Earlier this month I regaled the full story of how Lefty came to my life, well-trained and decent (albeit his short temper with puppies and occasional alpha-male dominance) manners. I told you about our new dog Maeve, whose spirit is an ancient friend of my own.
As you may have imagined, there is more to this story.
Yes, her soul and my soul may have danced together in another life, and yes she looks knowingly in my eyes, but I did not tell you about last month when she bolted inside with her lead still fastened to her collar and she wrapped her rope around Leroy’s little legs and tied him up like a booby trap tripping him face first into the coffee table. He has two little teeth marks on his lip and it was perhaps the bloodiest I’ve seen the little guy. I was furious at Maeve.
The quirks of raising a dog from a puppy are quite different from inheriting a well-mannered dog as an adult. Lefty may have possessed his food which made it difficult for other dogs to be near him while he ate, but no one’s lips were at stake. Certainly not my own son’s perfect lips, the first thing I noticed as he emerged into the world!
I can see longevity in dedication to these early stages of training and bonding with a puppy–and I am grateful and blessed that my puppy is so inclined to please–but these feats are no walk in the park (even when they literally are a walk in the park!).
Yesterday a storm rumbled overhead and the rains came pelt, pelt, pelt and this excited Maeve. She ran into the front door–before all of us (which is never tolerated in our family, humans enter every doorway first!)–then through the house, then out the back door, and around again. I had to bring Maeve back to the front door and calmly tell her that humans walk through the door first, and tell her to sit and wait at the door while all of us walk through the door. My persistence plays an important role in raising Maeve. What work it is to raise a (good) dog, now as an adult. I have such respect for my parents for the work they’ve done to raise good dogs. And I’m humbled by everyone who has a dog, now as an adult! What work! What meaningful work. It’s not always pretty, but it is always worth it.
I love watching Maeve run around with the children, granted I remind her (and them) to be gentle from time to time; I can imagine in a handful of years the three of them adventuring in the woods together, safe and go-lucky. I love that image. I love the family dog. It’s certainly a different picture now that I’m on the parental side of the coin. I’ve now played the role of the bloody child romping with the dog, and I’ve cleaned and comforted the bloody child from the romping dog. Oh, the romping dog.
Do you have any humorous stories about raising a puppy? How does your dog fit into your life? Does your dog get to use the furniture? What is your best dog-raising tip?