Halfway to Fawkner Park I realised I was wearing the wrong shoes. To say that it is damp underfoot in the Park at the moment is to understate the swamp like conditions faced by the novice dog walker. I reasoned that to keep my feet dry I needed to stay on the tarmac as long as possible and find the ‘dry’ bits on the grass; this worked quite well for a time.
Just to fill in the context for friends who are struggling to follow my travels and ‘career’ direction at the moment. I am house/dog sitting in South Yarra. My charge is called Molly, an energetic Weimaraner who relishes exercise and loves love. This assignment is part of my ‘plan’ to develop a portfolio of activities that will allow me to travel, introduce me to new people and new experiences that, in time, will settle into a new way of living. Right now I can pretty much do anything I like (within reason) so I decided to try out ideas. If I don’t do this now I think that time will pass and I will fall back into old habits (e.g. traditional work) and I want to find new ways of working and to see more of the world. This is my way of exploring what’s next for me.
Back to this particular assignment, it’s for around 7 weeks and I will be splitting time between South Yarra and the Yarra Valley, both really lovely options. My time spent watching Cesar Millan turns out to have been a good investment of time. Calm assertive energy, I tell myself as Molly pulls on the lead. ‘Be a pack leader’, I tell myself. The key behaviour with any dog. It’s all about the energy. It’s all coming back to me and it’s working reasonably well for us both.
As some of you will know I’m not much of a disciplinarian. This was pointed out to me once by a really talented student, he told me he really enjoyed my way of teaching but the fact that I was a bit flaky about the boundaries meant that the amount he learned was reduced (he wasn’t this blunt but it was useful feedback and it improved my teaching and my dog walking).
Anyway back to today. I’ve been training Molly to retrieve a ball. I’ve been reading up on how to do this and the process seems to work. Yesterday she was pretty good but today she was brilliant. Very satisfying. Flushed with success I was happy to see Uno appearing as a welcome distraction. He is a two month old border collie with a strong herding instinct. A bit barky for my taste but so far so good. We were then joined by Kiko, an immaculate husky. Still fine. Bit boisterous and Uno now becomes VERY barky indeed. His Japanese owner and her friend don’t notice (texting. possibly texting each other). Then two labradors appear, one sporting a rakish bandana and one who I will simply say is ‘big boned’ if you get my drift. Things take a rambunctious turn extremely quickly. I can see the pack coming towards me (at speed) and in a four dog formation. I decide to stay put; they’ll probably go round me………
Well gentle readers you will have gathered that my early concern about my shoes has become less of an issue. Plus you will no doubt note that lying face down in the mud makes it hard to offer calm, assertive energy or to be a pack leader. As I push myself up I see three furry faces with outstretched tongues and one Japanese face offering a wet wipe. I accepted the latter politely, not mentioning that it was inadequate for the task at hand, the tongues definitely got more off.
On reflection I think it was a good call to stay put, I fell fair and square. Winded but not wounded. Conscious of my role as a pack leader I brushed myself down (well smeared more mud around). My white waterproof jacket needed a wash anyway. The shoes are now soaked through.