Monday, July 2, 2012

Happy Birthday, Ranger!

Happy birthday to my faithful dog, Ranger! In honor of this important event, I planned a day of fun and festivities, pulling out all the stops to make it perfect for him.

This boils down to two basic components of celebration:

1. Going on walks.
2. Eating treats. 

Ranger is a very easy dog to please.

I took him for his first walk this afternoon. We went on our usual circuit, and Ranger happily tromped through the tall weeds, meandered around the bushes and sniffed every tree trunk within his reach. A lovely time it was. 

However, when we got home, I made a huge mistake. On the front porch, I disconnected his leash from his collar and sent him inside but left the front door open while I turned my back to coil up his lead.

Now for some dogs, that would be no big deal. They might ignore that open door and go about their business inside. They might decide to step out on the porch to watch the coiling at close range. They might wander out to enjoy some more fresh air in the front yard.  

But Ranger is not the kind of dog who does those things. 

Ranger is a bolter. 

Which means that when he sees an open door, he BOLTS. Translated, he uses split-second timing to assess the gap between himself and sweet freedom, turn on the gas and go flying past me at top speed. He has a keen ability to turn my moment of lackadaisical supervision into a high-energy unsupervised romp around the neighborhood.

So my beloved birthday boy ran past me at a gallop, and the next half hour flashed before my eyes as a stress-filled exercise in trying to get him to come back home. Not a fun prospect.

In desperation, I called out to him the most powerful words in his vocabulary: "Hey Ranger, you wanna go on a WALK?"

Normally, he would ignore my obviously pathetic attempt to regain control, and blast off for a solo adventure. 

But today, he took mercy on me. He halted in the middle of the driveway and looked back at me. He saw me standing with the leash in my hand, and I saw his brain stop to consider the idea. 

And then, oh happy day! My good-hearted Ranger dashed back up to my side and allowed me to clasp the leash back onto his collar. 


So I quickly found a daughter who was willing to drop what she was doing and take the obedient little boy on a another walk. After all, I promised. 

While they were out, I ran to the store to buy Ranger his gift. Yes, I found his favorite indulgence, Polka Dog Bakery treats from Target. On sale, no less. As you may recall from this, Ranger LOVES these tasty morsels and if you don't believe me, here is more evidence:

As soon as Ranger sees the treat, he immediately assumes the 'sit' position,
and still as a rock, his eyes lock onto the prize.
The treat moves closer. He dares not move a muscle. His eyes remain riveted.
"Ohhhhh! It smells so good!" His lower body is frozen in place, but his head and neck
strain upward to soak up that scent.
Slowly, gently, the treat is lowered to his mouth.
Slowly, gently, he opens up and takes it in his teeth.
"Ha! Finally! It's mine!!"
Crunch, crunch, crunch.
As we were feeding Ranger this treat, my daughter told me a story about what happened while I was at the store:

After taking Ranger on his second walk, my daughter made the same mistake I did: open front door, inattentive human, dog on the loose.

This time, Ranger did not turn back but instead, took off running to explore the neighborhood.

As he galloped back and forth, our black cat, Luna, prowled onto the scene. Having never seen Ranger put on this particular display, Luna was fascinated. He found a hiding space in some tall grasses, quite close to the sidewalk where Ranger was cruising back and forth, and watched with great interest. 

Within moments, Ranger saw Luna in the grass. As my daughter looked on, Ranger pranced up to Luna's hiding place, and oh so gently, he leaned down to look at Luna, and Luna stretched up to look at Ranger. They both kept leaning and looking until, softly and sweetly, their two tender little noses touched. 

Aww. So adorable. My daughter took this opportunity to swoop in and grab Ranger's tail, before he took off again. But isn't that just the most precious thing ever? 

And when she finished telling me that adorable story of Ranger and Luna, I decided that my birthday boy needed more treats. Break out the pepperoni!
"Pepperoni? For me?? Yes, I'd LOVE some!"
"Mmmmm. Smells delicious. I'm trying so hard to wait patiently."
"She told me 'Okay'...finally, I can open my mouth and take it!"
"So. Delicious. Is this a dream?"
"More, please?!"
Yes, we gave him more. Who could deny treats to this handsome and sorta-well-behaved boy?

Happy birthday, Ranger!

For more stories about birthdays, read:

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