May 5, 2010

Furry Scurry

Every year, our local shelter, Dumb Friends League, holds a fundraising event called the Furry Scurry. It's really a sight – thousands of people and dogs walking together through the park. Thousands. Of dogs.

As you know, one of Ruby's biggest challenges is learning how to control herself around other dogs. I'll be honest with you, I was of two minds when I thought about bringing her to this event: 1) It's going to be a disaster. 2) It'll be so overwhelming, she'll just go with the flow.

Either way, it would be a valuable (and unique) training opportunity, so we decided to go.

When we arrived, she could see, smell, and hear all the hubbub in the distance, so I thought it would be good to do a little basic training before we hit the big time.

And she was great, she listened, she was her awesome Ruby self. Then we made our way to the route and the closer we got, the more excited she became. Of course, the second she spied all the dogs, she made a break for it – no pix, but I do have the leash burn to prove it.

How to describe her level of exuberance? Not a politician on the campaign trail...that's apathetic in comparison...

Ah! It was the canine equivalent of big dinners at my grandmother's house when I was a kid. In order to get to the meatballs, you had to make your way through the gauntlet of love – your own grandparents, other people's grandparents, your aunts, uncles and cousins – kissing, hugging, and embracing everyone along the way. Ruby was like my entire gigantic, affectionate Italian family rolled up into one exhilarated yellow puppy, rushing around, pinching all the other puppies' chubby cheeks.

So, yes, lots of this. I could have been wearing a bacon suit with a cheese hat, she couldn't have cared less about me.

Undeterred, I persisted. The crowd thinned for a moment; this was my chance to get her attention.

Bingo. I had her.

And then? Check this out:

Look at that droopy leash. Droopy leash! With two long-lost cousins just inches away! Unbelievable. I know it may not look like much to you, but the utter joy, excitement, and encouragement I get from this photo – seeing her glance at the dog but making the choice to just walk right by him – is indescribable.

Already feeling triumphant, we approached the starting line. A look ahead,

and a look behind. This was my first Furry Scurry and the amount of people and dogs is really unbelievable.

Ruby actually wound up being pretty good as we walked with the masses. Occasionally somedog or another would strike her fancy, but for the most part, she stayed the course.

I walked Kiva for most of the route. She was my perfect girl, as always.

A shot with both of my girls. The little imp turned around, of course.

I'm really glad we decided to go. I'm working hard on getting her used to being around other dogs without going crazy and I feel we made some progress here. And it was just so much fun being around all the dogs.

A few more shots of the day...

A volunteer was handing out poop bags at the finish line. Very cute.


Nicole said...

Wow, what a great event! And the distractions! Sounds like Ruby did great once got the hang of things. Great job, Ruby!!

♥♥♥ The OP Pack ♥♥♥ said...

You should be very proud of both Ruby and yourself. That was a great test for her. So many people, so many pups - we think we see one of us there too:)

Woos - Phantom, Thunder, and Ciara

Lori Jablons said...

This looks like so much fun! Also, very impressed by the droopy leash photo! You are my idol. :)

Khyra The Siberian Husky And Sometimes Her Mom said...

I saw me!

I saw me!

Well, at least my walker by proxy!

Thanks fur sharing this great event with us!

So many khool khanines AND pikhs!


Anonymous said...

What a great post and a great event! Ruby did so well with all of those distractions and wet noses!

Lisa, Ellie and Hosta said...

WOW, what a neat event! I love your description of her greeting people! THat totally made me laugh! :D YAY for the droopy lead!!

Becky said...

Sounds like a great event. Love the name -- furry scurry - how fitting.

*misskitty* said...

oh my goodness - so many people and doggies and distractions! Its wonderful to see how much she has learnt :) Btw Happy belated Birthday to Miss Ruby!

1000 Goldens said...

I am so proud of Ruby and happy for her Mom! What a great accomplishment :) And I could cry reading your sweet description of dinner at Grandma's...

Anonymous said...

Well, you know I loved this post. Your comparison of Ruby and your grandmother's dinner was perfect. How I would love some of her meatballs right now! :)
Great job Ruby!

Kari in WeHo said...

sorry she was being so excited but it looks like a fun event!

Alphini's Puppy Raiser said...

Ruby, I'm SO proud of you! I totally get that the Droopy Leash is a Giant Accomplishment! I had to work extremely hard on that with our 1st puppy...Alfie (so far) has been easier!

Whidbey Woman said...

What a great event to go to for training purposes.... many distractions of the tail wagging kind! Loved hearing about Ruby's progress as the minutes progressed. Good job!

Raiser Erin said...

YAY for Droppy Leashes!!!!! I remember when Freya first allowed her leash to be relaxed around other dogs. Such a wonderful feeling! Congrats to you and Ruby!!!

Carly Findlay said...

Good girl, Ruby.
Lots of people and dogs and Ruby did a great job.