Mr. Doberdog and I are certainly great friends, he's a curious guy, loves everyone he meets, and from what we've seen, loves children and babies. He wags profusely at strollers, which leads me to believe he might have known a few kidlets in his past. As pathetic as this may sound, we like to test out his food bowl periodically, we'll stick our hands in and around his dry food, manhandle his muzzle, play with his ears, his hindquarters, his paws, as he eats. He never has an issue, he doesnt even notice. I've crawled on all fours over to his food bowl (you can judge me, it's ok) and stuck my face in his face with zero reaction just the loud crunchy crunch of his kibble (i would never do this with any other dog but him). Often three year olds will "LOOK MAMA A BIG DOG-GEE" him and they'll pat his back, he's so tolerant, in fact i think he secretly loves children because they might have a lot common, the simple things entertain them. I'd like to expose him to more children but understandably, parents are afraid of him, and often wait for us to pass on the sidewalk.
As wonderful has Loki is with all people, I can't help but feel a tad envious of the majority my social group who have adopted very well off-leash-on-leash-dog-on-dog socialized dogs. We were recently discussing the bond they share with local dog owners at their various off-leash parks. One of my friends said point-blank "I love my dog park family, I see them sometimes twice a day, at least once a day, I talk to them more than my family. They even have dog park bbqs and picnics in the summer."
Now, I certainly do agree that having a dog forces you out of your walking inner-monologue and is great for impromptu conversation. I'm only envious that I've not been able to take him to these popular parks because of how reactive he can be with certain large dogs. Street encounters are usually a lot better. Blogs have been a great outlet, almost like an off-leash dog park in their own right, with no limitation to what you discuss and lots of wags. I'll consider this my place for a bbq tailgate.
In a somewhat related note: I'm going to be taking a trip to Turkey (my first time overseas!) this summer for a sixteen day cross-country adventure. My Dad (who is a fantastic dog-grampa to Loki) will be taking him for a part of the time. For the other half of the time we are unsure as to who can officially take him, likely another relative but I feel really stressed about the social rules that surround Loki, it can't be someone who is not used to handling an animated 84lb dog. I generally suffer from Anxiety, but this element of summer vacation has me stressing about the "What Ifs". "What if they introduce him to the wrong dog?" "What if he pushes a door open and excitedly bolts into a strange neighborhood?" (It's happened before but he didnt really run too far, just ran around into people's garages with this hysterically mischievious look on his face, zig zagging across the streets) We've left him for weekends before, but never this long.
I am almost positive that as we are channeling our inner-Indiana Jones while horseback riding amongst the fairy chimneys of Cappadocia, I'll see his little-big Doberdog face represented in a bunch of random things much like this hilariously true blog post from the pack at RasZoBai