October 5, 2010


Our work as dog walkers has primarily been dominated by boy dogs. The originals — Ollie, Monty, Oshi, Perrito — were all part of our first group of dogs and all boys. Well, there was Quillette, the matriarch and Lucy, but they were all outnumbered by the boys. Then came Gemma and Rosie and Woobie and Alice and Paige and Zoe and while we added Wilson and Saber and Tyson, the girls kind of started to dominate.

So now, the regulars (Boys – Monty, Ollie, Oshi, Perrito, Tyson, Saber and me) are in a heated battle with the girls (Girls – Woobie, Rosie, Paige, Gemma and Alice). But those numbers just changed. Enter… Gertrude or Gertie. We’re almost even – boys to girls — and I can feel the dynamics change.

Don’t get me wrong. I really like girls. In fact, Gretchen says I’m better behaved around the girls than the boys — calmer, more gentlemanly, better manners — but I’m not sure I see it. Still, I’m open to her interpretation because frankly, I’ve never really thought about it before today. Why today? Well, because I spent time with two boys and two girls all on individual walks and I guess it just made me really ponder how girls change me.

The first walk, though, was with Ollie — a boy and one of our first clients. While I don’t see myself as different around Ollie because he’s a boy, he sure is excited to be around me. He jumps and leaps and gets all sing-songy whenever we arrive and then bounces his way through the walk like he’s walking on happiness clouds. He makes me laugh.

Of course, today I wasn’t laughing for long because we walked a new way down to the lake and I was sure that we were going to get to go swimming — the sun was out — but NO! Apparently there’s toxic algae in the lake and no one is supposed to go swimming. Bummer.

Was Ollie disappointed? Only because I was. He’s a good pal that way. So we walked away from the water and headed back to his house. Would I have behaved differently if I’d been walking with a girl? Perhaps. I may have not shown my disappointment as much.

Of course, if I’d been walking with Gemma, I know she would have been just as disappointed as I was. Not because she likes to go swimming — she doesn’t — but because she likes to wade out in the water and bite at me as I’m coming in from fetching my ball way out in the middle of the lake. She gets wet, just like I do, and she gets to pester me — her favorite past time — but none of that today.

In fact, she kind of had her own disappointment — THE CONE OF SHAME!

She had a few cysts (or at least they thinks that’s what they were) removed and to keep her from chewing up her stitches, she has to wear the CONE OF SHAME. I felt for her.

Then we got to walk with Gertrude — or Gertie as she’s known — who is a doodle like me, but without the Lab. She’s a Woodle — a Wheaton  Terrier and a Poodle cross. And I will admit it — she’s kind of cute and bubbly. We went for a walk down by the lake, too and she definitely was as disappointed as I was that we couldn’t go swimming. Of course, she didn’t show it.

We walked back through the neighborhoods (side by side) and then when Gretchen bent down to tie her shoe, Gertie laid down and posed. When Gretchen stopped at the car to put me in before she took Gertie back to her house, Gertie flopped down again only this time in the tall grass by the car.

I did my best not to giggle — she is a new client after all and I don’t want her to feel teased in any way — but you have to admit, that’s pretty goofy.

Now, if she’d been Saber, I definitely would have laughed just as I laughed when we posed for a photo and a nano-second after Gretchen got this photo…

…Saber found a stick through the fence and was obsessed with it. It took everything Gretchen and I could think of to refocus him, but eventually Gretchen gave up and took a photograph of the tile mosaic we were sitting on.

And then there’s Paige. I didn’t expect to see her today, but I got to go hang out at the pool again tonight and Paige was there as well. Paige kind of loves me and though I haven’t really told her yet, I kind of love her too. We’re not really obvious about it, but we do things that signal our affection. We sit on the couch together, but uneasily because frankly we’d rather be outside barking at the noises in the yard.

Paige sits in my kennel and frankly, would rather sit there than anywhere else. She really likes the soft bed that’s in it too and when Paige is away, I chew on her chewie, but just a bit so she can have the bulk of it later.

So, my behavior is obviously different with different dogs, but I’m still not convinced it’s a boy-girl thing (except maybe with Paige). I think it’s more of a dogonality thing and since I’m still learning Gertie’s dogonality I didn’t behave how I would have with those dogonalities I’ve known for awhile — like Ollie, Gemma, and Saber.

But I’m going to keep collecting data and see if perhaps my findings reveal something influenced more by gender.

Until tomorrow,


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