Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde

One recent Saturday I had volunteered to take notes at a forum held by my town’s Economic Development Commission, so Chico and I went on down to the Town House around 10 in the morning. There were about ten people when we arrived, but more came soon. Chico was much more interested in finding crumbs on the floor than in any of the people, but he was quite sociable with both the people he already knew and with new folks.

I took a seat in the back row so Chico could curl up in the corner behind me, near where I’d put a bowl of water, and gave him a bone. He promptly took his bone and went and laid down in front of the front row. He didn’t stay long, as people filled the chairs, he came back to me and settled at my feet. One of his acquaintances was next to me and while I typed, he mooched her for pets. It worked.

Look at Chico – in a confined space, accepting pets from someone he doesn’t know very well. What a good, brave, boy. Conquering his fears every day.

Yes, it was warm, but at that moment he was breathing a little hard, in a kind of nervous way, but on the whole, he was relaxed and happy.

He even felt relaxed enough to attend to an itch.

And eventually,when people were really settled,

Chico moved to my other side and stretched out in the aisle.

After the event I went to the Lyceum to email my notes to the Commission. It’s the off season, downtown Tamworth isn’t very busy and Chico’s behavior is so much improved that I let him walk down Main Street near me, off the leash. He trotted into the Lyceum ahead of me and looked around to see who was there. The small Farmers’ Market was taking place and one of the vendors, who’s had a watchful eye on Chico since the early days of our first summer together (when he went to the Farmers’ Market in his special clip-in-the-front harness and his muzzle, with a handful of super-high-value treats practically glued to his nose) looked surprised to see me following him.

It turns out, Chico was so calm, happy, and relaxed this person thought he was another local dog, named Jasper.

This is Jasper, from the front.

Jasper from above.

To me, and to Jasper’s people, the two of them are easy to tell apart, but if you don’t live with one of them, it is entirely different. But here’s the cool thing: Jasper is a really relaxed, happy, mellow, sociable dog. He has been described as the Dr Jekyll to Chico’s Mr Hyde. And now this person’s eyes said that I was with a relaxed, happy, sociable dog of Jasper & Chico’s shared size and coloration, and the first thought was that it had to be Jasper, it couldn’t be Chico. The vendor kind of spluttered at me, “What are you doing with…is that…wait, if that’s your dog, where’s the harness and stuff?”

If you ask me, that’s a real sign of how far Chico has come.

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