I apologize for the re-post. Something happened while I was out of town and the below post was swallowed up by WordPress, never to be seen again. I hope it was tasty. Hopefully it sticks around this time.
“Let’s go check out Candy Cane Lane!”
“Yeah! We can take the dog!”
“Yeah! It will be fun!”
I don’t remember who first suggested it but we both thought taking Shiva down eight residential blocks of Christmas lights was pure genius. Could we be any more naive? After almost five years of living with the mutt you’d think we’d know better by now. Surely even a first time reader of this wee page would see the folly of the scheme.
I will give us the benefit of the doubt and say we were caught up in the holiday vibe. It was Christmas Alpha – the night my PH and I chose to celebrate together, quietly, before trekking out to the mountains to spend the real day with family – and we may have been a little high on Lindt.
I know, it’s not much of an excuse.
The instant Shiva sprung out of the car, we knew we had made a ginormous mistake. We could have cut our losses then, avoided disaster. Naturally, we chose to proceed toward the mass of over-excited toddlers and harried parents. As one does with a tornado who is semi-reactive to the unpredictable movements of small children.
That’s just the way smart people do it. Obviously.
I will say, it could have gone much worse. Even if our brains were broken, our hearts and instincts were in the right place. My PH and I have perfected the Shiva walk to an art form at this point. It is almost a thing of beauty, the way we automatically take our places to guide her through a crowd. Neither of us needs to ask for help or speak at all, other than to maybe point out an incoming dog on the left or a large man with a funny hat on the right. The level of team work involved is impressive and after all these years of Shiva handling, we know exactly what our respective jobs are.
My PH almost always takes the leash. He is stronger than I am and faster. If Shiva needs to bail into a bush, he is the man to do it. He also is less likely to be dragged down the street. My job is usually to block and watch out for surprises. As we “strolled” this way down the over-filled sidewalks, I would make sure there was enough breathing room between us and the crowds in front and behind. If the masses were catching up, I would indicate that it might be time to pull into a driveway or snow bank. We both made sure to check in with Shiva often, observing her ears, to ensure she wasn’t becoming too over-stimulated. It was a guarantee that she was going to be a little nuts and a lot tuggy. This we can handle. But in these instances, on a scale of ten we prefer to keep her stimulation level at a nine as opposed to a twelve. It is a precarious line that only true Shiva Masters understand.
I still have yet to receive my black belt.
Perhaps after this experience, I am a bit closer. I am happy to say Shiva had a grand total of zero reactions the entire evening. True, we didn’t walk the whole eight blocks, deciding to end on a high note we drove through the second half, but we managed to achieve something never before attempted. Yes, it was stupid to bring her in the first place. No, we will probably not take her again. Yes, we acknowledge we would have enjoyed the lights more if my PH had been able to look at something other than the back of Shiva’s head. However, we took Shiva to an outdoor holiday event crammed with waving little hands and screaming little voices and nothing bad happened. So even though it was a fail, it was also kind of a win for Shiva and for us.
Our wackadoo puppy is all grown up, standing next to terrifying lawn ornaments and everything.