Last night was our play date with our good puppy friend, Lulu. We anticipated a night of dog romping, running, barking, tail wagging fun. Sadly, we just didn't have the intended experience.
For some reason my Boomer was on edge the moment we arrived, after we went in and through the end of the night until we got home. He entered the park with the prominent ridge standing on edge along his back. His tail was curled high at alert attention the whole time. I didn't think anything of it too much as he does that when Miracle is with us and he is in "protect mode".
However.... At one point I had my back turned talking to one of the nice doggy parents and in the back of my mind I heard his bark, far away and rather faint. Then it hit me that he was REALLY barking!! I spun around to see his haunches low to the ground, ridge at full attention with his head back and high. For this dog, whose normal demeanor is submissive and usually quiet, he was putting on quite the show of fear holding his stance and NOT MOVING an inch.
He was showing this display in front of a man that had entered the park. The man stood his ground to Boomer as well, but there was just something off. Not right. I think Boomer had sensed it. I immediately ran over to him to pull him away, but Boomer wasn't having it. I tried to work with him to calm him down, but to no avail. The man was saying that he wasn't afraid of Boomer. Well, okay, good for you, but there's something off. Not right.
As Boomer was continuing to bark, the man wanted to try and console him. He thought by talking nice to him, bending down and getting into his face... will somehow help. Um, no... don't do that Mr. Man that thinks he's a dog whisperer.
Boomer, with his head low, tail high, swooped behind the man to get a quick sniff and went into high Boom Bark mode once again. Okay, we're done here... I took him to another part of the park where Boomer contined to track the man visually and bark in his direction.
Lo and behold... I started to do the same, thinking that My Boom is trying to tell me something. I could not recall seeing the man with a dog when Boomer had him stationed nor could I see him with one when I removed ourselves from the situation. A completely uneasy feeling crept up inside me. Maybe it was the fears and concerns of my past working in animal rescue that brought up the feelings of maybe he was there to scope out the dog park... to take a dog to sell to a laboratory. Yes, that does happen... it is NOT an urban legend.
Boomer refused to calm down after all this. His ridge was up constantly and he was beginning to see others as adversaries for the just in case factor. I'm not sure, but we unfortunately left the park to go wait for our little Lulu. She hadn't arrived to the park at this point. What an ordeal!!
So Miss Lulu arrived and we go back into the park. Looking back, I think the air was muddled with some sort of negative energy because both dogs were just a little off... between Boomer's ordeal and both thinking they need to protect Miracle, we need to leave once again.
But that's okay and all good. We walked to the park where Miracle played for a bit then we went for ice cream and frozen yogurt. OKAY, what can possibly happen that is not easily fixed with some relaxation, frozen yogurt and ice cream??? Hollah!!!
Boomer and Lulu got to play a little bit together outside the stores and I think I realized that Boomer found his play match. He is such a verbal little soul and Lulu can handle it. I think it's a bit vice versa as well. He felt so much more comfortable romping around with her and that made me feel much more comfortable as well.
The only other dog that Boomer feels comfortable playing ALL OUT with is his little Chug cousin, Abbey Rose. SHE is a GINORMOUS dog in a tiny dog body and kicks some Boomer butt!!!