Reader, meet Millie:
I know. Sweet, right? Oh, but you should see her when she gets ahold of my slippers. Eight months old and I am completely out-maneuvered.
I have a stack of books: Canadian monks who raise exceptional German Shepherds, an English “dog listener”, a Wisconsin radio personality…you get the idea, all of these experts (and if I am completely honest, the average citizen) knows a lifetime more than me about dogs. For instance, I am certain that none of them (or you) has ever failed to correctly read the back of the dog food bag, giving their 35 lb. pup enough food for a 100 lb. dog. This amount seemed perfectly reasonable to me until a woman who works at the kennel made a funny little noise in the back of her throat when I gave her Millie’s feeding instructions. My mom confirmed, “Four cups of food a DAY?!?”
Millie was found in the swamp (for some reason this detail turns me to mush) a few weeks before Thanksgiving, and we adopted her from a shelter while visiting relatives. Apparently, even the Human Society has sales on Black Friday. When we brought her home, I assumed that she needed to be “socialized” (hadn’t I read that somewhere?). My plan was to walk her to and from school, where she could meet kids and parents and charm the town.
I do not know what I was thinking (obviously it was along the same lines as feeding her four cups of Taste of the Wild). The swamp, the shelter, and the schoolyard: which one of these is not like the other? The lowest moment was not when the kindergartners, their sweet, expectant faces (“A puppy!”) ran away as she started jumping like a dancing bear (She just really, really likes people. Really.), but when the couple with the perfect dogs walked by. So stark was the contrast between these calm, collected creatures, walking like kings, and my lowly pup, straining and tearing at the leash. I could not resist asking, “How in the world did you do that?” It was hard to hear–barking and after school shouting and the throbbing inside my head–but I believe she said dog school and a lot of work.
So, we have now properly established that I know very little about taking care of a dog, let alone training one, and yet, I still have a dog. I took the advice (thank you anonymous dog walkers with the perfect dogs!), and we are now enrolled in weekly puppy classes. There is a lot of work to do (judging from the sounds coming from our kitchen, Millie is, at this moment, attempting to obtain and devour my son’s leftover peanut butter toast), but we are too smitten to back out now. Prepare to be charmed!