Today was a nice, relatively warm Sunday - with the snow still pretty on the fields, but no ice on the road - so I took him out for a walk.
|There's got to be some grass under here somewhere.|
|Checking it out.|
|Wonder who lives here and if they keep any grass about the place?|
|Actually he looked much more alarmed than this.|
|Here I am, safe behind George.|
We continued our walk down a lane, George very much on edge with the sheep now behind us. We came upon two horses in a paddock. George whinnied at them but remained much more concerned about the sheep.
After we'd turned back toward home, George's worry began to subside. Finally I thought he was calm enough to practice a couple of things.
We practiced yielding his shoulder over at the walk. Quite good. And we practiced the duckling walk, i.e. I am the mother duck, and he is the duckling, and he walks nicely tucked into my shadow. Well, sort of. The deal is that he can walk a little ahead of me if he wants, but if I feel put upon and dragged about, I go on strike. As soon as I feel uncomfortable, I stop in my tracks and repeat, "Duckling!" in an annoying voice. After a couple of repetitions, George turns his head back toward me, quite kindly, and then we continue walking side by side.
Back in the pasture, I realized our excursion had restored me somewhat into George's good graces. After I released George, Bridget came over and was very affectionate towards me. George returned to shoo her off. She crept back and was banished a few times. Finally George, almost grudgingly, put me next to him and stood with me by his shoulder.
|She may not be good for much, but dammit, she's mine.|
I guess our walk restored our connection a little bit. George is a mighty complex guy, who doesn't hesitate to show his annoyance, but who nevertheless does not wear his heart on his sleeve. I really think he feels things quite deeply and doesn't always know what to do about it. We need to go for walks more often.
p.s. Today Bridget mastered the technique of completely undoing my anorak zipper.