Friday, 27 April 2012

A bit of a wuss...

For a big black dog, Mila is selectively brave. Leaves, birds, rabbits, hedgehogs, cats, dogs, soft toys, people, buses, rubbish trucks, and even thunder and fireworks aren’t scary at all (unless they are threatening to separate her from a beloved pig’s ear) and she is always eager to show us how good she is for not being frightened. It is the things that she doesn’t feel so comfortable about that crack me up.

Mila is afraid of motor scooters, which is understandable. The thing is, she is not afraid of motorbikes and she is not afraid of the scooter that we have at our house (and ride around on all the time). It doesn’t matter if a scooter is moving or parked, she doesn’t trust it and will give it as wide a berth as she possibly can. Motorbikes on the other hand, are interesting and she would like nothing more than to follow down the road – and the scooter we have at home will often get a sniff and a wee lick if we are down in the garage for long enough. She obviously knows what she likes in a motor vehicle and what she doesn’t and isn’t afraid to make her feelings known. 

Mila’s also scared of cyclists – but only when they have their lights on. There is a man who bikes home from work at about the time we go out for our evening walks every day. If the weather is a bit gloomy, or it is starting to get dark, he will have his bike light and a light attached to his helmet set to flash so that cars will see him. He is the same man that passes us on the way to work in the morning, without his lights on. In the morning everything is fine (as are all of the other cyclists we see) – but those evenings when the lights are on, Mila just can’t get a handle on what’s happening and will stop still during our walk to watch the man go past, not starting again until he is out of sight and all is well in the world. 

Unidentified objects that follow us on our walks can also make for interesting experiences. One day we were out on a walk on a particularly windy day and a plastic bag followed us along the road for a few metres before I managed to grab it and put it in a rubbish bin. In the time that the bag was rolling along behind us, Mila was very concerned, walking sideways and keeping as much distance between herself and the bag as her lead would allow and craning her neck to make sure that she could see where it was at all times. The same thing happens with rogue coke cans, newspapers and bottles – all of which are innocuous items on their own, but when they begin to move unassisted are a completely different story. 

The funniest thing I have seen so far, is Mila’s dislike of towels on the washing line. Towels in the cupboard, in the bathroom, on the clothes horse, and even drying her are all perfectly acceptable. But put them outside on the washing line – and she will have nothing to do with them.  As you can imagine, this one took me a little while to work out but eventually, it all fell into place. The area where Mila goes outside to toilet is in the same place as the clothesline and if the line is empty, or if there is anything else hanging there, we are more than happy to go outside and explore. But not towels. I see her expression change when I open the back door and she trots out onto the door step to assess the situation – she sees the towels, looks up at me and promptly heads back to her bed. I can’t explain it…but there it is. 

After a wee pat and some assuring words, we are merrily on our way again – until the next time one of these things attacks. Sometimes it’s tough being a greyhound in this big scary world y’know…

A ladder? Outside? You must be kidding me...

Monday, 23 April 2012

Back to Business

We are back. The holiday is over, the bags unpacked and we have been back at work for a full week, struggling to catch up on sleep, keep on top of our ridiculous pile of laundry, and re-establish some semblance of the routine that we had just started to master before we left. 

Our 4 weeks in Rarotonga and the United States absolutely flew by. We had an amazing time – and have come home with some awesome memories, a million photos and a few extra belongings. The usual story - spent too much, ate too much (which isn’t difficult in America) – only to return to have reality smack us over the head with its chores and work commitments and crappy weather..the bright spot of course being a catch up with family and friends, both human and animal.

If Mila’s reaction to our return is anything to go by, she had a great little vacation of her own and bonded really well with Mike’s mum, not missing us one bit! When we got home, nice and early on a very dreary Thursday morning, we were welcomed back with little more than a tail wag and a sniff (‘Oh, it’s just you...’ she says).  Not surprising really. From what I hear of Mila’s time out on the Kapiti Coast, there were lots of walks, lots of cuddles and many many opportunities to sniff out wild rabbits (not the lovely domestic ones that live with us...) and to let loose in the backyard. If that doesn’t sound like Greyhound Paradise, I don’t know what does. Apparently, Mila has also shown herself to be a bit of a train lover, making it part of her routine to race outside and listen to the freight trains go past every day.

Of course, Mila’s true loyalties shone through when Mike’s mum had to leave after having picked us up from the airport. As she walked out to her car, Mila raced past us to the window to watch intently as she drove away, lingering for an extra couple of minutes to see if she would be coming back before taking herself, a little sadly, off to bed. It was quite gorgeous really and it took more than a little bribery and a special trip to the park before Mila really perked up again. 

It seems that even Greyhounds get the post-holiday blues...
We’ve spent the rest of our week back trying to remember not to leave edible items out at Mila-height on the bench (failing twice so far, much to someone’s great delight) and doing our best to get back into the swing of 6 am walks (which Daylight Savings hasn’t really been helping us with). You see, there’s no such thing as jetlag to a Greyhound who hasn’t left the comfort of the Wellington region, so it has been a pretty quick turnaround for us there. There is really nothing better than having a personalised wake-up call (the early morning face sniff is particularly effective) to make sure you keep in line with your daily routine!