Libra Girl and the… Bear?

Most mornings, my husband gets my daughter out the door for school and I sleep in a bit until its time to wake up my son and do home school with him. This morning, there was a knock at my bedroom door at the ungodly hour of 7:35. I looked at the clock and said, “What is it?”

I heard this small, scared voice that I don’t normally hear from my teenagers anymore say, “Mom, can you give me a ride to school?”

I told my daughter to come in and asked her why she missed the bus and she looked pale and just terrified. She proceeded to explain that there was no one at the bus stop with her this morning and this strange dog showed up and tried to attack her so she ran home with her cello in one hand, back pack in the other and then when the dog was gone, she went go head back out to the bus and she saw the bus go by just as she picked up her cello again.

So I said, “Okay, let me get my shoes on and I will take you to school.”

On the way to school, I quizzed her about this strange dog. This is not the first time a dog has approached my daughter and scared the crap out of her, but the last time, the dog belonged to some folks who were new to the neighborhood and had no idea that their fenced in yard had a gap in it big enough for their mastiff to get through. The dog did not like children and was running around the neighborhood one morning scaring the pants off every kid he could find. I had a talk with them and explained what happened, they apologized, found the gap in their fence and fixed it, and I have never seen the dog wandering around off lead again.

Today, however, my daughter said this new dog was bigger than Reilly and was a darker brown than the previous dog. I said, “Are you sure it was a dog?” and she said, “No.” so the next thought that ran through my mind was, ‘Oh my GOD! My daughter saw a bear cub! Mama could not have been far behind!’

In my neck of the woods, and with the winter we have had, it has not been uncommon to see deer and bears in the neighborhood scavenging for food. Normally though, you don’t see bears around until mid-afternoon when the neighborhood is all but emptied of traffic on the roads, so I ruled this out and then it hit me.

My daughter had not been scared by a bear, but by our local neighborhood weird phenomenon.

One of my neighbors owns a border collie. We have decent sized yards, but they aren’t big enough to keep a border collie entertained so she walks this dog several times a day. I haven’t seen her out walking her dog lately, so I figured they had either moved, or she had found a more appropriate placement for the dog and then about a month ago I noticed that my dog was barking at him as he walked past our house. I didn’t see the owner, so I tried to approach him and get his tags so I could call his owner, and he growled and would not allow me to come near him.

About 15 minutes later, Reilly started barking again and I looked to see that the border collie was walking past, heading back down the sidewalk in the opposite direction.

Soon it became a habit.

I would see this dog walk by our house at the exact same time every day, and then walk right back past our house the other way… and then it hit me.

Border collies are very smart dogs and they are also super hyperactive. If they don’t stay active they get destructive and they will do things like reach into your canned goods and build pyramids out of your green giant veggies… no, I am seriously not kidding about that.

She had to be leaving him out in the yard during the day while she was gone so that he wouldn’t destroy the house and the dog had found a way out of the yard. He was sticking to the sidewalks and seemed to be following the exact same path and schedule that he used when he walked with his owner…

The dog was taking himself for his daily walks!

She used to walk him several times a day, so I suspect that he took himself for his morning walk this morning and my daughter probably tried to bother him while he was taking his morning jog down the sidewalk. No harm, no foul.

But now.. I’m tempted to buy an iPod and some running shoes for my neighbor’s dog so that the kids learn to recognize when he’s “in the zone”.