I had an extremely funny thing happen with my dog. When I take him out in the late afternoon or early evening, I sometimes go by the train stop in my neighborhood. I would take him to wait for my husband to get home from work because the dog loved seeing "daddy" come down the stairs from the platform. There was an area where we waited that had an overgrowth of bushes, trees and weeds that ran along the length of the platform. There was a fence on one side and a fence at the top of the hill running along the platform. So if we were early, I sometimes let the dog (Wishbone) run loose on that narrow strip of overgrowth, just for exercise. He was very good about coming back. One time, though, he didn't come back...not on his own, and not when I called him. I got worried, so I climbed the stairs to the platform and walked clear across to the stairs to the next street over. There I saw Wishbone, standing by a car that was in a car waiting line to pick up deboarding passengers. I ran down to retrieve Wishbone and discovered that the driver of the car, an 80-year-old man who was waiting to pick up his adult granddaughter getting home from work, had a bag in the car with him that was filled with the largest dog treats I've ever seen. Wishbone had discovered the man, and had positioned himself outside the man's car, being ingratiating. It was working, too. Wishbone had scored a few treats already. The man had the passenger side window rolled down a lot of the way. I chatted with the man a while, who turned out to be quite charming. As we talked, he occasionally handed another large treat through the window to the very thrilled Wishbone, despite me saying he should stop. It was starting to rain lightly and there was still a few minutes before the train was due in, so this very charming man invited me to sit in the car with him so as to get out of the rain. Before I could say a word (which was going to be, "Thanks, that's very kind of you, but no"), Wishbone leapt up on the bottom of the window and jumped down onto the passenger seat! His feet were plenty muddy too from where he had been, the interior of the car was cream, and Wishbone tracked his muddy paws all over the nice man's seat.
I was mortified with embarrassment, but I also was bowled over in laughter, as I tried to yell at Wishbone and I opened the door so I could get him out. The hilarious part is it was clear that Wishbone completely understood the invitation, and you didn't have to ask him twice! Fortunately, the man was extremely nice about it. He wasn't angry and he had an old towel in the car with him, which he used to wipe up Wishbone's muddy paw prints.
We've known for some time Wishbone understands a lot of what we say but it's never possible to know how much. From that event, it was plain to see he understood exactly what had been said...just not that the invitation wasn't to him. For a long time after that, every time we passed the spot where the treat guy was parked, Wishbone looked for him. He had mentioned to me his granddaughter was getting married and would be moving into a house she was buying in another town with her husband, so I knew he wouldn't be there anymore. That part Wishbone didn't understand, though, and he kept looking for his friend, very disappointed each time he didn't see him. That part was a little sad, but every time I've had a tough day or am down about something, I think of Wishbone leaping into treat guy's car when he invited me to sit in the car with him and I still LOL. It really cheers me up, which is the best part of having a dog. They are terrific companions!
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