Labradors and Friends

That Dale Dog is here to stay…The first month of Maggie and Dale

Maggie was not too sure about that big dog Dale.  He was huge and he bumped into her.  He bumped into the kitchen island too, and bumped his head on the big old coffee table, but he kept running into things.  He also pretended to shake paw when a sensible dog just goes the door and barks “let me out!”  Maggie was not impressed, but thought the nice lady who had come with him and scratched her ears would come back and get him soon.  After a couple weeks, she started staring down the mom and dad people, nearly wrinkling her nose in disgust, as she realized that Dale Dog is staying!

Maggie managed to figure things out.  Dale was not just visiting.  She figured out pretty quickly to duck out of the way when she saw him coming, and before long, she seemed to understand that he wasn’t trying to run into her, although I doubt she understands he is blind.  A year and  a half later, they’re almost friends.

We have had a few feeding and watering difficulties. We had thought Maggie was a hungry dog, but Dale would gladly eat and drink all from his bowls and her’s too. We’re in the process of figuring out his allergies, which means the chicken-based food we had for Maggie is bad for him. This made for a funny moment. John had fed the special salmon food to Dale’s bowls outside the laundry room. Maggie was stuck in the laundry room (behind Dale, who was blocking the door) with her food and bowls out in the kitchen. Maggie whined a second or two, then ducked under Dale’s stomach like going under a roadway bridge. Dale was chowing down and never noticed. We have since moved Dale’s bowls inside the laundry room. Maggie’s are by the kitchen table.  It works, although Dale drinks Maggie’s water instead of his own.

A few days after Dale arrived, I was in the kitchen making salad dressing with Apple Cider Vinegar. Dale wanted the vinegar! He was at my side, sniffing at my elbows, goosing me, following me around the kitchen island past the refrigerator to the pantry… A few days later, he did the same thing with cut apples and a bottle of applesauce. We think he likes apples.

Dale is a strong dog. He has accidentally pushed me out of his way or nearly off my feet several times. We discovered the second week, he could push the gate open, a feat the grandparent’s poodle Boogaloo, our saintly first dog Sandy or mostly well-behaved Maggie had never tried. When we returned from a trip to Statesboro, Lucy got home first, letting both dogs out the laundry room door into the backyard. As we drove up a few minutes later, John said “that’s Dale!” Dale had escaped, run down the hill, across the street and was leaving a present in our “For-Sale” neighbor’s yard. I hopped out of the car and Dale started a game of catch-me-if-you-can—I would not have believed he was blind if I had not known better. I had him by the collar as John parked the car, with Lucy racing down the hill, red leash in hand, discovering his escape.

 A few days later,  I got home from work and Dale didn’t want to wait for the leash. He went to his usual potty spots, then down the little stone path to the big grassy yard (where he had been with us on the leash). He went a little too far toward the ivy-covered wild side-I called him to come back. He then walked through the garden area, bumping into a few plants, but was not afraid. He did very well exploring the back yard on his own.

The next week, John was out of town again and Dale missed him. Dale absolutely refused to go outside before dinner (when John usually takes him). At nine, I insisted Dale go outside before I went upstairs for bed. I opened the door, Maggie went out. Dale started this grumbly growl, as if to say “I don’t wanna go out, you can’t make me!” I tugged on his collar until he got up, pushed and pulled him toward the open door. He stood on the step, growling louder, “You are being a real pain and messing with my sleep!” He proceeded down the two steps, sprinkling three plants and pots along the garden path, before joining Maggie on the lawn, presumably depositing more presents in the ivy and in the garden. Maggie will whine like a kitty cat and Dale will grumble and growl, expressing their opinions, but they’re both pretty good dogs!


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