Mr. K and I have been married for just under 4.5 years and up until yesterday I've never spent Thanksgiving with his family. It's just never worked out. The first year we were together we lived in South Carolina and after that we were globe trotting. I have to say that it was nice to be near family and spend Thanksgiving with them.
Grandma K picked us up yesterday morning with one of our niece's in tow. With so many people being at Kim's sister's house, we thought that bringing four dogs wasn't a good idea and so left Nala and Roscoe at home. Before leaving I made sure they had relieved, had breakfast/water and were comfortable. I have to admit that I fretted about them from time to time while we were gone, but that is just the way I am.
As we completed our hour long drive, we realized that we had forgotten the bag of potatoes we were supposed to bring. Grandma K dropped us off and shot over to a nearby store to get some. You certainly can't have Thanksgiving dinner without potatoes. The turkey had already been cooking for a while by the time we arrived and was smelling delicious. Mr. K let Otis off leash as soon as we arrived, but I was worried about releasing Hermione. She can be a bit of a trouble maker-chewing on leather items like shoes or gloves-and I wasn't sure how she would do with the kids. She really hasn't had a lot of exposure to children and she's a bit particular. Mr. K said to let her off and we'd see how she did.
More people arrived and we dug into some crackers and cheese and I tried pickled baloniy for the first time. It was stinking tasty.
Hermione asked to be let out and she relieved outside. Once that happened I felt much more relaxed. Otis occupied himself following the kids around if they were in the house. I never worried about him though. He's such a happy go lucky little guy that I had no concerns.
The rest of the day passed by rather quickly. We ate delicious food and just generally chatted. Otis went for a walk with the kids to the neighbor's and although I was a bit worried that he might get away from them, everyone came back in one piece. Hermione spent much of her time lying by my feet or hovering very near to me. Towards the end of the evening she seemed to be getting a bit disgruntled and we had a small incident.
The kids had returned and were playing tag with Otis, and each other. They were running circles around the table where Mr. K and I were sitting. Hermione was hiding under the table wagging her tail, but staying out of the mix. The kids were quite noisy and thundering about. Actually, the game was adorable. One of the kids would tag Otis and then they would all run around. Whoever Otis touched next was It and the game would start all over again. Cubbies definitely thought he was one of the kids. Eventually, the game wound down a bit, but the kids were still thundering around. One of the neighbor kids crawled under the table to pet Hermione. By the time I figured out what was going on it was too late for me to say anything. Hermione growled at him, but he kept following her around under the table. She got backed against a chair and snapped at him.
Thankfully, she didn't catch him, but it's something we are going to have to be careful of. We are going there for Christmas and so I am going to have to be more aware of her. Since we will be staying over night, we will bring her crate and she will be able to go in there when she needs a break. We'll just have to tell the kids that when she's in her "bedroom" that she is not to be disturbed. I've never had to deal with dogs who aren't comfortable with kids before and so I probably didn't handle the situation from the beginning properly.
I can't say that I'm surprised. If any of our dogs were to snap at someone it would be her. She was incredibly over stimulated and had placed herself in a place where she thought she was safe. Not that I am justifying her snapping, but at least I know where it came from. If there hadn't been any stimuli and/or provocation I'd much more concerned. She had been fine all day if only one child went to pet her and no one was thundering around. In fact, later that evening, she was sitting on my lap and our niece petted her and Hermione was totally fine. Next time we're there, I'm going to have to use various opportunities as training opportunities and show her that kids are fun. Maybe I'll get our niece to walk Hermione like she walked Otis too.
Despite a few tense moments, everything went back to normal afterwards.
We finished the evening off with some pumpkin pie and Grandma K drove us home.
Nala and Roscoe were fine, if not totally beside themselves with joy when we got home. Mr. K and I watched TV for about an hour and then we all went to bed totally exhausted. In fact, Otis was so tired from his adventures that he was trying to decide if he was more hungry at breakfast time or more tired. Breakfast won, but he has been snoring ever since.