Belle of the Slobbery Tennis Ball

I ran into my friend Steve at the cafe today. He’s adopted a canine companion since I last saw him – a young cattle dog cross that he’s (rather sweetly) named Belle. I thought she seemed pretty well trained, but Steve assured me that she hadn’t been when he collected her from the rescue centre six months ago.

Evidently, he’s been doing some intensive dog training geared towards managing her behaviour – it seems that Belle has quite a lot of energy, and some of it needs reigning in a bit. I hadn’t known Steve to be especially knowledgeable about dog behaviour, and he agreed that isn’t. He said he’d gotten some solid advice from a local vet in Moorabbin (puppy preschool, apparently, is something that some vets offer).

I suppose that this makes sense, as behavioural stuff has relevance to a pet’s wellbeing, at least to some extent. That seems especially true in the city, where there are so many hazards like cars, and poisonous mushrooms, and irate neighbours. Steve tells me there are other benefits, too – for example, keeping a dog entertained, which is nothing to be sniffed at (pun intended).

Belle, he says, seems to love learning and performing tricks, especially when they serve little functional purpose. Her latest is rolling over onto her back and lying still when Steve says ‘bang’ and raises his fingers like a pistol. The two of them demonstrated this move, which was impressive, but also led me to notice a fresh-looking scar on her belly.

Steve explained that she had undergone an operation recently, the official recommendation being in favour of desexing pets in Moorabbin. The animal shelter where Steve had found her is known for doing the deed before rehoming animals; however, it appears that the operation had been sort of botched the first time, as Belle had begun showing all the signs of being in heat after she arrived at Steve’s. She’d therefore had to check in at the animal hospital a second time.

Now I’m waffling. Long story short, I love Belle and want to give her all the cuddles.