“Some dreams keep on getting better. Gotta keep believin’ if you wanna know for sure.” –Eli Young Band
When I adopted Risa, I’d been looking for a dog I could take anywhere and do anything with. Anyone who knows Risa or has followed this blog long enough knows that Risa is NOT that type of dog. Whether due to poor genetics or lack of early good experiences with the wide world (likely both), Risa is not a go-anywhere-do-anything dog. She’s fearful and that restricts what we can do together.
Six years ago, I never would have believed I could take Risa to a baseball game. The crowds of people, the noises, the announcer, and the fact that she’d only be allowed inside when a multitude of other dogs were allowed in as well would have been far too much for her. I almost took her last year but I decided against it at the last minute. I didn’t feel she could have handled it. So we didn’t go.
This year, I won tickets to the game. I figured maybe it was a sign that she was ready. She’s been much more comfortable at dog trials, other dog events, and in general. I thought she was finally ready. I was still prepared to leave early if it was too overwhelming. Our relationship is built on trust and, if she felt like she needed to go home, I would have taken her home.
Our evening got off to a rocky start when we heard a loud banging noise on the way into the stadium. Loud noises really scare her and she was trembling with her tail tucked. I felt bad. . .but I knew it was only temporary. It took a while, but she was able to calm down again and not be so terrified.
We picked a good spot to sit though I did move back from the front row to the second. Partially because we were in the direct sunlight (and the seats made nice shade for Risa) but also because Ris couldn’t see the doggie traffic as well in the second row. She did bark a few times when other dogs started it. She barked at a kid who raced by and she growled at a Lab for standing in the walkway. 😉 But most people wouldn’t have noticed or thought anything of it. The crack of the bat startled her at first but she soon got used to it. The loud announcer didn’t even phase her. Even when the camera guy wearing all his equipment came over to video us for the big screen she simply stretched out to sniff and check him out. By the end of the night, she was trying to take a nap. If she weren’t comfortable, there’s no way she would have done that!
I never would have guessed, six years ago, that the dog I brought home could someday be a dog I could take anywhere. It’s not quite as simple as that, sure. There is a lot of work that still goes into taking Risa to crowded places like this. But we can do it and she can enjoy herself. I think we’ll do this again next year.