Saturday, March 19, 2011

Dog Whisperer - - - NOT!

You may recall that my husband found a boxer puppy on a desert road. After waiting for three days, no one claimed him and he officially became a new member of my family. I had already named him Leroy and in so doing there was no question in my mind that if he didn't belong somewhere else, he belonged with me.

I picked up a book last night written by a very spiritual lady. One of the chapters is devoted to pets. Among other things, she asserts that pets come into our lives to teach us about ourselves. Upon reflection it became clear that Leroy might just be a very skilled professor in disguise. His teaching methods, though bizarre, seem effective.


Confronting my tendency to procrastinate has been something I've always put off. Leroy saw the flaw in my character immediately when I started leaving his training for tomorrow, and tomorrow. I've promised myself that I will eventually enroll him in dog obedience training. But I said that with Daisy (my other dog) too and thus far it hasn't happened. However, Leroy's behavior is a constant reminder that this time I cannot procrastinate. He needs training ASAP.


It looks like teaching me patience is also at the top of his priority list. (And here I thought the Ladies, my mother and mother-in-law, were already in charge of that curriculum.) It seems Leroy's teachings rely a lot on rote and repetition. Mechanically I find myself constantly checking to make sure he is not dragging away laundry or area rugs, stealing garbage, books and pillows, or disregarding potty rules. Patiently, I have repeated the word "no" ad infinitum. Slowly I'm learning that patience is not so much a virtue as it is an alternative to insanity.

Another possible lesson from Leroy is that our decisions have consequences, not just for ourselves but for others. The Ladies have yet to show any sign of fondness for Leroy. His energy level seems to scare them. Interestingly, they have established a deeper bond with Daisy who has been most effected by the imposition of a new sibling. As much as she tries, Daisy cannot ignore Leroy, whose life goal seems to be to annoy her. He wants to play, to run, to sleep and eat with her. I try to separate them to give her a little respite, but Leroy finds a way to be with her regardless of any discomfort to himself. Daisy has been a little sick (hypothyroidism) and has absolutely no interest in playing or otherwise socializing with Leroy in any manner. She seems so sad with the sudden change in her life.


But not all consequences are negative. My husband and I are closer now as we engage in many practical and philosophical conversations about how best to respond to Leroy's needs.
"You take him out this time."
"No, it's your turn."
"Look he's eating the remote control."
"Did you feed him?"
"What, Daisy can get up with you on the couch but Leroy can't?"
"But I've always cuddled with Daisy. Leroy is going to be too big for that."
"That's not fair."
"They're dogs. They don't know about fairness. Besides, life's not fair."

Well, there are many lessons still left for me to learn. But I do already know that every one, every thing has potential to make a difference. Leroy has. I know too, that Leroy, whose name is almost synonymous with mischief, has ignited a little spark of joy and fun in mine and my husband's life. I think eventually he'll be good for Daisy and the Ladies too. It is his lively, funny temperament and his uniqueness that we love as well as the fact that undoubtedly, he'll enhance our education.

"Life is a succession of lessons which must be lived to be understood."
Thomas Carlyle

12 comments:

  1. How lucky for Leroy to be given such great caregivers. There is problem solving along the way.

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  2. haha...you are givingme a preview as we are considering getting the boys a dog...ugh...not sure i am ready to be taught...lol

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  3. Oh Myrna! This made me smile! You certainly have more patience than I do! It looks like you inherited a dog with the opposite disposition of Vern! And yes, I agree with Paul C. above...how lucky that your husband and Leroy found each other!!

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  4. you grow smarter with your pets.
    lovely reflections.
    cute dogs.

    :)

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  5. i used to have a dog when i was a teenager - and i wholeheartedly agree with what you say myrna..

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  7. Well, Myrna, looks like there is an undertone of something else running here. I understand absolutely, Myrna. I'm glad that you are learning to handle Leroy and yourself through this phase.

    All the best.

    Joy always,
    Susan

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  8. Oh Myrna, this is bringing back our early days with Ellie when she was a puppy. She's now nearly 8, but last night was one of those nights that surely tested our patience and compassion. The new snow from yesterday melted and slid off the roof all night long... with every snow slide, anxious barking followed...and if that were not enough, our oldest kitty decided upon a midnight serenade... a long night... but we love them.

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  9. I have two big dogs. They are the bane of my life and the bliss of my life. Sometimes you eat the bear and sometimes the bear eats you. It's all good.

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  10. Myrna - I'm certain that pets are in our lives to teach us and like you I've learnt many lessons of patience and unconditional love from Pablo. I'm sure Leroy will settle down - but at heart he'll always be a mad boxer! Good luck with him!

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