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.
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.