September 10, 2009


When he was a young'un, he loved people so much that he would do anything he could to get near them for pets. I remember coming home with a wrenched shoulder several times because he'd yank me - once, literally off my feet - when he saw someone walking nearby. I tried to anticipate it by wrapping the leash around my back and holding it in both hands, but that resulted in me being spun like a top.

As far as Apollo is concerned, people were put on earth to play with him, to give him bellyrubs and to babytalk him. It was his god-given right to go up to each and every one so they could endow this attention on him.

Somewhere along the way, it clicked in his little head that maybe it really wasn't a good idea to yank his poor foodlady becuase it made her kinda grumpy. I'd say roughly about a year or so ago - he's five now. Now, nine out of ten times, when we go walking, he will just look at anyone outside hopefully with those big ol' brown eyes and an eager wag of tail. If the person looks like she or he would like to pet him and if I'm not in a hurry, I'll stop and let Apollo let people give him loving.

The exception to this, however, seems to be people in uniforms. Back east, cops, mailmen, UPS delivery guys, etc would almost always stop to give him some TLC - and often, they would produce a hidden biscuit or treat to give to Apollo.

Because encounters with them are infrequent, I haven't been able to teach Apollo to ignore them unless I OKay it. Which brings me to yesterday's...we shall call it The Incident.

My apartment complex has a particular mailman that comes pretty regularly. He is the only mailman I've met that is actually afraid of dogs. Because of his fear, and because he's a nice old guy, I try to avoid going to the mailbox with Apollo when he's putting mail in the boxes.

Yesterday, while returning from a walk with Apollo, I noticed that he was in the back room, doing whatever it is mailmen do back there, so I figured it was okay for me to quickly check the mail.

When I had the mailbox door open, the mailman came out from the back room. Apollo saw him, and eagerly started toward him, tail wagging. The mailman squeaked (seriously - it was loud enough I heard that), and ducked back into the back room. Apollo tried to follow.

When I go walking with Apollo, I carry my apartment keys on a carabiner, which is in turn attached to the leash. Yesterday, the mailbox key was in the lock, the keys were still attached to the carabiner, which was still attached to the leash. And when Apollo tried to follow the mailman...

I now have a bent mail key and stretched out keyring.

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