Springtime for Bosco

It’s spring, and that’s bringing out the frisky in Bosco. He’s spent the last two weeks romping around. It’s time to push him to his next level of confidence, and his rompiness is really helping him.

Two weeks ago he went to a spring break play date at his school. He met a lot of new dogs and people, with very little anxiety. He even walked through an obstacle course. I’m not saying he broke any speed records – or that Robyn didn’t cheat and lift him onto some platforms.  But he went through hoops and jumped over a hay bale. I couldn’t believe he did that.

And after that, he was still relaxed enough to pose for his spring break photo.

This is the face of a guy who doesn’t understand why there’s a fake crab between his toes, when he got in trouble for trying to eat the fake starfish.

Last weekend I took him on a walk with a meetup group to walk the Saucon Rails to Trails path. Neither one of us is particularly good with new people, and he was more than a little nervous when we started – enough to cause some folks to misinterpret him. For the first bit, people were afraid to approach him, and they kept their dogs far away. But then Bosco hit his groove (stopping to poop helped), and he won everyone over. When I told his story, they were amazed that the dog before them has overcome all that he has.

Bosco hasn’t been rompy about everything. As we walked around the neighborhood on Saturday morning, we went right past a bunny. Bosco is not familiar with bunnies. It shot away from us, but stopped about ten feet away. I was more than a little concerned – we haven’t had enough situations to allow me to gauge his prey drive, so I tightened my grip on his leash and hoped I could hold on.

Bosco looked at the bunny, then turned to me. His face said, “Something way deep inside of me is telling me I should do something about this. But I don’t really feel like it. Do I have to?” Of course the answer was no, and we moseyed away from a very confused rabbit.

This weekend was gorgeous, so we did two big walks. Saturday’s walk was in Lehigh Parkway, and he grinned the whole time. There was even a little bit of of romping in tall grass.

Today we went back to Rails to Trails and took a huge walk. We learned two things: I need new shoes, and Bosco doesn’t like a walk that’s over two miles.  Since we did four miles, let’s just say there was some grumbling. Since a recent weigh-in revealed that he’s now up to 82 pounds (!!!!!), I told him to hush up and walk. And he did, trailing behind me like a cranky little kid. I’m pretty sure if he could have gotten hold of my cell phone, he’d have tried to call a cab. This is how he looked 10 minutes after we got home.

The rompy tank is empty.


At his school's playdate; smiling because someone is telling him he is handsome.

At his school’s playdate; smiling because someone is telling him how handsome he is.

We’ve been doing some major celebrating this week. Bosco’s pooping in the yard.

So maybe that doesn’t scream cake and ice cream to you. But let me add this tidbit – until last week, he was afraid to even be out there. There are sounds coming from outside of the fence, and that makes him jumpy. It’s hard to poop when you’re jumpy.

But he decided this week that it’s quiet enough at 6 am to hunker down and git r done.

Something has changed for him in the last few weeks.  First reactions have always been a huge W.T.F., complete with freezing or attempting to flee. His reaction to new things is different now. He’s not exactly shooting forward to feel the rush – but he is staying put to see what happens next.

A couple of weeks ago, I bought this enormous piece of furniture, and had to bribe friends to help me get it in my house. And somehow I managed to not have to lift anything. Yay. Anyway, one friend brought his toddler daughter with him. She’s adorable, and at the “squawk and grab it” part of her life. Her dad says that she loves dogs, and thought she’d get a kick out of Bosco. And she did. At least twice her size, he must have looked like a huge carnival stuffed animal.

It was real clear real fast that Bosco’s never seen tiny children. Here’s an artist rendition of the event:


A few days later, we saw a neighbor carrying a child. Bosco seemed surprised and a little sad that there was no squealing and reaching.  The next week, Auntie Laura stopped by with her sons.  They’re small, but they are very experienced dog people. Even though he was nervous, Bosco sat down to get his petting. One boy gave a couple perfunctory pats, then climbed in the car and asked to go to Target. The other boy stood in front of Bosco, and they stared into each others faces. They were telling each other, “yeah, we can just stand here and be good with each other.”

He’s also expanding his trust/affection circle. Last month I had to go on a business trip, and he stayed at Robyn and Bill’s hotel. I got voicemails about how playful he was while he was there. Laura was on the same trip, and we checked Bosco out of the hotel before taking her home. In the past, he would have been on the floor in the back of the car. This time, he was trying to squeeze himself between the front seats, nudging and poking at her for some Bosco loving.

He’s also getting better about loud and unfamiliar places. I didn’t realize last Saturday was opening day of fishing season, and that the park would be packed. He was thrilled to be there.  But I did discover that he will hip check me into a pile of horse flop to avoid stepping in it himself.

Bosco napping after a big walk in a crowded park.

Bosco napping after a big walk in a crowded park.

Yesterday in the park, a woman was teaching her daughter to fly a kite. It was a flashy and colorful kite, and looked kind of like a huge bird. I expected Bosco to shy away and try to leave. But he stood there watching for a few minutes. When the kite went high, his ears went up. He turned his head to follow it as it swooped around. When it crashed, his ears flattened. And then they’d slowly come up again, as the kite rose back into the sky.

W.T.F. is still in his vocabulary. But it’s a different acronym now.  It’s ….Well…….(long pause for analysis) …….That’s fine.