Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Day 17

...and "socialization" with Bear has begun. I must confess, after thinking about the socialization issue last night, that I called Frank-down-the-hill and set up a hot date for this morning. If we are going to be able to "wander all over the planet" with Bear and Willie, then they really need to be very well mannered dogs. The natural disposition with Bear, with some training, should be very amenable to that, however, Willie still seems to believe that the sole function of anyone who passes this house is to play ball with him. My thought is to get Bear trained to visit with manners first and then add William to the equation.

Today was our first day with it, so, at 7:30 this morning, Bear and I were out the door for our first "meeting." Frank-down-the-hill lives in the next house "down-the-hill" from us. He's maybe a quarter of a mile down from here and confessed to "spotting" me walking with a "new family member" when I spoke with him last night. I didn't tell him that I've seen him watching us with his face plastered against the window as we pass by, or that driving his new Matrix out to the the field next to his house to watch us was a bit obvious, even though he did try to hide it by the tree line. He's getting on in years, isn't as steady as he used to be and the Matrix is quieter than the four-wheeler so is better for "covert operations" like spying on your neighbors.

People do still do this kind of thing here because, living in the Catskill State Park, there isn't a whole lot else to do but watch what everyone else is doing. Frank has been retired for years, is a widower and a wonderful friend so when any changes happen at our house, he's the first to know. Bear's first "official" visit couldn't be with anyone else.

When we got to the door, Bear was frightened about going into the basement that Frank converted to a living area when his wife died, so Frank came out to meet us at the door. It was cool this morning and damp enough that "older bones take on a chill," or so Frank insisted. After standing outside and having an initial meeting, Frank invited us in again and, with some coaxing, Bear came in. There was an ulterior motive on this entrance on Frank's part. He likes it when our dogs "come visiting" on their own because he likes to have dinner with them. Pizza night is a particular favorite and there have been many a night over the past two decades that dogs who have lived with us came back with anchovy and cheap beer breath. He teaches them about the "neighbor path" we have between the houses and after that, there's no stopping it.

He and my former dog Buddy, aka "Budman," were great friends in younger years.

I let Frank know that this one will not be "visiting" without me because he is going to have a job and that Willie was in training now too. Judging from the look he gave me, I think I am going to have to be extra vigilant about this as Frank is not above "sneaking" when there is a challenge involved. Between him and farmer Phil, who is still oogling my dog, I've got my hands full in preventing these guys from turning Bear into a complete delinquent or worse...

Thankfully, I do have the complete cooperation of the neighborhood ladies, two of whom we met and Bear slobbered all over, while they were out having a healthy morning walk on "the hill." They saw that we had been visiting with Frank and will be keeping an eye to things as well!

Happy wanderings!

The Writer...and her dog, Bear


coopercreek said...

Congrats on the new dog. What a life saver you are. Bear seems like a wonderful dog. May you have many happy years together.

Cathy said...

I am new to the blog world and followed you from the dog park blog. Congratulations on the new addition to your family and great job on your blog!