A week or two ago, I had a particularly bad day with Hurley in the shop. One of the ones that prompted me to decide that he needed to stay at home for a while. Needless to say, I was upset and feeling a bit defeated when I got home. So I did the one thing I know will always lift my spirits: Spending time with Sadie.
Sadie and I went for a walk. Sadie's not perfect on walks. She's my Excita-Bull and reacts to other dogs by barking. Barking Joyfully.
Having one dog with resource guarding issues leading to reactivity, another dog with quickly fading leash aggression issues and a third with a history of fear aggression, I know one bark from the next. Sadie's my joyful barker.
Sure enough, on our walk, we saw a couple dogs. She immediately went into joyful barking mode. Now, as a rule, I don't encourage any barking in relation to other dogs while on leashes. I know all too well how this can quickly turn into going over threshold and bam! leash aggression. We work on this with Sadie during our walks.
But on this particular day, it was so refreshing and soul-lifting to witness her expressing her joy through barking. Of course, I told her "That's Enough" (which we are diligently working on as her stop barking cue, with mixed results). So she sat at my side. Lifted her snout. Barked once. Turned her head the other way. Maintained her sit. Barked a second time. I couldn't help it. I laughed. And so there we were on the sidewalk, me laughing and her giving short, quick, joyful barks while in a perfect sit at my side.
I'm sure the people passing us by thought we were both nuts. But I didn't care because Sadie gave me what she always gives me when I need it: a reason to laugh.