For at least the first few days of their visit I decided to walk Bruce Wayne and Alfred separately while I got used to their different ways of viewing the world. On one of Bruce's solo flights he helped out with the mission to educate the neighborhood.
Our first stop was saying hi to some kids who called out to us as we passed. Bruce helped me to explain the way that dogs like to say hello and we talked about why you shouldn't run up and pat a strange dog on the head. He was feeling a bit shy so we showed the kids that you have to let the dog decide if he wants to come and be petted rather than trying to grab at him! As my Billy will often get antsy and barky if I stand around chatting too long, it was great to have the option of talking with the children for as long as they were interested, while Bruce was a perfect gentleman.
On our way home we were charged by two loose dogs and I have to confess we popped into a neighbor's yard and shut the gate while I made sure no harm was intended. I recognized the two and they'd clearly escaped from their yard a couple of blocks north of where we were. The male was disposed to be a bit pushy but Bruce had decided not to take offense so we ventured out and Bruce acted as our pied piper to lead them back home. I managed to scoop them both through the gate and shut them back in and two of the family popped their head out as I did so. I'm not sure they'd even realized that the two had escaped but while they were in a grateful mood I said hi and managed to drop some hints about making sure their new little female was spayed. The last thing we need in our neighborhood is an intact pit running free.
I can be excruciatingly shy at times so screwing up the courage to keep approaching people to chat about their dogs can be tricky. Bruce has been a great little helper for starting conversations. When he's not around I've discovered that my best motivation is actually you guys! Now that I've laid out my goals in public its a lot trickier to chicken out of doing the right thing. When I saw this sign on a walk with Billy and Flower last week I decided I had to swing by.
Sure enough, one of my neighbors had ten english mastiff puppies at a yard sale. Sigh. I dropped the pooches off home and headed back to chat about spay/neuter. Whether she was just trying to fob me off or if they're actually thinking about it, the daughter told me they were thinking of having their pair fixed. When I got home I followed up with an email list of low-cost spay/neuter options so lets keep our fingers crossed that they go through with it.
Thanks for helping me screw up the courage to go and talk to them!