It took about 15 biscuits and some magician-like maneuvers to get it cleaned and re-bandaged.   I soaked it for a few minutes in a pan of warm water, dried it off, and put on a new sterile bandage wrapped with gauze.  Kali gave the bandage a cursory lick but for the most part ignored it and went off to sleep in the sun while I scoured “source of all truth” (the internet)  to gather more information about cracked dew claws.

Like most things you read about on the internet, and in life,  there are many versions of the truth.  But I did gather enough reasonable information to feel as though I had done the right thing by wrapping Kali’s dew claw up and keeping it clean.   It was quite interesting to read comments in forums from many dog owners that suggest the dew claw should be removed completely in order to avoid the problem in the first place. Many owners advocate amputation when the dog is spayed or put out for some other reason.   I’m no expert but that seems rather excessive and not something I would ever consider unless it became medically necessity.  There were many countering opinions that suggested that dog’s need this appendage to help them maneuver when running and turning quickly as well as helping to hold things still such as a bone or Kong toy.  That seemed much more reasonable to me.

Kali’s is no pain and walks just fine but clearly something needs to be done.  So to be sure I’ll take her to the vet to get a professional assessment and to see if the nail needs to be clipped completely off in order to grow back properly or what the best treatment may be.  I’m hoping the prognosis is that it will resolve itself without medical intervention but I’m not very optimistic. I’ll know later today after we see the vet.

One thing I do know for sure is that it will be difficult for me to trim Kali’s dew claws in the future.   We’ll get past this and then I will begin a regimen of touching her toes and nails without involving clippers in order to get Kali used to it and to regain her confidence in me.  It’s really something I should have done in the first place. I should have been regluarly touching her toes and nails and lavishing her with treats to reinforce her allowing me to do so before I ever attempted to clip the first time. Had I done so she wouldn’t have pulled away last week.  There would be no cracked dew claw and no drama for my Golden Kali girl.

Like the old saying goes “should’ve, would’ve could’ve”.  I knew better and ignored it.   And for that, I’m still kicking myself.

Give me more biscuits or I'll pull off the bandage  :)

Give me more biscuits or I’ll pull off the bandage 🙂



Sometimes our walks are peaceful and sometimes they’re challenging. And sometimes they’re a little scary.

There’s a dog park along our route that Kali is getting more and more comfortable passing without getting stressed when she sees other dogs inside  romping or coming towards the low cyclone fence to get a closer look.  We pass the park walking along the adjacent trail path.   Although Kali is not ready to enter the fenced dog area she is getting more and more comfortable seeing the other dogs and she can sit and watch from a distance without getting stressed.  We’ve come a long way since last May and I feel like she’s finally turned the corner and on the way to being able to one day happily interact with dogs other than brother Smokey.

And then came the “Velociraptors”!   Three of them.   All seeming to move in premeditated – no, instinctive – harmony.  The way these dogs charged the perimeter of the park reminded me of the Velociraptors in the movie Jurassic Park.  They were beautiful specimens; short hair with long snouts, about 70 or 80 pounds, sleek, agile, and very muscular.  For what soon became an obvious reason, these Velociraptors all wore brightly neon colored muzzles.

"Ok boys - get your muzzles so we can go to the park..."

“Ok boys – get your muzzles so we can go to the park…”

There are two areas of the dog park adjacent to one another but separated by the same type of fence that surrounds the perimeter.  As we passed by the first area Kali and I saw one of our familiar trail families with their three dogs.  Kali watched them throwing tennis balls and we waved and passed by uneventfully.  Then as we moved on we became startled.  We we saw two brightly colored muzzled dogs charging the fence that separated us.  I looked around to see where their owner was but no one was around.  I braced myself to protect Kali from the Velociraptors because it was becoming clear that they might  jump the fence. At the speed they were running their  intent seemed clear:  take no prisoners.  I quickened our pace and then saw a third dog sprinting to “defend” his fellow Velociraptors who by now had reached the perimeter of the park.  Finally I see two humans – about 100 yards away – casually chatting and heading towards the fenced area.

They had let the dogs off leash in the main park and the dogs ran freely towards the open gated fenced area.  Directly towards Kali and I.  The humans seemed oblivious, or perhaps indifferent, to the aggressive demeanor of their dogs.  Kali and I had no choice but to keep walking as the dinos , who thankfully didn’t jump, tracked us along the fence line barking and gnashing with bulging eyes.  KALI WAS GOING NUTS!  I didn’t try to  control her barking and lunging as I would under other circumstances.  Of course she was defensive. Of course she was scared.  Of course she was ready to protect me and fight for her life.  Of course they would have eaten her and most of me in the process…

The owners arrived at the gate but don’t call off the dogs nor even slightly acknowledge me with a wave of “sorry”, or “Hi – sorry about that, we’re working on this behavior”.  Nothing.

Kali and I walked on but the rest of the walk sucked.  That’s my own fault for letting this experience get to me.  But I was really pissed-off at the “owners” of the Velociraptors.  I was also pissed off at myself for being judgmental.  Kali has a few issues so who was I to judge.  BUT, I am in total control of Kali when we’re in public.  The Velociraptor mommies were not in control of their three brightly neon colored muzzled flesh-eaters.

So we continued our walk – me pissed off and Kali stressed.  We circled around to the other side of the creek that runs between the trail loop.  We looked across at the Velociraptors and their human mommies.  As soon as they saw us  they charged the fence – the dogs, not the mommies.  Nope -the  mommies were still pretty oblivious that the breeder they acquired these dogs from referred to his kennel as “Jurassic Park – Home Of Prehistoric DNA”.  We were about two hundred yards away. separated by the creek and they still charged at us.  WOW!

Kali barks. I have her sit and look over at the park.  I stare at the Velociraptors’ mommies and feel a bit guilty for how proud I am of Kali who is now calmly looking at me while their out of control dogs chew on the chain link fence in trying to get out.

I felt bad for these dogs and wondered how they got this way – nature or nurture?  Probably a bit of both.  But I felt worse for Kali and I wonder, that as far as Kali has come,  do these events set her back in her trust of other dogs.  She seems to shake them off quicker than I do.  She comes home and sleeps soundly.  Meanwhile,  I sit and stew and research Velociraptors.

Tails From The Trail – One


Wow – what was that??  Kali and I walked on in relative peace having done a very good job of avoiding what could have been a confrontation.

Kali and I love our walking trail.  The trailhead is within a stones throw from our front door.  It winds around with the neighborhood, intersects at points with a municipal golf course, and has a creek that runs throughout.  Kali and I have become intimately familiar with the trail having walked it almost every day for the past six months.  We’ve also become familiar with many of the faces – both human and canine – that we see often.  We’re blessed to have the time, the area, and health to be out and about in such a beautiful environment.

The single blemish on this otherwise perfect picture is that Kali has leash aggression. I’ve come to grips with that. I’ve done a fair amount of reading and research and it is clear that this behavior will take us a long time to work through.   Maybe she’ll never get past it. But I’m committed to partner with Kali in the most positive way possible so that one day she will be able to meet another dog without lunging or barking and instead simply sniffing, playing, and enjoying their company.

Kali and Smokey bonded very quickly. They are wonderful to watch.  So I know Kali can be a loving and enjoyable companion for another dog.  She’s spent extended face to face time with just one other dog – a close friend’s dog – and after the usual barking and anxiety she settled down and got along just fine. In fact they were in the back of our SUV for an extended drive laying next to one another and Kali was very calm and comfortable.

Kali is very eager to engage with me.  The first thing I taught her was to “watch” me and then I would immediately reward the eye contact with high value treats.  This fundamental discipline and foundation for effective training has been invaluable.  I say “watch” or just stand in front of her and she’ll gaze into my eyes and wait for me to tell her what to do next.  All it takes is the word “watch” and more lately just the click of my tongue.  On our walks I am proactive when we approach another dog.  I’ve learned to make sure that Kali is more interested in me than the oncoming dog.   We take care not to walk a direct path into the dog, we’ll take a wide berth when there is room on the trail, or simply pull over to the side with Kali’s back to the dog and attention on me as the dog and owner pass by.   A couple of “watches” and a “let’s go” and more often than not there is no barking or lunging and we continue to move along our way thankful for the aforementioned blessings. Sometimes I’ll stop and turn around after we’ve gone a short distance and have her sit facing the other dog who is now walking away. “See Kali, no danger. I kept you protected. I’ve got your back. It’s ok to relax. Let’s go”.

For Kali and I it’s all about the positive.  Praise when she get’s it right.  Understanding when she doesn’t and self-evaluation to see what I could have done different to make her successful it the particular situation.  It’s helping and I’m optimistic that over time – probably a long time – we will overcome this behavior and Kali will be able to enjoy being around other dogs.

So did someone get punched in the face?  The short answer is I don’t know.

On an otherwise non-eventful walk yesterday I saw an owner with her dog come around the bend about 150 feet ahead of us.   As we approached each other Kali and I used our techniques for keeping her calm.  I moved to the edge of the path, “Kali.  Watch.”  She does.  “Good.  Watch.”  Kali takes a quick look over her shoulder at the dog and then back at me.; loose leash no barking.  “Good girl! Let’s go.” Kali is relatively calm and we peacefully move along our way.  BUT, as we pass by I get a closer look at an uncomfortable owner and a fearsome looking dog.  This dog could eat Kali for lunch if it wanted.  It probably didn’t want to but that’s the look the dog had. The owner had a very tight leash on this dog with her fist about 12 inches from the dog’s neck jerking up with all her might, and the dog choking from a now very tight collar.  The dog was very mad and upset.  Who could blame him?

To be fair maybe this dog has serious aggression issues and would actually have eaten Kali for lunch if the owner had not restrained him.  Or, maybe it’s the owner who has serious aggression issues and needs a punching bag other than her dog (the Blogger says judgementally). I look back over my shoulder as we move on and I hear the owner say as she pulls up on the leash, “No. NO!  I will punch you in the face”.

I wanted to go back and give the dog a hug. I didn’t.  I wanted to go back and punch the owner in the face.  No, of course I didn’t.  Kali just wanted to continue walking home and of course, we did.

So did someone or something get punched in the face?. I guess I’ll never know.

Tails From The Trail

Tails From The Trail

Tragedy Barely Averted

What a scare Kali and I had this morning! By chance we found ourselves in the middle of an incredibly frightening event. We saw a young chocolate lab come within inches of tragedy.  

Our walk started out pleasantly uneventful.

Kali still becomes very anxious around other dogs when we meet them along the trail. She’s getting better.  Or I guess I can say we’re getting better.  Through a considerable amount of time and training I’ve learned to help Kali stay engaged with me when we come across other dogs.  Lately she’s more inclined to maintain eye contact with me instead of focusing on the other dogs and barking at them.  Without knowing what Kali may have experienced as a homeless stray it’s hard to know exactly the reason for this anxiety.  But lately, more often than not, we’re able to move along our way with little to no barking and a lower level of anxiety.  I hope this progress will eventually lead to Kali’s ability to meet new dogs she encounters with a smile, a sniff, and new friendships.

Kali and I have a few routes we alternate between along our walking trail.  But recently part of our main and favorite route was closed off requiring us to detour onto residential streets to get home.  So today as we passed the closed off path and headed home I spied a young chocolate lab across the street.  Her owner had let her out of her car off leash as she prepared to take the dog – “Mia” – and her toddler into an area where owners often allow their dogs to roam freely along the grassland and trails.  The area is safe for the dogs as it is vast and, with the exception of the entry area, fenced off or surrounded by creeks and hills.

As the mother got out of the car Mia headed into the grassland. But then Mia saw Kali and I across the street.  Kali was focused on me – her eyes looking at my hands and eyes hopeful for a training treat.  Mia froze, barked, then bolted for Kali- heading directly across the street.

The 60 foot three-ton bus came speeding down the street, the mom looked up from her toddler and screamed at Mia to stay. Mia continued into the street with no awareness of the 6000 pound bus she was on a collision path with.  I screamed, “NO!”.  Kali barked, now aware of Mia and probably tuned into my stress level.  The bus did it’s best to slow down, breaks squealing and transmission grinding.  And then – it sounds corny but – time seemed to stop.

The bus  slowly passed  and went along its way. In the middle of the street stood Mia – unharmed.  Thank God.  Mia’s mom screamed, “Mia, no – bad! Bad Girl.  Come back here.  No!”  Kali barked.  I took a breath,  ever so thankful that Mia was OK.

I composed myself, regained Kali’s attention, and we headed home.  I couldn’t help but be a little mad at Mia’s mom.  I scolded myself for being judgmental.

And then, I thanked God again.  This time for Kali.  My beautiful girl who was safe next to me as we walked back home.   I think Kali knew I was a bit shaken from the event. She is so in tuned to me.

Kali and I walked back home in silence grateful that Mia was OK; and grateful for each other.


Kali - wondering why the path is closed

Kali – wondering why the path is closed