Thursday, June 17, 2010

Moon walk

Made the mistake of letting Zorro out on the screened porch last night without first looking skyward. Furious barking immediately alerted me that the moon was up.
Since Zorro was reluctant to go far during our earlier walk, I decided to seize the opportunity and head out for a moonlight run. We dashed down the path, through the park, and around the tennis courts, stopping only to toss back a ball that had been lobbed over the fence. It was a beautiful summer evening: above us, a crescent moon, and all around us, dozens of fireflies. The invasive plants looked like they were covered with white Christmas lights. Zorro was good and tired when we got home and slept right through the night.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Mean dog

Our efforts to train Zorro to behave around other dogs have really paid off. The other day, when Denny was walking him, he sat down when he saw another dog, even before Denny gave the command. When other dog owners look approvingly at my well-behaved dog, my chest swells with dog-owner pride.
But today he was truly tested. We were just entering the path from our back gate, and a young girl approached with a brown, short-haired dog. I put Zorro in his sit, but I could tell he was tense. And for good reason: suddenly, the dog leaped at us, snarling and barking in a very fierce and aggressive manner.
Zorro showed what I considered admirable restraint: he didn't bark or snarl, although he didn't follow my "look at me" command either. The young girl apologized and they went on their way. I'm hardly in a position to criticize, since Zorro has his own rap sheet in the neighborhood. But I do question the wisdom of parents who would let a young girl walk a dog who is--in the politically correct nomenclature of the rescue world--dog-aggressive and reactive. I spent the rest of our walk looking over my shoulder, worried we would see them again. Luckily, we didn't.

Jailbreak, the Sequel

Well, go figure. Now that we're in the thick of thunderstorm season, there are days when Zorro won't venture beyond the corner. But last week, he all of a sudden decided he's Bruce Willis.
Here's what happened: I was out with a friend, and Denny was home with Zorro. The UPS man came to the front door, which agitated Zorro. After Denny signed for the package, he accidentally left the front door slightly ajar. In a flash, Zorro was out the door. Denny tried to grab his rear, but it was too late.
Zorro ran down our street, North 4th Street, towards Kensington, a cross street that gets a fair amount of traffic. Denny's heart just about stopped when he heard a truck approaching. Zorro crossed Kensington (without getting hit), stopped to pee, then crossesd again and ran toward North 5th. He headed down North 5th, then crossed a short path that connects the street with the bike path that runs behind our house. And that's where Denny collared him and brought him back inside.
Scary stuff. Denny says he behaved like the whole chase was a big game. I guess we should take comfort in the fact that he ended up near our house. But we're keeping a close eye on the front door.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Summer trauma

We are in thick of thunderstorm season, with predictable results. Zorro spent most of Memorial Day weekend in the basement of our house in West Virginia. More thunderstorms this weekend, so he rotated between the basement and the shower stall (we don't have a bathtub in WV).
It's not as bad as it was last year, when he had to cope with thunderstorms and a new home. He'll even go for a run if there's a good distraction: the moon, another dog, or a flock of deer.
I've read on the Internet about something called a "thundershirt," which is supposed to make them more secure during storms. Might be worth a try.