Sunday, December 19, 2010

Another Dog Story

Friday night, on my way to a birthday party, on an eastbound College streetcar...

Near the back of the streetcar, a Husky lay across a set of two seats.  The dog's owner was sitting in the next set of seats back, holding the end of a thick leash.  The streetcar was quite full.  People stood in the aisle.  It wasn't long before one of the passengers, a silver-haired woman, demanded that the dog's owner move her dog off the seats.

The dog was persuaded to climb down, and the silver-haired woman took the window seat.  The dog immediately propped her front paws up on the aisle seat to begin affectionately licking the woman's left cheek and ear.  The owner made no effort to restrain her pet.  All of us who were watching the drama unfold in our peripheral vision smiled nervously into our coat collars.  Fortunately the sliver-haired woman smiled too.

Once the dog had had its fill of making friends, I figured I may as well take the aisle seat.  The dog made herself comfortable lying against my foot, which was fine by me. We settled in a cozy lull as the streetcar trundled along.  I mused about how unusual it was to spend time with such a large dog, relative to the condo-sized dogs that dominate my neighbourhood.

At the next stop, a young woman got on with a Great Dane.  BIG dog.  Big, but well trained and perfectly behaved.  It sat quietly by its owner a few feet from the Husky.

The Husky alerted to the new dog, and started showing signs of agitation.  She strained to the end of her leash, and when she couldn't go any further, she started shaking her head and rubbing her nose against the side of my seat, trying to get her muzzle off.

Unable to free herself, she began to yip.  The yipping soon morphed into shrill barking.  Each bark started with a low growl then made a very sharp crescendo.   Every time the Husky barked, my whole body flinched involuntarily.  

The Great Dane rolled her big, blue eyes up nervously to see how her owner was reacting.  The young woman stayed calm.  The Great Dane scooted back as far away from the Husky as possible, then stuck her big, box-like nose behind her owner's back, hiding her face like a shy child.

I thought of The Dog Whisperer, who says that if you want to control a dog, you have to project calm, centred energy.  The Husky's owner had obviously never heard of The Dog Whisperer.  She hissed at the Husky: "Princess!  Shush!"  Princess did not shush.  After a few useless, whispered repetitions, the owner raised her voice.  "Shut up Princess!  Princess, shut UP!"

The Great Dane mournfully peeked out from behind her owner's coat, and then stuck her head back into hiding.  The next eternity sounded like this.



-bbbbrrrrrrrrggggrrrrrrROWF!  ROWF!


And so on and so forth.  Just when I was feeling thoroughly traumatized from all the shouting and barking, Princess and her owner got off the streetcar.  Thank God.  The Great Dane emerged from hiding, but continued to look worried, until her stop came up a few minutes later.  And then all was quiet and good.

I may start carrying a pair of earplugs in my purse.  The don't weigh anything and they would have come in so handy that day, and at many other times.


DarcKnyt said...

I don't know if I've ever seen a pet on a streetcar/train before. I've seen guide dogs, of course, but they're a different case.

Interesting scenario. Ear plugs would be useful for human noise too, I'd think. ;)

Jameil said...

I'm amazed they let dogs that big on the streetcar! Sheesh!

Warped Mind of Ron said...

Dogs are very much like kids and the "parents" will make them who they are either way.

Kate said...

I absolutely adore Great Danes.

Juniper said...

Haha that's one of the things that would put me off having a Husky - their reputation for 'vocalising'!

Would love a Great Dane, but it's never going to happen in this house - need rooms 3 times the size!

Jenski said...

The barking and whining must have been a bit much. I'm glad the husky owner could at least keep a hold of the dog!

DarcsFalcon said...

Wow, dogs on a streetcar! I don't think I knew people could take pets on them like that.

How interesting to read of a Great Dane almost cowering like that. You'd think the bigger dog would be more assertive.

I know Huskies can be yippy - I once had a neighbor who had 2 many, many years ago. He locked the poor things on a tiny porch one summer and they shed so bad my little neighboring patch of lawn looked like a ski resort.