Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Another Bingo Post - Going Feral

It's time for another post on my dear beloved boy Springer, Bingo.

Finally, Mollie gets to chill for a post. And generally, whenever she wants to.

 I've talked before on this blog about what a lovely dog Bingo is. He's really a big teddy bear, full of love and affection, always coming to you when he hears his name, and being, basically, the polar opposite of Mollie.

Springers of the corn.
That is, of course, until you take him outside. This post is all about Bingo being a troll in the great outdoors.

Let me give you a little backstory on Bingo, for those of you that don't know. Bingo is a rescue dog, probably about 5-6 years old. He was found on the streets of Dublin, roaming as a stray dog and was promptly caught and put in the nearest dog pound, which, unfortunately, was one where they euthanize dogs they can't home. Before they do this, however, the pound calls around any other dog rescue centre where they can offload the stray mutts, sparing them from unnecessary death. Luckily for Bingo, a place in Lincoln (midlands of England) had a spot with his name on it, and he was transported there. Phew.

Pretty sure that was when he worked on this face.
 They took a few pictures of him and slapped them on the website, where it came to the attention of my parents, who were very VERY tentatively thinking of getting another dog, now that Mollie had turned one and they had gotten to grips (well, sort of) with her shenanigans. They emailed me a picture, told me they were going to visit the centre on the weekend, and what did I think? I said 'sure, just feel it out and see what he's like', and on Sunday, to my utter surprise, we had a new dog. He was underweight, fur yellow instead of white, and wouldn't look any of us in the eye or come inside the house. He would gobble food SO fast that it would sometimes reappear a few seconds later. He didn't know any commands. Needless to say, after three years of living with us, he has come a very, very long way and is an integral part of our family. Aww.

Okay, so warm fuzzies all round. That's a tried and true Hollywood storyline right there: scruffy, tough character from hard background finds a family and grows a heart. Bingo probably takes a good headshot too.

Also able to recite any Shakespearian sonnet from memory.
 But for how lovely a dog Bingo is on the inside of the house, he is a completely different dog when we take him outside. In a way, I feel like he and Mollie are behaviorial opposites: he is an angel inside the house, terrible when we take him out. Mollie is a little troll indoors, but is actually a pretty good and attentive dog when we take her outside. They are like a floppy eared yin-yang.

Sometimes literally.
Anyway, the real issue is that when outside, he turns back into stray mode. He will venture worryingly far from you, not acknowledge any call of his name at all, and the times we have tried to train him off-lead, the times he returns to us feel far too on his terms than on ours. On a field where a 70mph dual carriageway is just a wire fence away, this isn't something we want to risk, so we keep him on the lead, which is a shame, because it's lovely to see him run and barrel across fields like the furry tank that he is. We'll find a way though.

SO! Onwards. This story deals with just before I left for Canada, and I was trying to get the most out of the things I knew I would miss, one of which, of course, were my beloved dogs. So, I asked my dad if we could take them out to my favourite local forest for a bit of a change-up to the field we usually take them to. He agreed (which was good, as I had cancelled my car insurance so had no way of getting there). We set the towels down in the back of my parents' car (the beloved ford focus!), loaded the dogs in, and went on our merry way.

Ughh. Where are the dentastix?
 We arrived. The dogs are excited, looking around. I, rather stupidly, open my front door widely. Mollie's fine with this. Bingo spots an opportunity and quicker than I can turn around, he is out of the door and running towards the forest. If we had been in a comic book, there would've been giant exclamation marks above mine and my dad's heads. He's shouting Bingo's name. Nothing. Still hurtling like a floppy-eared comet towards the trees.

Ughhh. It's down to me.

Conehead or not, he's my buddy.
 My days as a 15 year old sprinter running in school athletics flash before my eyes, along with the rest of my life, as I bottle after him as fast as I can. Bingo is like a bear. He's built very solidly, but can run surprisingly fast for his size. And he was proving it at this moment. I'm quite a way behind, flailing wildly as my dad, Mollie, and probably some other bewildered hikers looked on. I am running out of puff when I spot that he's distracted suddenly by some probably smelly foliage. Now's my chance. I use what little energy I have left, sprint, and lunge. I grab his collar and try to get breath back into me while the spots in my vision subside. Bingo is very happy to see me, tongue lolling, wondering why I'm so out of puff.

We DID end up having a very nice walk. Bingo, shockingly enough, remained on the leash for the rest of our time outside.

What would've happened if he had kept running, we don't know, and hopefully won't have to find out. That dog is nothing sort of a treasure when there are four walls around him, but take him outside, and not only is he a troll, he's a troll that forces me to EXERCISE.

Even Mollie isn't that evil.

But then, he probably is justified in his trolling.

Til next time! :)

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