Every year my neighborhood hosts an Easter egg hunt in the same lawn area that I occasionally try to pawn off as a dog park to Stevie and Alvin. It is a relatively large event and when seeing the kids start to arrive I realized that it was a perfect opportunity to see how Alvin reacted to a bunch of children. In the past, Alvin has displayed a particular interest in children and displayed a near fascinated with them. On one occasion, we were at the dog park and Alvin spotted a little girl and made a beeline towards her. He kept staring at her and trying to put his nose on her to the point that it started to scare her. I have never been around a large group of children to see if indeed Alvin is friendlier with kids as a whole. When arriving, Alvin was pulling on the leash and wanted to get near the kids. There were about 30 kids, with several dogs, and many adults. It was a loud, chaotic scene, which could scare even a confident dog, but not Alvin. He repeatedly approached the children and placed his nose on them while allowing each one of them to pet him. When the adults approached he ducked away and was his usual nervous self. He scared one small girl because he kept insisting on placing his nose on her leg and when she moved away, he moved with her. I don't know if it's the size of the kids but I am doubtful of that because he has met a lot of short, small women and he is still nervous. When he is around kids, it seems as though he has previously lived with a child due to the significant increase in his comfort level.
Of course we had to do the looping all the way home while a large audience was watching. I just kept my hand above my head and hoped the kids would mistake him for a circus pony. Speaking of mistaking something about Alvin, a guy approached him and kept saying, "oh you're an old doggy aren't you?" Ummmm, have you seen the pictures of Alvin? First, he's only about five-years-old but he has the permanent puppy look and people are often very surprised to hear that he isn't a puppy. I don't know who the guy was looking at but Stevie was nearby and she is a dog that looks older than her approximately 10-12-years-old and he didn't comment about her age at all. Maybe he was dyslexic and got the dogs mixed up.
Speaking of Stevie, I have known many a cocker spaniel with good noses but with Stevie if there was a canine sniffing Olympic event, Stevie would win the gold metal. She got one whiff of all the candy scattered on the lawn and kept pulling me towards it. We were about 30 feet away and most of the candy was wrapped but if I had let her, she would have sniffed her way straight to the first unwrapped piece of candy out there. I took them back before the Easter egg hunt started because I knew that if kids came back with their Easter baskets filled that Stevie was sure to rob them blind. She is shameless in her thievery and has shown time and time again that she can't be trusted, even in the presence of children, the elderly and in one case, a police officer. She is an equal opportunity thief and will steal from anyone trusting enough to fall of her mug.
This Easter egg hunt was a particular success because it was the first year that neither one of my nieces or my nephew attended. The event was started 16 years ago by my mom who wanted to provide her first granddaughter with an Easter egg hunt. Every year the event gets bigger and it was partially helped by my brother's ability to keep procreating. I don't know what evilness comes over me but I turn into something disturbing when it comes to my desire for my nieces and nephew to get the best and the most. Every year I would vow to be more socially appropriate and yet every year I would insist on forming a game plan with them and I would stake out where all the best stuff was and instruct them what to run for first so they were sure to beat out the other kids. The other kids were terribly naive and would just run to the first item and work their way through it.....suckers! I would form a route for "my kids" that left the other kids in the dust and sniveling about not getting a kite or the other coveted items. And I didn't give "my kids" a stupid ole Easter basket because those things fill up fast and become useless and so instead they would go out armed with a big bag and I would then cheat by walking up to them when it filled, emptying it into another bag and screaming at them to get back out there, knock the little kids down and keeping "hunting." This inevitably ended with my kids talking to me about the importance of sharing and something about it just being for fun........they're clueless! But guess who was Miss Popularity when we got inside and I emptied their bags to show them all of their loot? So, you can guess what a disappointment it was not to have any kids to scream at this year and what a relief it must have been for the other adults to see me arrive with just two dogs. My youngest niece turned 11 today and used some feeble excuse about being too old for the event but even after explaining to her that it only meant she was faster and more able to knock other kids down, she still declined. Ungrateful little kids!
But at least Alvin and Stevie found their first Easter egg hunt to be a success and thank goodness there wasn't a canine version of the Easter egg hunt because goodness only knows what would have been unleashed (pun intended) in me if I thought I had to help Stevie and Alvin get their share of the loot. I am hoping that by this time next year, they will both be adopted and I won't be trudging down with the same pair for year number two........one can dream.