**No children were injured in this story. Only stunned. I checked.
This is a story about Chewy. Chewy is my Airedale puppy. I'm allowed to call him a puppy for 3 1/2 more weeks until he turns 2, at which age, I am told, he is supposed to calm down and finally "get it". By "get it" I mean stop chasing after every dog he sees (and bird and cat and anything else over 3" tall that moves.)
Now, I watch Cesar Millan (AKA The Dog Whisperer) religiously and I have really gotten a lot of tips from him on how to train Chewy and get him to do certain things but Chewy's Achilles heel (do dogs have Achilles heels?) is and always has been walks. He's a very sweet and gentle dog, and when he sees another dog, he just wants to play with it. But sometimes his approach is a little bit rough. Chewy seems to think that lunging at another dog (or its owner) is a great conversation opener, as in:
"HI! MY NAME'S CHEWY! I LIKE TO PLAY! YOU WANNA PLAY! OH HI! ARE YOU HIS OWNER? MY NAME'S CHEWY! YOU WANNA PET ME? PEOPLE LIKE TO PET ME AND SAY I'M CUTE AND YOU TOTALLY CAN IF YOU WANT TO! WHY ARE YOU RUNNING AWAY FROM ME?!?!? PLEASE COME BACK! I LOOOOOVE YOOOOOU!!!!"
So as you can see, Chewy has some issues and sometimes these issues cause people to literally run away from Chewy, (and me) dragging their dogs behind them. When this happens, unfortunately, Chewy does not react well. I don't want to be a mama who constantly makes excuses but I know he means no harm here, but once again, he gets carried away and barks and pulls and pretty much goes insane. It looks and sounds like a rabid wolf who is being held back by a rope and is really really hungry.
I have been using Cesar's moves on Chewy when he does this, and the last week or so he has made great improvements. Thank God for that or today could have gone very very badly.
This afternoon we took a walk down a pretty busy street that I usually avoid this time of day because there are a lot of people walking their dogs (and this is something that just plain gives me heartburn) but today I decided to go for it after a week of hard-core Cesar-ing.
We hadn't gone far when I see up ahead, a lady with her (small-ish) dog and (also small-ish) daughter.
As we are walking towards them, I think to myself "This scenario has the potential to go very very bad" but I march on. As we make our approach, the other dog seems OK and Chewy doesn't seem too excited, but then, Chewy does a mini-lunge (just a playful "Hi! I'm Chewy! Your little! I thought that....") and the other dog went all Cujo on Chewy (all 5 pounds to Chewy's 70 pounds) and Chewy jumped back as if to say "Hey man! That is sooo not Coool!" but as he jumped back, he fell directly into the 3 year old child who went down like a rock, flat on her back, onto the sidewalk.
I quickly grabbed Chewy and I think he was too stunned to even react because I made him lay down and he immediately did so instead of his usual half-lay-down-half-look-around-me-to catch-the-action. The girl is now crying, the mother is trying to comfort her and get her own dog under control and I'm standing there fighting the 2 emotions of:
"Oh my God Chewy just knocked this kid to the ground thank God she's not hurt. Here's your purple bunny kid please stop crying"
"Good boy Chewy for not being the one who started it!"
And I felt very very proud.