Monday, January 7, 2013

Protecting the Flock?

Yesterday morning, Caitlin was playing happily with a group of her friends when a new dog, one that I don't remember having seen before, came into the park.

Caitlin immediately went on the attack, barking and snapping at the dog as she raced after it.

I tried to call her off. She ignored me.

Relentless, she chased the dog around the park. I tried to distract her--without success. After several futile attempts to recall her, I said apologetically to the owner, "I guess I'll have to take her home."

I got her leash and dragged her away, still glaring back at the dog and barking ferociously.

Since we had walked to the park, I called Rob to pick me up and started walking.

I brought Caitlin back to the park again today, still a bit upset that she had behaved so badly yesterday.

As I was sitting under the pergola watching the dogs play, Max's "mother" approached me.

"Caitlin was right." she said. "You misjudged her yesterday."

I gave her a questioning look.

"After you left, a little pit bull came into the park. That dog bit his face so viciously that his whole head was covered in blood. Caitlin must have known."

I had seen the pit bull. While we were leaving the park  after hauling Caitlin out, I realized that I'd left her bag of treats at the dog park, clipped to the fence just outside the gate to the big dog area. When I returned for it, a little grey pit bull was standing by the gate, his face dripping with blood. It never occurred to me that there was any connection between him and the dog that Caitlin had tried to chase out of the park.

Had Caitlin been trying to protect her friends by running a dangerous dog out of the park? She is, after all, a border collie. Her job is to guide and protect her flock. Was that what she was doing yesterday? She can't tell me, so I guess I'll never know.