Those of us who have had dogs have all kinds of stories about our dog’s quirky behaviors. Some are funny or even weird, and others are a sign of anxiety. But to dwell on the funny side even if it is anxiety- or phobia-based can still bring outright laughter. 

As you read this, I hope you will think of your quirky dogs over the years and smile.

Years ago, I had a Newfoundland, Godfrey, who could have used a psychotherapist. He was a sweet, gentle soul at 145 pounds and the lights were on, but no one was home. Even though he was anxious, he was still a very happy dog – except when in those phobic moments. He lived a very long life for a Newf, so I was certainly blessed.  

Godfrey was afraid of floors that might be slippery. He preferred rugs or carpet. Even when he was a pup and had no arthritis or spinal issues, he looked at every surface to walk on before he decided if it was OK.  

When I took him to be neutered, he took one look at the floor in the waiting room and decided that walking nearest the wall would be safest. He upended all the chairs with people seated in them with their pets so he could get close to the wall. It looked like a cartoon with chairs, pets and people flying everywhere. Visualize that if you can!

When we were moving and the rugs were removed from the house, Godfrey couldn’t figure out where he could go and be safe. My step-son-in-law was seated on the couch. Godfrey was on one rug, which was like an island in the middle of the floor. The only safe place he could see was my son-in-law’s lap – so he leapt and landed, all 145 pounds of him!

My husband-to-be, Robert, and I were dating. We went for a walk in a beautiful park in Connecticut. We looked around and my dog Lucy was right there. Godfrey was nowhere in sight. We finally tracked him down, rolling on his back in horse manure. 

Getting him back in Robert’s car, covered in you-know-what, and then into an apartment bathtub was not fun either. What a way to start a romance!

Another time we were walking high up on an embankment in Stamford, overlooking the Long Island Sound. The park embankment was lined with ballast stones from 30 feet up all the way down to the water. 

We turned around and Godfrey the Newfie, of course, serious water fanatic, was making his way down the awkward stones on the high slope, down to the water. Brave man, my husband-to-be – he started climbing down the stones to retrieve the dog, who by this time had had his swim and was now stuck because he wouldn’t climb back up the stones.

Godfrey was certainly a character, quirky, loving and loaded with phobias. So sweet, loved everyone except the UPS driver.  

I have been blessed with so many wonderful dogs since him, but I certainly do miss him.

Abby Bird is owner of Alphadog Training Academy.