Chance Encounters; Harley and Hulk Nice to Meet You

Hana detests the camping lifestyle. She is a persnickerty Japanese Chin who prefers soft fuzzy blankets to sleeping bags. She considers kibble to be the equivalent of trail mix for dogs and thinks that we should cook her a chicken breast for dinner each night. Camping is slumming it for Hana.

And one of the worst aspects of camping for this 11 pound elitist is the fact that most campers have dogs along with them too. She is particularly revolted by big dogs. They want to sniff her and sometimes they drool. Once, at Dog Beach in St. Pete a huge mastiff stepped on her tail plume, pinning her in place while he poked, prodded and sniffed her in all of her sensitive spots…….basically head to tail. The look of revulsion was priceless. The mammoth was in love and his apologetic owner could barely pry him away from his prize. He meant no harm and only wanted a few more adoring moments  with her. It was hilarious to watch her utter disgust!

It’s like people who don’t like cats. If they visit a household with cats, the cat has to single them out and sit on their lap. That’s how other dogs react to Hana. They pick her out of a crowd and go directly in for their Chance Encounter. You can see her thinking, “Oh no! Not

me again!”

Hana met two notable new friends on her latest camping adventure. She had a doggy Chance Encounter with Harley, a majestic Bernese Mountain Dog and Hulk, an 8 month old English Bulldog.

Harley is massive, the size of a full-grown Newfoundland. He is a stunning tri color male, black and white with brown highlights. He is rollicking and takes his elderly lady owner for a walk in whatever direction he chooses. He is an unlikely choice for a breed to take camping in a medium size camper, but he is generally a good boy and his people enjoy his company despite the footprint he takes up when he’s inside the camper. Harley took his lady for a nice drag over to our campsite as soon as he saw Princess Hana and he promptly bestowed a pool of drool on her back. She thinks she should get jewels not drools so she was frozen in place waiting for me to clean it off. Like a proper maid, I cleaned up her mess and reassured her that she would live.

Harley then moved on to meet and greet Cracker the African Gray. He was puzzled by the bird that whistled to him and said, “Come on. Come on.”, encouraging the big strange dog to approach for a meet and greet. This was a sweet Chance Encounter between two very different species who were curious about each other. Neither made any pre-judgement about the others intentions. They just met, figured out that there was no harm intended and then moved on. Hmmm……….is there a lesson here, humans?

Harley meets Cracker
Harley meets Cracker

Hulk is a puppy who has his owner completely wrapped up. His person is a stereotypical aging biker who travels about in a Class A with his motorcycle in tow. He talks baby talk to Harley………..constantly! It was funny and snicker worth! This former tough guy keeps up a running commentary on Hulk’s wants and needs. He serves as The Translator interpreting Bulldog for others who apparently do not speak Bulldog. Exiting the camper, he begins with,  “I know, Hulk, you want to visit the neighbors.” That was our cue to flee and, after a few days, we learned to head inside or look really busy. If we were lucky, the conversation would be comparatively quick due to the fact that Hulk had business to do. We knew when this was the case because The Translator would say, ” I know, Hulk, you have to take a —-. Do you need to take a —-?” Come on, Hulk, do you need to go?”  Looking at us, The Translator would announce, “He likes to take his walk. Are you a good boy, Hulk? Come on, let’s go take a ____. Tell the neighbors to have a good day, Hulk and you will visit later. He gets a treat after he takes a —-.”  

” Etc, etc, etc , and thanks for sharing,” we thought.  At one point, Hulk made a leap up onto the picnic table where our two little ones are trained to lie down and stay when we are working around camp. Hana flew off the table, abandoning her training in order to avoid a sneezey sloppy Bulldog style kiss on the face. Wicca had a bit more self-restraint and tolerated him with characteristic good nature.. In a classic moment of transference, The Translator observed, “The women are really into you, Hulk. Thata Boy!”

Hulk kisses Hana
Hulk kisses Hana
Yup, the women are really into him!
Yup, the women are really into him!”

Meeting all of the various kinds of dogs and, for that matter, other species, that people chose to travel with makes us consider if there is any rhyme or reason to how that choice is made. Science writer, Stephanie Pappas is a Live Science contributor and her article, What Your Dog’s Personality Says About You, lends insight to this with a research study on the subject of what breed choices say about owners personalities. It’s interesting to think about and can be read at :


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