The Cherry Blossom Situation

Our first stop on our exciting adventure this weekend was to the DC cherry blossoms! They actually weren’t quite blooming yet because it’s been so cold, but they were budding and it was still gorgeous scenery. Even as DC natives, the cherry blossoms are something we look forward to every year.


But, for the record, anyone who has a dog that’s working on not being overly-excited around other dogs should probably think twice about heading to the cherry blossom festival. . . even if you think that going at 8 am is early enough to beat the crazy crowds. Because it’s not. And you’ll show up unprepared and you won’t have enough treats and neither of you will be ready when a sudden mass of dogs and humans appear nearly on top of you out of what feels like no where. So then because you show up unprepared and the alarming amount of dogs overwhelms you and the crowds and pathways totally don’t lend themselves to DINOS (dogs in need of space), you and your dog have a near meltdown. This includes but is not limited to your dog acting like a total lunatic, you getting extremely flustered and embarrassed, and total failure in the whole “set you dog up for success” category. Oh and of course you’ll be meeting up with some blogging friends who are seeing your dog for the first time and it will be a *perfect* first impression – especially when your dog gets loose from her leash and your friend needs to catch her as she flings herself towards their dog.


09 10So, in summary, folks with dogs who are working on their skills around other dogs will have a totally uneventful and calm trip to the cherry blossoms! What, that’s not what it sounded like I described? Okay, you’re right. It will probably be an exhausting and tough trip. But on your way out you’ll realize how well your dog actually did do, given the circumstances. Slowly you’ll start to put together every moment where she was actually great and you’ll begin to forget the general picture of “bat-sh*t craziness” that it feels like you left with. Then you’ll head out to a secluded spot where you can take pretty pictures in as much personal space as your little heart desires!

14 13 12

And you’ll breathe a big sigh of relief and say, “Good job team”. . . then run to the car before anything else can go wrong right :-)

To adopt Johnnie Cash and her nose that matches the cherry blossoms, email

28 thoughts on “The Cherry Blossom Situation

  1. Well that sounds familiar! We, too, have had many the infamous “melt downs” very publicly. But your you’re right — it’s so important to remember the “wins”

  2. lol, Johnnie did great! There was so much going on that it’s a tough environment to navigate. And that slip could have happened to anyone, T is pretty adept at catching loose dogs thankfully :) And hey, at least Johnnie didn’t end up in the water like one Lab I saw!

  3. Michelle

    Johnnie is gorgeous and even I, a mere human, have trouble in crowds like that. I have also been known to go bat-sh*t crazy. Just ask my poor embarrassed husband.

  4. HA, I love this! I knew Chocko would be a lunatic, so sorry I didn’t meet up, buttt if I did, I’m sure we’d be able to match Johnny’s bat shit crazy ;) Pics are beautiful thought! And, thank you for being so honest about how things sometimes just don’t go as planned.

  5. Callie's Mom

    We made this mistake last year! We were there by 7:30 which was great…hardly any people and very few dogs. But by the time we got completely around the basin the place was mobbed and every time I looked there was another dog….Callie just had several meltdowns and they were all our fault!

  6. Even attempting the cherry blossom festival with a dog is a major feat! We’ve had outings where the distractions were just too much, even if I scouted them out first, and as we retreat to a less distracting spot it can be difficult to realize that they are still doing well given the circumstances.

  7. This happened to us with our town’s pre-4th of July carnival last year. Mushroom got so worked up that Badger also got worked up and slipped his harness. Good times.

    Based on your pictures, it seems like Johnnie did just fine!

    • Looking back, she did a lotttt better than I gave her credit for :) There were just so many dogs who were doing fine…. I have to remember it is usually a small minority of dogs who can handle situations like that with ease!

  8. Thank you for sharing! First of all, I think so many owners (myself sometimes included!) are wary of even venturing out to events like this, because we are worried about the potential issues that might arise. Secondly, it’s nice to know that even seasoned ‘professionals’ like yourself sometimes encounter difficulty… and deal with it gracefully! Thanks for sharing. You and Johnnie are both still superstars in my eyes!

    • Okay, I’m not sure “professional” is quite the word I would use but thanks Steph! It’s funny, as much as I get comments with people saying “thanks for helping me realize my dog is not the only one” type stuff, it’s comments from my readers that make ME feel 100x better about the fact that Johnnie is just your average dog with your average work-in-progress “issues.” I am lucky to have the support of my readers – I can’t imagine how some people do it seemingly all on their own!

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  10. Ha! As a mom to a reactive dog, I totally related to how sometimes ALL THE THINGS seem to come out of no where and you feel kind of stuck as you look for an exit while attached to a dog losing their minds.

    But you got out and realized it wasn’t the best situation for her, so hooray! You did great! And the pics you did get are awesome :)

  11. Kirsten

    Heh, we had our own meltdown much closer to home…Monday was the first day all the restaurant patios in Shirlington Village were up and running. Of course I didn’t have treats on me and *bam*, gauntlet of dogs tied to patio railings. All I could do was hustle us through as quickly as possible, and even then I’m sure we got lots of side-eye as Vin manage to excite every. single. dog. Lesson learned: treats on walks until we re-acclimate for the season!

  12. We made the same mistake with Maggie one time. She had JUST started going to doggie daycare and working on her reactivity. We figured that a trip to the local Petco couldn’t be THAT bad! Wah wahhhh…glad you still got some beautiful pics though. She is quite the stunner!

  13. Pingback: Johnnie & Other Dogs | Peace, Love, & Fostering

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