|When there’s too much change, even the good kind, Gavin gets a stressy belly and becomes a full-on grass-munching moo-cow. I can usually prevent it by proactively playing his favorite games, running through fun training exercises, or pulling something from his arsenal of anxiety-reducing stuff (all approved or recommended by our trusted veterinarians.)
But, despite my best efforts Saturday morning, Gavin couldn’t stop incessantly eating weeds and grass on our walk. I worried about pesticides and the potential harmfulness of the sod itself so, I went to do the only thing that really relaxes him, sit on the ground next to him.
We were in a spot where people often leave poop behind, so I was trying to quickly assess the ground to prevent adding absolute ickiness to the situation when a car pulled up, and a man asked me something about where the river was. I said, “My dog is struggling right now, I’m sorry, but I can’t help.” The man yelled/said something that didn’t sound nice, which didn’t make me feel any better.
We sat in the parkway until Gavin bounced up on his own and resumed our walk (going home would seem like a great option, but that’s a change and stresses him out.) I watched Gavin the whole walk and worried about him, wondering what I missed that caused our voracious grass-eating setback while praising him for every sniff, wiggle, and relaxed body language.
The next day, I could feel the tension building in my belly as I prepared for our walk. I come from a long line of people who demonstrate love by worrying. But, the retired dog trainer in me knew that any strain and stress I carried with us would affect Gavin so, I sat down on his dog bed and invited him over.
I gave him a stuffie to kill, which he loves. As Gavin ripped and murmured and spit out pieces and parts of his Rose’ All Day toy, I relaxed because I was enjoying my dog enjoying himself. Our walk wasn’t perfect, but it was much better. Gavin carried his favorite toys and happily ate from his Bark Pouch dog treats when he walked away from the brush and greenery.
As we headed home, a lovely man stopped and asked me if the path continued for a long distance, in the direction he was walking. I told him that it did, but it was confusing to find, there were many underpasses, and it was much less populated, so I wouldn’t recommend walking it alone. The man thanked me and walked back towards downtown. And, I was happy about being able to help that time because I was able to let go.