I know that I've spent the last couple weeks celebrating the thaw and the warmer temperatures, but sometimes you don't know what you've til it's gone, right?
I don't really want to get snow again--I love seeing the sun again. I love not having to skate from my front door to the dumpster. I love being able to wear the pair of shoes I plan to teach in to school instead of having to wear practical shoes to get across the parking lot and then change them in my office. I love spending less time putting on layers to be able to walk than I actually spend walking. Spring can stay.
But there are two big reasons I miss the snow.
Poop. My neighbors are gross. The sidewalks weren't shoveled once this winter, so Barley and I walked in the street. But my neighbors let their dogs out in front of their homes and let them poop and never cleaned it up. So now that the snow and ice is gone, the sidewalks are walkable again--except they are covered in poop. Some of it is flattened from being under layers of snow and ice for two months. Some of it looks relatively fresh. Barley and I are still finding ourselves walking the street for large sections of our walk. It's disgusting and I can't enjoy the birds and the sun and the blue sky when I'm busy watching my step and dodging land mines.
|Barley wants to make rude faces at our neighbors. I do, too.|
Other dogs. Barley agrees with me on this one. We had the entire neighborhood--limited as it was--to ourselves for 2.5 months. We didn't see other people or other dogs or even birds and squirrels. The first time we saw people out in their yards this month, Barley started growling. Other dogs on trails are fine. Barley doesn't expect to see them in specific spots, so it's easy to get her focused on me. In our neighborhood, though, she knows where every single dog lives and looks for them every single time we walk by. In the winter, they are never ever out, so we can relax a little more and I still say, "What's that?" when we walk by and she looks for them, but I don't have to reinforce with treats as often. In the spring, we have to go back to square one and start treating every time she even thinks she needs a dog. It's hard to get back into that after a couple months of it just being us in our world.
|"I think something has dared to enter my kingdom! Off with it's head!"|
Her nemesis, Zoe--a boxer mix, has reappeared. When I first got Barley, Zoe was very good about staying in her yard. There is a track around her yard from where she would run circles around the house barking like crazy, but never leaving her yard. In the last year, Zoe has started leaving her yard to get to Barley. When the kids are out, they grab her and bring her up onto the porch before we get anywhere close. If the adults are outside, they just stand there and watch as I try to get their dog away from Barley. (Is it just me or is there something wrong with that picture?) This week, Zoe was out on her own--I told her to stay and praised her when she stopped at the edge of the sidewalk (and we had moved to the other side of the road) and a neighbor across the street meandered down to the end of his driveway in case she tried to approach us.
Yesterday, we were out enjoying a beautiful sunny walk. Then I heard shouting. I had a hoodie on and didn't have great peripheral vision, so I turned around just in time to see a large dog darting through traffic towards us. A young guy was chasing him. I had my Spray Shield, but I couldn't spray the dog and send him back out into traffic, so I had Barley sit while I still had time to get her focus before the dog got to us. She was fine while it sniffed her back and tail, but as soon as it tried to sniff her face she snapped. Then the dog started circling us and snapping--luckily, the guy made it to us at that same moment and the dog started dodging him instead. As soon as he had the dog's collar, we took off. Barley had her tail and ears down and had lost all the pep in her step. Then a minute later a dump truck pulled up alongside the sidewalk and made lots of noise. Barley basically shut down. When we got home, she went right into the spare bedroom and curled up in the bed. I couldn't even get her to get out of the bed to go potty before I went to work. By the time I got home, she was back to her normal self and we got a nice little walk on a different route, so she's fine now. But it's exhausting.
|Snuggling with Soth is much more pleasant that dealing with other dogs.|
I'm so happy to have sunshine again and I love having more time to walk in the evening, but I'm not very good at sharing the neighborhood with other living things.