58: My Social Butterfly

58: My Social Butterfly

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: My Very Good, Very Bad Dog

My Social Butterfly

Fun fact: Dogs are naturally social, but when they first meet, they need to figure out which one is “top dog” in their social ranking.

“Do you know the names of all the dogs in the neighborhood?” my friend Becky asked me during an evening walk.

“Yes, I guess I do since I am the mother of a four-legged social butterfly.”

Our rescue puppy, Cornbread, a yellow Lab–Spaniel mix, loves to be around other dogs. Her temperament is very different from our beloved Catfish, a yellow Lab that passed away two years earlier. He was the exact opposite; he loved people, but he did not like other dogs. On walks with him, I constantly had to avoid other dogs.

It is quite a different story with Cornbread. Whenever we meet another dog, we have to stop and visit. It is just the polite thing to do, according to Cornbread. She pulls on her leash and whimpers until we stop to visit and say hello. So, yes, I do know the names of all the fellow canines in our neighborhood. We must always stop and visit Maggie, Sandy, Oreo, or Sika, the cute Husky with the crystal-blue eyes.

When we are not walking, Cornbread roams our yard within the confines of an electric fence. However, sometimes electric fences do not work. When this happens, Cornbread usually makes a run for it. I am never concerned because I can usually find her visiting one of her friends nearby.

On one such occasion, she got out, and we received a call from our neighbors that she was over at their house visiting Sandy. I quickly went to pick up my social butterfly and take her home. Days later on our walk, we stopped at Sandy’s house to say hello. Looking down, I noticed one of Cornbread’s toys lying outside Sandy’s fence. Why, she must have brought it when she came to see Sandy the other day. Bending over, I picked it up and handed it to her. “Cornbread, you left your toy here. We need to take it home.”

She quickly took it from my hand, dropped it on the ground, and looked up at me. I picked it up a second time and, once again, she took it from my hand and dropped it. After repeating this for the third time, I finally understood what she wanted to do with her toy: She wanted to give it to Sandy.

In Cornbread’s mind, you show your friends that you care by taking the time to stop and visit and occasionally bring them a gift. She had brought her toy as a gift for Sandy on her previous visit.

“Do you want to give your toy to Sandy?” Cornbread patiently sat, waiting for me to understand. Realizing her intent, I threw her toy over the fence into Sandy’s yard. It was then that she happily wagged her tail, pleased that she had been able to give her friend a gift.

~Tanya Shearer

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