Woody & His Very Human Mama (A Story)

Woody and I are going for a long walk to the vineyards. It’s a hefty 10 minute climb before we get to the stair case–the place I feel it’s safe to let Woody off his leash. After that, it’s 99 stairs up and another several minutes of steady climbing before arriving in the midst of the now dormant grape vines.

My winter layers start to produce a sauna effect so I unzip my vest to let it hang from my elbows, the brisk winter wind cooling me.

We haven’t taken this route for a few months. Each time I pause to look over my shoulder at Woody, he pulls his nose out of whatever critter hole it’s in at the moment, turns toward home and takes a few steps in that direction. It has been too long and he’s forgotten that this is a safe place to be. But as I long as I keep going, so will Woody.

Coaxing him helps motivate me for the reward: a break from climbing, the view of the valley below and the descent home. It’s my favorite walk of the many we take around our little German village and I decided I would not let so many months go by before taking it again. I don’t have many months left here anyway.

When Woody and I arrive back at the door of the apartment building 15 minutes later, I find two empty vest pockets where my apartment key had previously been in one. After a quick gasp came a hefty growling sigh; first, not knowing where the key could be and then recalling my vest hanging, pockets open to the vineyard floor.

I would have to make the climb back up to get my key. And the Woodster would have to come with me.

Woody plants his feet and I tell him I’m sorry but he has to come. By the third time he plants and I pull, we are only 100 feet from home and another exasperated sigh escapes me.

I think through my options again…

Are the cleaning ladies still at the apartment building? Yep, there’s their van. Now–how to get their attention from outside and let me in? No telling which apartment they are in for sure.

Is my neighbor Nancy home? Nope.

If I could just get into the Mini Haus, I wouldn’t have to tug at the stubborn 35 pounds at the end of the leash and practically drag him a second time where he wasn’t happy to go the first time today.

I call Alan to see if he is by chance running errands for work and could swing by with his key to let me in. No, he isn’t, but he will gladly wrap up what he is doing within a few minutes and come let me in. (My hero!)

I hang up the phone and head back to the apartment door to wait.

As I near the door, it opens and out come the cleaning ladies. I ask if they can let me into my apartment (recalling with pride that this is only the second time I have locked myself out since moving in 7 months ago–go me!) and they smile and say, “Kein problem!”

This time it’s a sigh of relief that comes from me. And a “Danke schoen!” to the lady who sets her basket down to help me.

Relief was not only expressed in laughter but also felt as we approach the Mini House door and see that my key is, in fact, right where I left it. In the door.

I had to think–Why is it there?

Oh yeah.


“Woody, let’s go for a walk!”

He runs under the bed.

“Come on Woody. Let’s go!” Leash and harness in hand, I walk to the door and open it.

He stays under the bed. I stand and wait a few seconds.

“OK, I’m leaving without you.” I shut the door behind me, take a few steps. Pause. Go back and unlock the door, open it…success! Woody’s rushing to come, now believing my word.

Pleased with my black-male I proceed to put his harness and leash on him. And off to the vineyards we go!


The moral of this story is never let your perpetual toddler think he’s going for a walk when really you’re just trying to do anything to get him into his crate so he can be left behind.

By the way, my “deception” was many months ago. He loves me still. He just doesn’t trust me sometimes.

We deserve each other.

4 thoughts on “Woody & His Very Human Mama (A Story)

  1. Oh man that’s great! I’m so glad you didn’t have to go searching for you key. I tried to use the I’m going with out you thing on Ellie. She just giggled and said “ok I stay with Zoe”. She went to the window with Zoe and waved good bye as I pretended to get in the car. I was defeated and I had to go in and coax her out with chocolate 🙂

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