Max, Ruby and I used to walk daily and sometimes twice a day. Max was an Australian Shepherd with a love for greeting people and other dogs and a very happy disposition. I’m so fortunate to have been the one to get Max from the Humane Society when he was 4 1/2 months old. He was my first dog as an adult; we had a shared family dog and I borrowed other people’s dogs for walks but he was my very own. Max and his sister were found when they were about 3 months old in a field in the suburbs with porcupine quills in their faces – ouch! They went to a foster home after the quills were removed and then to the shelter. When I got to the shelter Max was alone and his sister was already adopted. Max had been adopted but returned because his new owner said “he doesn’t come when I call him”. I won’t tell you what I think of that comment, but I will say that it was a great decision for me!
Ruby was a German Shepherd-mix who started life out feral, as best as we can tell. See the separate story –Trapping a Feral Puppy. In the earlier part of our life together she was super leery of people. She was most comfortable at home, in our yard, or in the company of other dogs. Eventually she became more comfortable around people and had several favorite people. When on a leash she’d often stand behind me if we stopped to talk with someone.
In the beginning when teaching her to walk on a leash I’d walk both of the dogs together on a double dog coupler so Ruby would have her trusty friend Max right beside her. It also made it easier for me having to hold only one leash. Sometimes when she was frightened she wanted to run and hide. One of those moments happened while we were walking on a nice summer day near a ferry dock. It was before the ferry was ready to load the passenger cars so there was a 4 to 5 block line of stopped cars waiting to board. We were on the opposite side of the street so they had a good view of our side of the street. Each of these cars had at least one person waiting behind the steering wheel. There wasn’t another soul in sight…yet.
While we were walking Ruby noticed a person coming in our direction about 1-1/2 blocks ahead of us. She put herself in reverse and started walking backwards along my right side. Max had no choice being hooked to the coupler with her, so he went in reverse on my left side. The dogs had me lassoed by the legs! All I could do to get untangled was go forward onto my hands and kick each foot up in the air and over the leash to free myself. I’ll always wonder what all of those people thought as they watched me do a partial handstand on the sidewalk with a few mule kicks thrown in for good measure.