Saturday, August 21, 2010

Gabe does Stairs!

When Gabe joined our family, our household was a little different. My mom and dad were still with us. They lived on the main floor of the house; I lived upstairs, in an apartment my parents fashioned out of the four bedrooms that were originally up there.

Gabe had no problem coming up the stairs to visit me, but he absolutely refused to come down on his own. I tried it all. I left him up there for hours by himself. I left him up there and fried bacon on my mom and dad's stove and then sat at the bottom of the stairs eating the bacon while Gabe looked down at me. I put a piggy puff on each riser, hoping he would follow them down.  Another day, I did the same with caramel corn.  (Neither were foods I would normally share with him.)  I put his leash on and tried to walk him down, hoping it would give him a sense of added security. When Gabe was two, I took a vacation; while I was away, my dad tried to train Gabe too. Nada.

At the time my dad passed away, Gabe weighed over 60 pounds. I carried 60 pounds of dog down the stairs several times a day. Worse, for some reason Gabe feels the need to kick off once we hit the bottom riser, as if he's diving to safety. I had numerous bruises and even more scratches.
When Gabe was 3, we finally moved downstairs for good. I rented out my old apartment and became a (much!) younger version of Mrs. Roper. Gabe rarely had a reason to go upstairs over the next few years. Whew!

About a month ago, I was installing a window air conditioner upstairs. My current tenant is pretty awesome. The dogs love him and he loves them back. Gabe and Arch came with me for the install. When I was finished, I gathered up my tools and told the tenant I would come back for Gabe, since he couldn't go down on his own. The tenant said, "No, I'm sure he went down already."

I peered down the stairwell and sure enough, there was my big galoofus, at the bottom of the stairs! Sadly, though, I missed him in action.

This week, a new fridge was delivered for the apartment. The tenant was at work, and asked me to oversee the delivery. After the delivery guys left, I let Gabe and Arch upstairs so that they could sniff all the new smells the delivery guys brought in. And before I knew it, I actually saw Gaberushka hoofing it down the stairs. Ahhh! I ran and grabbed my camera, and made him come back up, so I could capture this Kodak moment.

Honestly, I think it's the dogpark. I think Gabe's gotten so much confidence from the new dogpark experiences that it's carried over.  You'll notice though, that he hugs the wall pretty tightly on his way down.  He's pretty smart, my boy.

Yay Gabe-o!