We got closer to the steps leading up to the open field when I noticed the guy. A man was standing at the top of the stairs; legs crossed and checking out his cell phone. I took note as I am very aware of my surroundings; really important when out and about. Oddly enough, Elsa had also taken note. She stopped for a split second then continued up with me. I’m not sure if she was sensing my emotions or if she was having her own sense from this guy.
As we got closer to the man at the top of the stairs Elsa lowered her head and growled very deeply. I was surprised at the seriousness in her tone and that she felt a growl was needed. Elsa’s favorite thing in the world are people; she has only met a few in her life that she didn’t gush over. Getting closer she then barked once at him; but it was loud, clear and precise. “Keep your distance.” She was creeped out by him for many reasons. The root of her concern that were clear to me were:
he was standing in a strange place
he was frozen (not moving with his legs crossed)
he was dressed all in black
he had large head phones on
he had a large black backpack on
So to Miss Elsa he was some level of threat. I chatted happily to her as we passed him by; keeping my wits about me. I listen when my dogs speak; they are much more in tune to things like this than we are. Elsa let out a huge snort as we got beyond him and moved into the park and I glanced over my shoulder. “Wow,” I said to her…”you didn’t like him much.”
Had this been Riggs and his reaction, it would have meant less. He is young and finds a lot of things scary. But Elsa is nearing 8 years old and very worldly. She’s been across the country several times, lived through a shit ton and has a great deal of life experience under her belt. I think that I have a good sense of character but she is an amazing judge of character . If I feel the least bit uneasy I look to her for consensus and she has never let me down.
There have been times when worker guys come into our home and she does her typical “Hi, my name is Elsa, who are you?” routine. And then there are times when she gives a low wag and keeps herself between the worker and me. She is the most amazing dog.
Elsa tends to kick into a more attentive guarding mode when out with others. Whether we are out with babies, human friends or dog friends, she is more guarding.
The guy in black today was probably just a guy. But, he was definitely giving off questionable behavior to both Elsa and myself. If your dog acts out of the ordinary when another dog or person approach or appear, listen. They know a lot more than we do.