It’s been some time since I last blogged. My shortfall in blogging can’t be correlated with a lack of excitement around Pongo because there is still plenty of that! But, it has to do with my lack of time lately. Sadly when life gets crazy, blogging is put on the back-burner. I just couldn’t let today’s success of a day go by without sharing. Today’s agenda included one of Pongo’s favorite things to do: Nose Work class and then a trip out to the Valley to visit Miss Sue and her crew.
We are in the process of getting ready for the NW2 (Nose Work 2) trial in May. In NW2, the scent of anise is introduced. There can be up to 2 hides of either birch or anise or one of each scent. The dogs also have to work around distractions such as toys and concealed doggie snacks. After the first couple of practices with toy and food distractions, Pongo has been a rock star about ignoring them and sticking to his job. He loves his Nose Work job and we love watching the wheels turn as he tracks down those scents!
Photo courtesy of Mike Lewis
But, the biggest event of the day was going to visit Miss Sue and her crew of 5, yes you did read that right, 5 dogs. Miss Sue and her husband, Ken are going to care for Pongo while we are cruising the Panama Canal later this winter. Both Steve and I have some anxiety around doggie meet and greets when it comes to Pongo. It can be hit or miss with him and we really wanted this to work. We put our trust and faith into Miss Sue and Ken when it came to “the plan.”
When we arrived, there were five furry faces peeking at us from behind a gate. My first thought was, “Holy crap! That’s a lot of dogs! How is this going to work?” I quickly let that doubt go because I didn’t want Pongo picking up on my anxiety. Steve and I went in the house, sans Pongo, to meet Ken and hear how they wanted the meet and greet to proceed. The plan was to bring Pongo in and let him explore the house while the other dogs waited outside. One by one, the dogs would then come in to meet Pongo.
Steve brought Pongo in, past the 5 dogs peeking at him through the gate with absolutely NO reaction, and unleashed him to explore. And, explore he did! His nose was working overtime as he took in the all the new smells. He was very appropriate in meeting one of their two cats but was a little too interested in the parrot squawking at him from underneath a blanket covered cage.
Then it was time to meet the dogs. The first meet and greet between Pongo and one of Miss Sue’s dogs went well. He looked a little stressed but held it together. Another dog was let into the house and that greeting went well too. Steve and I did notice that Pongo’s stress level was rising some as he moved between greeting the dogs and checking in with us. Steve and I decided it was best to take ourselves out of the equation so the final three doggie greetings would go smoothly. We stepped outside and pressed our ears to the door, in hopes of catching tidbits of how things were going inside. After a good 10 minutes of meeting everyone inside and then some playtime outside, we came to realize that all of our anxiety was unfounded; Pongo was going to be OK.
We learned that we have to trust the process and just do some legwork when it comes to Pongo meeting other dogs. As much as I would love to be able to have him jump out of the car and walk into a house five dogs full, it just is not going to happen. What works for some dogs, does not work for Pongo and dwelling on the “what ifs…” is not going to move us forward. He is a unique little guy who filled our hearts with joy and made us so proud today!
And, all the excitement of today has left our sweet boy beyond exhausted!