originally published 10/21/23

In our area, the fall festive season begins in October with the Maple Leaf Festival.  There have been food events in the park, twice unplanned during walks this week, and a Friday night pre-parade celebration on the square.  Banner enjoys this.  She loves a busy, happy social ambience.  And she wants to go today, but I’m in bed with a cold (Covid neg.)  I told her maybe later.  There are car shows, tractor pulls and food vendors.

She had an especially good time last night.  She’s not up to dancing these days, but she does sparkle when she gaits.  We sat on the concrete border of the courthouse yard while we enjoyed some barbecue, and she gave and received a lot of smiles.  There were a couple of instances though, where I was about to interrupt the fun.  Twice over the past few years, she has had an odd ear infection.  I culture for identity, so it isn’t a guess.  I had wondered about the source after the first one, and I nearly put the kibosh on head petting.  After the last one, that is a new rule.  This isn’t easily explained, but most people are at least cooperative.  I tell them they can pet from the shoulders back.  Most people ask first.  But in a crowded area with loud music, the people magnet draws a lot of human hands.  I try to direct her head toward me by placing my hand over her nose and guiding it toward me, and I smile and politely say that it is OK to pet from the shoulders back.  One guy who saw her and smiled and automatically reached for her head responded to this.  His SO came next and started touching her head.  I moved Banner’s head to the side and said that it is OK to pet from the shoulders back.  She looked at me like she thought I must be confused and continued to pet her head.  I caught her hand and repeated the statement.  They moved on.  That was the only negative occurrence.  Most people are polite, and sometimes I explain that she had an unusual ear infection and that I am concerned was transferred by people petting her head.  Other dog owners take interest.

Usually it is a throng of kids who approach in a group.  Most of the kids know that they should ask first, or at least one of the group will and others follow, or an adult reminds them.  It’s the adults who more often don’t ask!

Banner can’t take antibiotics.  It results in GI bleeding, a lot of effort to resolve the GI issues and impact on her kidneys from eliminating the waste metabolites.  So I’m turning into the “mama bear” who would interface with a grizzly by punching it in the nose.  But I would try to do that politely.  : )

I love to give her opportunities to enjoy what she enjoys when I can, particularly now that she is over 10.

But given the experience of ear infections (and I suspect this was an issue for Parker once also), I wanted to share this with other Newf owners and suggest that you may not want to let people got up close and personal with their faces and ears.

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