March 28th, 2017
The unexpected is often an opportunity in disguise. Last night, Bailey and I were taking a shorter version of our evening walk. I noticed my neighbour walking her 9 month Goldendoodle, Jinx, down below in the sandpit. We were slightly elevated as Bailey and I made our way down a trail to the side of the snow covered sandpit. He was off-leash and Bailey was not. We had moved far enough away from Jinx by the time Bailey caught sight of him. I was not in the mood to be dragged down the steep incline if Bailey decided to personally greet him without my permission. I thought that one of these days, the two dogs would have to get together for a play date.
Another 20 feet down the trail, a familiar shape came into view. It was 11 month old Cas, Bailey’s regular hiking partner, and his owner. Cas had caught Bailey’s scent long before the rest of us were aware of the others in the area. He was also free from the constraints of his leash and bounded towards us. Just as I leaned down to unclip Bailey in preparation for this unexpected romp, Cas veered to the trail branching off to the right. I was sure that he had caught a whiff of Jinx. Bailey would just have to wait. I kept her leashed as we headed towards our friend who was trailing behind his wandering dog. He acknowledged Bailey in a very inviting voice. Cory is one of Bailey’s favourite people. Seeing him twice in one day was just too good to be true. Bailey was not going to forgo a rub and maybe a treat. She began to move forward with more effort. I found it more and more difficult to keep her under control. I made the decision to let the leash go rather than risk re-injuring my knee. I had been undergoing physiotherapy for the last three months after knee surgery. The treatment was finally paying off and looked like the end was near. Bailey barrelled down the hill while I muttered, “Just a quick visit as we have to get home.” I had not even finished voicing that thought when Cory reached out with the intent of giving her a pet only to touch air. Bailey had swerved at the last second, hot on the trail of Cas and Jinx. She had vanished just like her pal.
I looked at Cory and shrugged, “I guess we are not going home.” The two of us came around the corner to find the three dogs chasing one another around the open space. Their tails wagged frantically. Their owners realizing the futility of breaking up the three amigos settled on watching the dogs in action. Cory produced a small ball that reminded me of a clown’s bright red nose. He threw it. Fortunately for Bailey, she was close enough to get it first. Normally, Cas is much faster at retrieving thrown objects than my girl. Oh, how she pranced and danced around… She darted in between the two male dogs who tried in vain to get the ball from her. If they started lose interest, Bailey flashed enough of the ball to get the game of chase going again. She acted like the belle of the ball who was thrilled to have two male suitors vying for her attention. It became quite apparent that Bailey was a ball hog. Cory pulled out a stick and tossed it. According to Jinx, stick trumps ball. Cas and Jinx ignored Bailey as they worked on getting the stick away from other. When Bailey realized that she had been jilted, she tried to stir interest by chasing after them. Bailey could neither catch their attention nor keep up. She was slowing down. I seized the moment and commanded her to sit. Bailey released the now frozen drool covered ball. I tried my best to wipe it before handing it over to the real owner. Although she was no longer the belle with the ball, Bailey clearly loved being the centre of attention.