Ellen and Will were visiting from wisconsin. they'd been here the summer before, when will was just six or seven years old, and will had had boscoe and riley completely under his control. he's a fearless little guy, and even though riley was his usual skittish and unpredictable self, Will was unperturbed.
he loaded the pockets of his little plaid trousers with treats and went out into the yard. the dogs followed closely everywhere he went.
ellen and steve and doug and i watched from the porch. will marched around the yard as though he didn't know that two big dogs were glued to his heels, watching his every move. then he wheeled around. "Sit!" he commanded. and both dogbutts hit the pavement in double-time.
will laughed uproariously and handed out treats, and then marched around the yard again. the whole visit went swimmingly.
so when will and ellen came back for a return visit a few months later, i wasn't as vigilant with riley as i should have been. i figured he'd remember will, and that all would be well. big mistake on my part.
will was bigger, and louder, and faster--all the things that terrify riley.
he ran into our house and squealed, skidding to a stop at the baby gate that kept the dogs penned in the kitchen.
riley went ballistic, barking and throwing himself at the gate. will got very quiet. i hushed riley and put the leash on him and let the dogs out of the kitchen. we all went upstairs, but i kept riley on a short leash, just in case. what happened next was so fast i'm not sure i saw it all. riley curled up in his dog bed, will shrieked and threw himself at riley in ebullience and love, and riley let loose toward will with a volley of barks that came entirely too close to will's sweet little face for comfort.
i dragged riley back, ellen grabbed will, nobody was hurt, but we were all shaken, me most of all. my dog could have bitten my friend's little boy. what a terrifying thought. i couldn't get it out of my head. riley could have hurt will. i just kept thinking, over and over, how lucky we were and how stupid i was.
there were no other incidents during that visit. we all went for a walk around the lake, and riley kind of growled at will every now and then, but there was no more barking and no more lunging.
still, after they got in the car and headed back to wisconsin, i sat down and thought about it. i had to do something. i'd been lucky until now. but i couldn't rely on luck anymore. my dog had some behavioral problems, and if he didn't improve, there could be serious repercussions.
i had to do something. i had to get riley to make some big changes.
TO BE CONTINUED
Read part two here
I Am a Jewel, Gonna Shine on You
1 hour ago