We had to put our beloved dog, Brandy to sleep last summer, and our house has been empty, dog-wise at least, until Jody, a labrador/poodle mix came to live with us a month ago. She is a sweet three month old, with a lot of energy and not much common sense. Of course, she is still a baby and I guess babies themselves don’t have a lot of common sense, so I shouldn’t be so harsh. After all, babies don’t come out of the womb knowing how to use the toilet, so why should I expect anything different from a puppy? The problem is, she is a fanatic about only peeing on a pile of newspaper. We have to be very careful not to leave any paper lying around lest she pee on yesterday’s top story which I have not had a chance to read. We have been desperately trying to get her to go outside, but she has developed this irrational fear of going anywhere OTHER than on the newspaper. She seems to be very stuck in her ways, because at the dog park she ran around and played with the other puppies for a few hours, and she did not leak so much as a drop of pee. Have you ever heard of a dog that plays in an area where there are other dogs and it does NOT mark it’s territory, or at least leave a little fragrant sample for others? Not Jody…she held it in until we come home, when she ran straight for the newspaper and peed a massive amount, like she has been holding it all in for hours, (which she clearly HAD.) Poor President Obama’s news would not get read that day.
I began to move the newspaper closer to the back door so she would get the idea that she should be doing it outside. She was getting there…closer and closer. Finally, I eliminated the paper altogether and left the back door open for her to go outside whenever she wanted. (Fortunately, it was not one of those days where we got a freak snow storm.) She went outside to play. She went outside to dig in the dirt. She went outside to swat bugs from her face. She went outside to chew on the branches of a nearby tree. But she would not go outside to pee. Sensing her distress, I did the only thing I could think of; I put a piece of newspaper outside. She ran straight as an arrow to use it. Now, she goes to the door, barks, I let her out, and she pees on the newspaper. If there is no paper, she looks at me with a forlorn expression, and just stands there…it appears that my newspaper subscription will have to be doubled!
Yesterday, I drove Jody up to visit with Marie, (who attends a residential school for children who are deaf.) Marie loves animals, but they do not take to her too kindly because her semblance of speech is loud and guttural, (even scaring me if I was alone in a dark room and didn’t know she was there.) When she called the dog, she scared the poor puppy, which cowered. Marie looked at me with a great sadness. HOW could the puppy not LIKE her? Then she called the dog again, but as I stood behind her, under my breath, I also called the dog, which came running to us. Marie angrily turned and looked at me. “YOU called her,” she signed in ASL, “I saw your lips move”, obviously with the eyes she has in the back of her head. She was devastated the dog would not come for her alone. So, we tried it again. This time, I put a large smile on my face and forced a cheery “Jody!!!” through my smile, not moving my lips. The dog came running, Marie was happy that I had not called her, (?) and my lips didn’t move a bit! (Try it….) The fact that her friends and teachers to whom she introduced the dog were also deaf was also a lucky break on my part because they couldn’t squeal on me.
Okay, so it was a little bit dishonest on my part, but what parents don’t do things a little bit out of the ordinary to see their children happy? Nothing feels better than the warm heart you get when you see your children smile, and Marie was smiling a lot that day. Besides, the dog will soon learn to love Marie as we do, even though she can be a little loud and scary…
I would love to come and speak for your group or at your conference. I would do it for free, but would need the price of travel. For functions in the North East, that would be only gas money.
Link to my book
Link to the Readers Digest review of my book: http://www.rd.com/recommends/what-to-read-after-a-hurricane/