It's already started.
Loretta had her first experience with fireworks last night. The neighbors haven't started lighting them yet, but there was a big show a few blocks away which was quite loud. I had the balcony door ajar so that I could hear the beginning of it, and she was rather curious. So I took her out on the balcony because I could pop her back inside if she became upset. Fireworks light up before they pop; and I noticed that she would look toward them as they lit up and then turn away when they popped. When they got really basey, she became annoyed, and I popped her inside and stood out on the porch for about 20 seconds to watch. After a big series of boomers, I stepped inside. She was digging in the litter box (uncharacteristic, and I may need to note that this is her stress behavior). She didn't want her bone and was not really interested in getting petted. She did take a biscuit and did like getting groomed as long as she could face the windows. After the big finale, she needed to relieve badly.
We have a few more nights of this, and it's probably only going to get worse. The neighbors will start lighting them up this weekend, and it won't really stop until the Fourth. We will definitely not be going to hear the symphony in the park as I planned to do tomorrow.
I'd like for my dog to get a breather soon. I still haven't written up the text version of the crazy driver and the street crossing from our second weekend home. It upset me so much that I couldn't write about it, and then we had camp meeting and I've had no time. Camp meeting was not a bad experience, but it brought a lot of petting, eye contact, and syrupy speech; and I am having to really crack down on the work around people and be a lot harder than I want to be with her. The other day I was in a restaurant and asked someone not to pet her; and the person said quite offendedly, "Why not?" as if I was some kind of horrid person for not allowing my dog to be petted. I said, "Because I need her attention on me, and not on you." No matter how many times I have explained this in 16 years, it never gets easier emotionally. I've had to bodily remove the hands of people as they were saying, "I know you're not supposed to pet them, but I can't help myself." It's very hard to do such a thing with grace, and I feel like taking the wheel of their car and saying, "I know I'm not supposed to drive your car, but I just can't help myself." It's not so hard when it's a child; but I assume that adults should at least respect me enough to refrain because I ask them not to. Many do, and I'm very grateful for them. I wish the rest were as respectful. Unfortunately, some adults in this world disguise their selfishness as "concern for animals" or some such thing. If I could, I would try to communicate things like:
- When walking down the street, please say hello to the person and not the dog. The person will say hello back. The dog will yank the person off course because it's so excited about you, and the person will fall down and be injured, or at least jerk the dog and make you feel guilty or angry. It's an avoidable problem.
- Please tell me, not my dog, that my dog is beautiful. I appreciate the compliment, and one time is all that's necessary. The dog doesn't need to hear it 15 times with baby-talk "yeah" in between. She won't understand the words any of those times, and you will have just cost me five minutes of my trip and probably a bit of my orientation and patience in the process. If my dog is lying quietly, I'd like her to remain that way and not get up in response to your crooning.
- If you don't want my dog's nose in your plate, please dont' become her friend. Be mine. I'm very happy to control her; but my control is only as effective as your lack of flirtation with her.
- Yes, my dog is trained. She stays trained because she gets an evaluation every time we work. Please don't entice her to do anything other than her job. Her work requires an intense bond with her supervisor, and she really needs to prefer my praise to your attention.
In short, connect with the person and not the disability.