Friday, 3 May 2013
Who would have thought..
Just one week in and I already have news of greatness!
It was a usual mid-week, early morning walk. Perhaps slightly unusually the sun was shining and everyone was feeling chipper. The blossom had finally arrived, tantilising us with the hope of spring and seemingly closing the dark winter chapter, hopefully for good. Barry, Gerty and I had already met up with Mahi and Albous, who you'll no doubt come to know and love if you choose to continue to follow the antics of Barry the Wonder Dog.
We had ambled up and over the hill without incident. Strode through the field and the still muddy puddles with little excitement and were generally having a merry time. Upon entering the woods we happened across the lovely lab who must remain nameless because neither can I remember her name nor make up one that does her justice. She has just given birth to a happy and healthy litter of pups and although being a marvellous mother and delightful dog, no one and nothing would be cherished more than her ball.
We know this dog well and so I remain relaxed as I have been assured that she never releases her ball for anyone or thing other than her master. However somehow, amongst the melee of butt sniffing that occurs with every doggy meeting, no matter how many times they have met before, her dedication slipped. I spotted the unattended, unprotected ball at the same time as Barry and my shoulders tensed. Barry and I look from the ball to one another and in a mere matter of seconds he struck.
Like a viper he struck, like a nimble predator he plucked the ball from the ground with his floppy chops and my face fell. My heart sank. There we were again. That lonely, shameful place. Oh, how I loathed being the owner of a chronic, relentless and shameless ball thief. The hours (ok, minutes but it feels like long, excruciating hours to me) I have spent chasing him, ignoring him, berating him, coaxing him to give up his stolen fruit all under the watchful eye of the perfect (boring) dog owners, tutting, glaring and oozing dissatisfaction at my inferior dog ownership skills.
However after 18 months of shame and misery I had had enough. As Barry pranced around evading all attempts to retrieve his stolen prize I made a decision. I was taking this no more. I rolled back my shoulders and stood proud. I planted my feet and filled my lungs before releasing a guttural cry 'Barry! Drop it!'.
He didn't. He did however stop dead and look at me with sorrowful eyes. He let me take the ball from his grasp and return it to its rightful owner.
My fellow dog walkers actually cheered! I fist-pumped! I felt a sense of empowerment I have not felt since I passed my driving test and realised freedom loomed near. Shortly followed by a burst of pride that I have never felt before. My Barry, my wayward hound had finally dropped a stolen ball at my request. As I hurriedly rewarded Barry for his magnificent behaviour with a delicious cheesy bite, Mahi's owner, Sangeeta, cheekily told me that I too deserved a treat. I took no offence and thoroughly agree which I why I'm enjoying a Southern Comfort and lemonade as I regale you my story.
Now I know some of you may be thinking that this is a mind-bogglingly over dramatic account of a very minor incident. You are probably right, as most dogs manage this simple task within weeks of coming home. However, to me, this is greatness emerging.