Zac was lonely. It was as though dog owners in our town had all left, or knew something about the dog park that we didn’t. It seemed that everyone had deserted the park for the last two weeks. Zac was getting desperate for a game. Roger was contemplating buying a dog just to give him the company he so desperately craved.
We had adopted Zac later in life and been warned that he was not good with big dogs. That was fine whilst we lived in Gloucester as he had 5 acres in which he busied himself running up and down the fence line chasing the neighbouring maltese terriers, chasing low flying ducks, swimming after ducks in the dam and chasing the odd kangaroo. When we moved here however, me nervous after an incident I will eventually get to in Trog and other Animals, Zac walked on a lead.
Dogs on a lead are a different kettle of fish to those able to do the normal dog “getting to know you” routines of bottom sniffing, tail wagging and other tiny movements that all mean something to them but are not possible when leashed. As a result Zac reacted to meeting dogs with a growl and an interesting four legs off the ground jump making noises which left the people in fear of him and did nothing to make me feel comfortable about letting him off the lead.
Some bigger stuffy/pit bull looking dogs attacked him one day and. took him to the ground without any retaliation. Luckily the owners acted quickly as I screamed hysterically. Numerous little dogs attacked him. He hid behind me. Never retaliating. I came to realise that his aggressive stance was a ruse to protect himself. I started to relax.
At eleven, old for a German Shepherd Dog, he started slowing down. He then started sitting down , staring longingly at the dogs playing. I couldn’t take it any longer. I had to overcome my fears and asked a chap with a Bernese Mountain Dog, a massive St Bernard looking animal, if he would mind if I let Zac off with his dog as an experiment. Some sniffing occurred and then they just ignored each other.
Over a period of weeks Zac met more and more dogs. Certainly he loves the little ones best as they give him the chasing that he so desires. He stalks up to them trying to entice them to run. The dogs obviously know it is play. Owners quake the first time they meet him fearing he is about to lunge into an attack when close enough. Those dogs that want to play run, those that don’t just stand waiting to be sniffed. For an old dog he loves to run and still has good form when doing so.
He has his favourite dogs that play. A springer spaniel, an English stuffy and Sheba and Scout both German Shepherds. On our third trip to the park yesterday in the hope of running into sone doggy friends the park was hosting a German Shepherd convention day with one ring in. Only Scout and AJ were missing. We had an 15 week puppy, a 26 week puppy, and 11 month old Sheba, Zac 11 years and a labrador. They played and ran and swam and ran some more. It was lovely to watch and perfect for the phoneography challenge.