The What-the-headed beast

There are times I wish we were being followed around by a video crew. I’m so busy managing Spencer and his potential reactions to the world around him that I miss many great photo and video ops.

A few days ago, we were out for a walk and were on a new street, which means Spencer didn’t yet know which gardens contained cats or which had either friendly or scary, barking dogs. 

We had just walked by a yard with a truly scary dog. I don’t worry about most of the dogs we pass because yards are surrounded by very high fences here. Poor Spencer gets stressed by being yelled at by strange dogs who are outraged that we are passing their property. (He doesn’t bark at other dogs across fences, just people.) Anyway, when I heard this dog barking aggressively behind its gate, I didn’t worry until I heard a scraping noise and saw that he had figured out there is a gap under the gate big enough for his head. Angry eyes were flashing and jaws snapping at our ankles as we passed. Being as socially inept as usual, Spencer put his nose down to sniff the other dog and nearly got his snout bitten off. He leapt away whining, so we moved on.

A few gates further down, we heard another dog come running, barking. This was a fence where the bottom 60 cm or so was solid and then there were vertical bars, so you could see into the garden. Hearing the other dog, Spencer eagerly stuck his nose between the bars to get a good look at the other dog and then recoiled like in a cartoon. The rather large dog racing towards us wasn’t slowed down by the Cone of Shame it was wielding. Frustrated not to be able to get its head near the gate, it whipped its head back and forth.

If Spencer were human, he would have been speechless. His body language and facial expression are said, “What he HECK is that thing?”He was frozen. Not quite panicked, but not relaxed either. He simply had no idea what to make of it.

Having no luck with the gate, the dog ran further down the fence line to wait for us. We continued up the sidewalk. When we reached the other dog, Spencer approached for another try. I burst out laughing. In an attempt to get close to us and intimidate us, the dog had its head turned upward to the sky with the cone flattened against the fence. When it barked, the cone acted like a trumpet directing the sound to the heavens.

Even I couldn’t see the dog’s head anymore, so you can imagine what this hybrid beast looked like to Spencer: dog from the shoulders down and cone-headed from the shoulders up. He sized it up for a few seconds and then literally turned tail, galloping up the street whimpering.

I know I should fear bad about him being scared, but I couldn’t help but laugh all the way home.


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