I am interrupting your scheduled book review with a harrowing tale:
Yesterday evening we took Silas out to the park and went to drop off the recycling. When we pulled back into the garage, I casually let Silas out of the car. The garage door was still up. Instead of making a beeline directly for the house door, like he always does, he bolted for the sidewalk. No leash, because, complacently, I knew that he would go straight for the house.
My terror was not that he would run out into the road. We’re on a quiet street, and Silas is petrified by cars. No, he had bolted out the garage door because, unbeknownst to me, a lady was walking her tiny pug down the sidewalk. As I’ve mentioned, Silas’s reactions to strangers are unpredictable. If you startle him, he will bark at you. A lot. Loudly. I *knew* that he was going to bark at that tiny, immaculately coiffed, well-dressed lady with her little pug, and he was going to terrify her. Then she was going to terrify him even more by, understandably, screaming or running or something. Instantly, I had envisioned the complete scenario, all the way to the point that she called animal control on me.
What really happened was this: Silas ran toward the lady. She started getting edgy, as you do, so I called out for him, apologized, and said he was friendly but a little nervous. (Sorry, my DINOS friends, but when somebody is about to pick up their dog and run for it you have to say something. I’ll do better.) Silas slowed down when I called, giving me time to catch up. I didn’t have a leash, but I could grab him if things turned south. Then he walked up to the lady, let her pet him, let her pug put its head all up in his business, and did his whole “I am sweet! I am shy! Love me!” routine. Partway through this my husband brought the leash over, and I clipped Silas in. I apologized profusely and pointed out that Silas was terrified of the sidewalk and that I never dreamed he would go over there. (Lesson learned.) Then I thanked her for being so nice to him. I hope I adequately conveyed my intense mortification and my gratitude that she really handled it perfectly.
Well, meeting the nice lady and the pug inspired Silas with a deep curiosity about what else might be out there. So he walked half way around the block. In a regular, curious, who-else-peed-on-this-bush way. Then he came to his senses and bolted into the front entrance to our townhouses.
Moral of this story: owner bad bad bad. Silas good good good.
HE WALKED ON THE SIDEWALK, PEOPLE.