We’ve been experiencing a bit of weirdness with Dorothy over the past few weeks. To recap first: I had problems with Dorothy during her first year getting her to walk. A walk was not her idea of a good time, when she was a puppy. But then we moved to a house with a yard, and Dorothy fell in love. She liked nothing better than to spend hours in her yard, chewing sticks, herding her balls, exploring the perimeter, etc. Once the summer would get really hot, she didn’t want to stay out there long, but the minute things would cool off she’d go out there again, a happy yard dogge.
Until about two or three weeks ago, when all of a sudden she didn’t want to go off of our little deck and down into the yard. And in fact she would put on all four brakes and do everything she could not to be pulled or pushed into the yard. When she absolutely could not avoid it any longer, she would go down to the bottom of the steps and do her business about a half inch from the steps, turn around, and run up and bark to be let in.
What had happened to Dorothy in the yard? At first I thought maybe she had a run-in of sorts with our resident woodchuck. But that didn’t really seem possible to me since after three years, they have their routines down pat. If Dorothy is sunbathing on the deck and the woodchuck comes out for a snack, Dorothy will just watch her and won’t even feel the need to go down and check things out. So a woodchuck run-in although possible, seems improbable (plus she didn’t have any wounds or scratches or anything like that, so it would be more an issue of hurt feelings.)
My second guess was that maybe Dorothy got stung by a bee while out in the yard? I don’t have any evidence to prove this – she has no sores or bites or anything like that other than her usual rashy bits. But I still think this might be it.
Then the other day, Owen and I filled up a little pool we had gotten for Dorothy to use on very hot days, and while tugging and pulling her down the steps and over to the pool, I realized she was walking as close to the house as she could get and seemed in particular to try to be keeping away from another blow-up pool we had for Owen. We had dragged that pool over to the side of the yard near the deck steps when we weren’t using it, and maybe it moved in the wind once when Dorothy was passing it? Sean did notice that it was near a bush where bees seem to live, so it could be both a pool and a bee sting scenario.
Anyway, we moved the “scary” pool (as opposed to Dorothy’s private pool, which she treats as a walk-in water dish), and Dorothy does seem a bit more willing to at least go down and do her business a little farther off than a half inch from the steps. But I’m still not 100% sure what is going on. Perhaps there’s a rabid animal nearby? Could a dog sense that?
At any rate, I’m hoping Dorothy’s cowardly lion phase ends soon!
Updated to add: We threw the "scary" pool out and Dorothy seems more inclined to go out in the yard now, and when she does go, she doesn't glue herself to the side of the house like she had been doing. So, progress! However, she does tend to "disappear" to a new spot under this decorative grass-like plant where she has also moved her stick stash. See below!