Training an active Chocolate Lab puppy had its challenges. Riley Timber was a good boy and listened well when it came to a treat in hand. However if he caught eye of a squirrel or a rabbit in the yard, he would somehow open the screen door and POW, gone. It would take hours to corral and coax him to be leashed up and walked home. So it was on purpose that we’d keep the main door closed and in theory he wouldn’t get away.
Life lesson: I’ve learned the difference between inconsistent boundaries and proper training. Training (or the lack there of) will win every time.
We had these elderly neighbors named Sal and Edna. They were the dearest of things that would toddle around the yard, pull weeds, mow, and plant fake flowers. They were active in their yard and were always eager to say hello or talk about their daughter’s successes. Over the years of frequent yard work, their posture seemed to change to more of a hunched look as to not allow them to stand straight anymore. Strange detail, but necessary to our story today.
One sunny day, Shawn and I were working outside and out popped Edna on a mission to accomplish something on her perfectly manicured lawn. Like a flash we saw our chocolate race by our peripheral and before we knew what happened we saw Riley making a mad dash toward Edna. Being the dog lover that she was, she didn’t look concerned at first but he gathered up his feet and pressed into full-on charge mode. The tongue, the wild eyes, the furry muscle mass all coming down the hill toward her little bent over frame on the sidewalk put a pit in my stomach. Embarrassed and frantic, we were on Riley’s heels yelling out all the normal commands we’d been working with him on. “Come” “Stop” “Riley Timber, HERE”. Of course with all that excitement and freedom-driven doggie determination, there was no obedient response. With a quick pop his paws went up on Edna’s chest and in trying to protect her face, she straightened her back, lost her balance, and fell right over backward.
OK, cyber friends and family, the account of this version of the story stirs up great talks around the Bentley table. Did Edna fall over backward because of her own doing? Maybe it was because she was 80 years old and lacked flexibility? Or quite possibly the real reason she fell was because of the sheer force of our 75 pound lab bounding down the slope and giving her a royal shove? The topic is always open for discussion and laughter.
With apologies, we were quick to gather up Riley from on top of Edna and helped her to her feet. Her glasses disheveled, she claimed she was fine. I mean, so much could have gone wrong. She could have blown a hip or fractured her feeble back or even landed on the sidewalk. Fortunately the grass took impact of her fall.
The next day we sent her flowers.
I’m sorry I knocked you over.
Love, Riley Timber