A few years back, when Hershey was the only dog, we discovered an exciting new toy. One day at one of the dog parks we went to there was suddenly a commotion at the fence, and Hershey was right in the middle of it. While often “commotion at the dog park” is a synonym for “unexpected trip to the vet” it was not the case that day.
What had captivated Hershey’s and several other dogs’ attention was a radio controlled car. It zipped merrily about on the other side of the fence, giving the pack a good long run before spinning around and coming back the other way, dogs in pursuit, the prey drive of their wolfish ancestors howling in their brains. Meanwhile, the gadget drive of a thousand nerds howled in mine. We had to get one!
Yes of course “We!” This would be a fun thing for the both of us, and would get her to burn a lot of energy running after it. It would not be just another gadget that I’d use a few times and then put up on a shelf! <—(In literary circles this is called “ironic foreshadowing.”)
So after a few weeks of hemming and hawing I
came up with a great excuse realized there was a wonderful anniversary coming up. It would soon be Hershey’s 3rd gotcha day! Such a momentous occasion certainly warranted an awesome gift! I went to a hobby store and asked for a reasonably priced, reasonably tough, RC car. When the clerk behind the counter asked me what I was going to do with it and I told him “dog toy,” I earned a look that was either amusement, contempt, or a combination of the two hereby dubbed “amusempt.”
Shortly after that I walked out the door with the appropriately named “Animus TR18” from a company called Helion. It would be great fun for me and my dog!
And it was! Hershey was immediately interested when I turned it on. Even just sitting there it could excite the prey drive, its little wheels twitching in an irresistible way. When I let it go in the back yard she was after it like a shot! And she caught it almost as quickly. It was a little slow on grass, slow enough that she could always nab it before it went more than 20 feet. Having a novice pilot operating it probably didn’t help either.
We took it to the dog park a few times and while it was on the other side of the fence it didn’t stay there too long. In order for it to be interesting it couldn’t be too far away from the fence, and being it was hard to steer it often ran into the fence. On several occasions Hershey took advantage of that and pulled her little victim under the fence and would then trot around the dog park with it in her mouth, its little wheels spinning helplessly. Very soon the poor little thing wound up looking like this
I’m pretty sure Hershey doesn’t have a ‘Soft Mouth.‘
Ok, by now you’re wondering what this has to do with Graham. This is supposed to be Graham’s story (It even says so in the title) and I’ve been blathering on about Hershey’s RC car. Well, if it wasn’t for that car we wouldn’t have met Graham.