For the life of me I cannot figure out the relationship my dog has with grass. Perhaps relationship is the wrong word. Maybe attitude is more appropriate.
I know for a fact that Dora does like grass. When it’s super green and lush, as it is when springtime first arrives or when it’s over due for a good mow (but not TOO over due), Dora will romp and play it in it without a care in the world. When it’s freshly cut, it becomes an inevitable smorgasbord of saintly aromas where she leaves no spot unexplored – or peed on. She will roll and sniff, sniff and roll, then pee – and pee some more. Her wagging tail and keen sense of adventure scream glorious grassy love. In such moments it’s clear that a loving relationship has blossomed.
Then there’s every other time.
Like when it rains.
Dora does not do wet grass. No way, no how is she going to walk on that ungodly squishiness if she can avoid it. When it rains it takes a lot of convincing and pleading from me to urge her to go outside and answer nature’s call. Without fail she will walk to the very edge of the patio and pace end to end, nose stretched out as far as her little neck will let it, deciding if it’s even possible to perform such a task without getting her paws wet. She will gingerly lift a front paw and “test” the wetness level by gently placing it on top of the grass. Clearly disgusted by the simple suggestion that she actually have to step on such foulness she will then look up at me with the all too familiar, Are you kidding me, look. I being her eternal cheerleader and life coach will, with a forced smile, encourage her: “If you just run out quickly and pee, we can be back inside, quick as a bunny.” My request is only met with a blank stare and hints of judgment. Are you kidding me?
Not being born with the superpowers of weather control I, inevitably, will resort to one of two things. One, I will pick Dora up and place her on the least wet patch of grass I can find, where after a little more coaching, the promise of a favourite treat, and guaranteeing I will find her the biggest chew bone money can buy, she will find a place to leave her mark. The second option involves me getting an umbrella. I am not ashamed to admit that there has been more than one occasion where, after a literal scavenger hunt to find the biggest umbrella in the house, I will follow Dora around in the pouring rain while she searches for the ideal spot to relieve herself. Apparently wet paws are much worse when you are getting wet from above at the same time. I am also not reluctant to say that if I can only able to find a small umbrella it doesn’t take a genius to figure which one of us is getting wet. The kicker of this however has to be the lightening speed journey to the safety, and dryness, of inside that takes place after said business is finished. A journey which always seems to involve Dora splashing through a puddle getting not only her paws but her entire undercarriage soaking wet – leaving me standing there, cold and wet myself, looking puzzled and confused.
It’s not just wet grass that seems to turn Dora away in disgust. Snow covered grass has the same effect. Being the dedicated dog owner that I am I will happily shovel away mounds of snow in the backyard so my short-legged fur child can have a cozy spot to go to the washroom. If I’m in a particularly playful mood I will carve out maze-like pathways just to help make the experience more interesting for her. What does Dora do? Uses her wide, furry Daschund sized feet as little doggie snowshoes and sashays her way up onto the top of the snow. It is there, perched on a glittery mound of white while reenacting a scene from the movie Frozen where she’ll finally relieve herself. (I swear I can hear the song Let it Go playing in the background). “What the eff is wrong with the path I shoveled for you?” is the only question that makes any sense for me to ask. Blank stare. Are you kidding me?
Finally, there are the mundane, snow free, rain free days where Dora simply seems to avoid the grass for no other reason than the fact that it’s there. The rationale for this is only known to Dora, of which I have inquired several times. She’s not talking. One day we’ll go for a walk and she’ll run across an open field like it was a green ocean of hidden treasures and aromatic mysteries. Other days she’ll look at it like the boogey man himself was two inches tall and living amongst the blades of greenery. One particular walk comes to mind. Not too long ago a friend and I took Dora to a nearby park where I could let her run off leash. Initially it seemed as if it was a pro grass day as Dora frolicked merrily amongst the soft green wonder. My friend and I decided to walk off the concrete path and diagonally through the field. With Dora obviously having a grass loving day I just let her explore while I chatted with my friend. Mid-sentence my friend interrupted me and said, “Umm, Erica, Dora is running away from us.” Looking up, sure enough, Dora was running in the opposite direction – bee lining directly back to the path from where we started. I instantly knew that the grass had somehow turned against her. Shaking my head and with little surprise I responded with, “She’s okay, she’s just going to take the path.” “You’re kidding”, was the only response my friend could muster – that coupled with a slight look of aversion. “Nope, she’ll meet us at the end of the path. She doesn’t like grass.” The look of judgment hardened. Sure enough, that’s exactly what happened. My friend and I continued our short cut across the field where we waited for Dora to join us after her leisurely concrete stroll.
What can I say, my dog is an enigma.
But as much as Dora’s love/hate association with grass confuses me to no end, I do believe there is a lesson to be learned.
FIND YOUR OWN PATH
And what a great lesson it is.