April 26, 2016
Spring still seems like just a date on the calendar. The ground is covered in snow and the temperatures are hovering in the minus zone. Surprisingly enough, Labrador West was treated to a couple of days when spring made a brief appearance. The temperature climbed to 16 degrees Celsius making our area feel like a tropical destination after months of cold. I shed the long underwear in favour of lighter clothing. It felt freeing not to put on a toque, gloves, mask and snowsuit. Our 15 month old Newfoundland puppy had a different reaction. Bailey was less than pleased to see her beloved snow melting. She was feeling the heat and made it clear that the afternoon stroll was not going to happen. The next day, I decided to take her on a longer morning walk before things heated up. We struggled along our nature trail, sinking into the soften snow – sometimes over my knee and up to Bailey’s belly. It was obvious that the trails would have to be avoided until temperatures got colder or the snow was gone.
We came off the trail onto a very muddy, wet road and headed towards home. This dirt road connects up to a very long street at the end of our subdivision. For some reason that seemed to escape me, Bailey kept veering into the centre of the street. She ignored my attempts to correct her. I could not understand why she would not heel beside me by the side of the street. As we approached one of several green garbage cans lining both sides of this very long street, the wind caused its lid to flap. Bailey pulled me again out into the street. The next can was blown over so I decided to upright it. The second that my free hand touched the can, Bailey pulled with such force that I had no choice but to let go of the can. I was puzzled about her behaviour. Suddenly, it dawned on me. It was Tuesday – garbage day for our section of town. I could see that Bailey was frightened with this green alien invasion. We had always bypassed this street by walking on the secluded trails and returning on streets that did not have garbage collection until Wednesday. Today was different.
Bailey’s phobia with these aliens began when she was just a few months old. One of my sons decided to tie Bailey with her leash to our own green alien before doing something. Unfortunately, Bailey wanted to join him and moved forward. The garbage can also jerked in her direction. Its sudden movement surprised her. She responded in flight mode by immediately running away – dragging the now fallen green alien after her. For such a young pup, Bailey had no problem hauling that trash can to the end of the driveway. I imagine she must have thought that the green alien was chasing her. Its mouth (the lid) flapping open and shut behind her. We did rescue her. However, Bailey has been reluctant to go near it. Do you blame her? I did not force the issue. I could see from the twenty-something cans in front of us that this walk would be anything but enjoyable. After checking for traffic and seeing none, the two of us moved into the street – halfway between the side and the centre. Bailey became less anxious. I had a plan. As we moved along, I would slowly edge closer to the side without Bailey noticing. Fooling a Newfoundland pup like our sweetness is not easy. By the time that we reached home, Bailey was within two feet of the curb. She had done well. However, our own green alien was waiting for her. I was better prepared this time as she darted wide at the last minute with determination to foil the alien invasion plot. Bailey was not taking any chances of falling into the clutches of this alien.