The Unintended Dog Whisperer

“You can do this!” I thought as I walked into our little rental cottage.

In the corner of the room, in a kennel too small for the accused, a fierce young German Shepard was waiting.  It was Sunday, Mother’s Day and there wasn’t a shelter open.  My son had called asking for transport assistance.  It seems that the dog had turned on him in the middle of the night and the fragile trust that was building between the newly acquainted owner and pet had been completely broken.

Let me be clear.  I am not a dog person and I am certainly not a big, aggressive dog person.  But my son called– a young man who tries to do most everything on his own so there I was staring my fears in the face.

“Well let’s take him for a walk then.”  I said.

There was immediate resistance from my normally brave son. “We can’t! He’ll attack us!”

“But we can’t leave him in there all day.  He has to go to the bathroom.”

Using my best high pitch doggy voice, the one I use when a strange dog approaches, I called, “Hey doggie, hey doggie…wanna go outside?”

For two and a half hours we walked the sad animal; taking care to go down streets without children or other pets as best we could. Once back in the cottage, my son wanted to get the dog back in the kennel straight away, but I insisted we keep him out a bit as a reward.  Nervously petting the dog’s ears down and continuously talking sweet, I was able to calm the shep and eventually he laid down putting his head on my lap.

What started out as a difficult day for an estranged mom, one who has all but lost a precious child twice, turned out to be affirming. I may have been less (much less) than a good mom during my post divorce years as I floundered about with half a mind, but since those days I’ve always answered the call.  “Hey mom….I have a little problem…” calls, which are generally the only kind I get these days.

I recalled several other instances when I had to rise and muster.  Those times when a bee thought my baby’s face was sweet and wouldn’t stop pestering.  In such instances I’d abandon my apprehension and bat the threat down as if I were strong and unafraid.

On this day I was a super mom– a dog whisperer.

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