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.