I just came home from the park where I almost lost both our dogs.  Because I am an idiot, I let them off their leashes.  The older dog is emotionally needy, and has never strayed farther than we can see him.  The younger dog I just let off her leash for the first time yesterday, after experiencing a surge of guilt that we never let her expend all her energy.  She is a beautiful thing to behold at full-speech; that is, when she’s running towards you.  Grace, elegance, speed: like a fox.  When she’s running away, darting across creeks ion pursuit of squirrels at full tilt, she’s terrifying.  I’d been working yesterday on reinforcing her returns to me with abundant training treats.  I thought she had it.  She came back to me 6 or 7 times yesterday to copious verbal praise and edible treats.  Today—she didn’t come back at all.  When realized this might go to the edge of the woods, and the end of daylight, I ran back to the other dog, who was nowhere to be seen, but who, faithfully, came running at the mention of his name.  I love that dog more.  She, however, was hot on the trail of some phantom squirrel, and it was only when she tumbled down the steep incline she’d mounted in pursuit of him that I body slammed her into the hill.  I dragged her back to her leash, having learned my lesson.  I just tried to do right by her, by letting her off-leash.  We are hoping that when we can walk her nicely on the leash (another issue) we’ll be able to tolerate taking her on longer walks.  Until then, she’s an energy demon at home, and we have to keep her crated when we’re not home lest she destroy the house. 

Friday, we took the pups to the tennis courts, a nice, enclosed perimeter.  Unfortunately, this weekend was Asian Tennis Court Monopolizing Open.  I hope that dog trainer calls me back soon, before I really lose it.

My in-laws (FIL, SIL, and MIL) came over to see our new kitchen flooring, which is pretty much done.  All the important parts are in place, and it just needs some vinyl trim and sill plates to be 100% finished.  They wanted to see the gorgeous cork flooring we’d bragged about.  I tried to occupy the dogs by feeding them peanut butter Kongs before the arrival of the in-laws.   I put Blondie in her crate.  As for Old Man, he loves my in-laws, as my FIL often walks them while we are away.  He would much rather play with them than lick peanut butter out of a rubber cone, so he went in pursuit.  SIL is allergic to dogs; this I do not doubt.  She has come in our house before, to see some other home improvement, and left after feeling allergic, ~7 minutes or so.  This time, as Old Man traipsed into the kitchen, 2 ft ahead of me, she shrieked, “Get him off me!”  My FIL wrangled the arthritic 12-year-old mutt to the floor (“Wash your hands, Daddy.”).  I am not saying she is faking.  I just think the entire family’s reaction to her + dogs is a little out of proportion.  Since allergies can be genetic, let’s also look at the fact that her brother, my husband’s most recent allergy test came back as highly allergic to dogs.  She acts as if one flake of dander or one stray hair will send her into an anaphylactic coma.  Never underestimate fear or hypochondria, my friends. 

On the way home from the park, with two slightly tired dogs, and one beaten-beyond-belief human behind them, we crossed paths with the most anti-social dogs in our neighborhood.  One is a smallish cairn terrier, and one is what looks to be wire-haired fox terrier.  They are both endlessly nasty, as is the old man who walks them.  They do not live on our street, and yet the man insists on regularly walking them down our street, which only incites our usually peaceful friendly dogs to bark their heads off, pull on their leashes, and angle for a fight.  Mr. Apron regularly plays a passive game of chicken, trying avoid walking anywhere near them.  Of course, this is harder when they insist on walking right by our house as Mr. Apron is about to exit the front door.  Then he makes it worse by yelling “shut up” at the dogs and yanking on their leashes. 

At least I called a dog trainer. 

Mr. Apron is working tonight, swing shift, from 3 until 11.  Then he’ll wake up and work at 7am again.  And he worked last night.  It’s awesome for me, too.  On Friday night, I became very melancholy at the prospect of his working weekend, which happens every other weekend.  I’m not so good at being alone, and when I almost lose my canine companions, that makes it worse.  I want him to go this Halloween thing with me and my friend tonight.  I want to curl up on the couch under a blanket with him tonight and watch last week’s Project Runway that we missed because we were out doing awesome things for our (belated) anniversary.  I want to make dinner with him, answer the door with him, and switch to the red corduroy couch covers with him. 

My MIL told him to tell me not to answer the door (to Trick or Treaters) since I’ll be alone tonight.  I said to him, “And I’m going to pretend you didn’t tell me that.”

I guess when you live in abject fear of dogs and Trick or Treaters in a safe suburban neighborhood, you’re never alone.  You’re always accompanied by Fear. 

Maybe I’d rather be alone.  While my in-laws turn off all the lights and huddle in the basement together, afraid of all the cheerleaders, Ironmen, Disney Princesses, and 3-foot-tall skeletons, at least I can hand out the candy I bought expressly for that purpose.

Happy Halloween.

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