Monday, November 3, 2014

Eat, Play, Love

Our second dog trainer told us one day that, “You don’t get the dog you want, you get the dog you need.” Ahh, philosophical dog trainer Mike, trying to calm me out of my frustrations with a knuckleheaded puppy. He meant well, but I wasn’t falling for his zen of dog training.

I’ve heard countless testimonies from people who’ve adopted rescue puppies like we did, who speak emotionally of how they thought they were rescuing a dog, but in actuality the dog rescued them. Sigh. It’s become the overused mantra of the rescue dog adopter.

Day 1. 
I haven’t bought into that philosophy. We clearly did all the rescuing. We saved our pup from a shady rescue organization that played dumb claimed ignorance of his Parvo disease. Another week in their “care” and he would have surely died. In turn, Milhouse saved US from having any money in the bank (Parvo treatment ain’t cheap). Did I need to go through that emotional and financial crisis?  I don’t think I did. I have been poor before and didn’t need a reminder. I have also been emotionally drained and taken advantage of by dishonest businesspeople; lessons still fresh in memory and not in need of reminders.

I also did not need the blood draws I incurred from puppy teeth, the resulting bruises, or the deep scratches. I am reminded of this everyday by the 3-inch permanent scar on my right shin from a sickle-like dew claw sustained in the midst of behavior training. The only thing that taught me was that I should wear thicker pants.

If my puppy was cosmically sent to me to teach me a great truth, or to save me from something, it has yet to be revealed.

But that’s fine. We did not adopt him because we thought the universe was trying to tell us something. We adopted a puppy to save him from being unduly euthanized, and we wanted an energetic exercise buddy. (Here’s a tip: always aim lower in the energy level you think you want.) Plus, we wanted a schmoopyface to cuddle up with. Ok, that was just me; I never had a pet growing up and I felt I was long overdue for one.  

Conquering the A-frame like a champ!
At almost two years old, Milhouse is allegedly a teenager *in dog years*. In reality he’s still a knuckleheaded puppy. He enjoys agility classes where he rocks the hurdles but hates the teeter-totter. He gets countless daily walks and has mastered double tennis ball soccer. He defies us daily, is sneaky as a weasel, and has covered my house in a permanent layer of dog hair. We have gone through 3 behavioral trainers, each with varying levels of success, but none of whom have earned testimonials of success from us. But no puppy is more loved and snuggled. He is my Englebert Schmooperdink, a nickname he clearly dislikes, as evidenced by his teenager-like groan every time I call him that.

He's a mama's boy at heart, but dad has a good lap, too.
I’m not going to wait for the universe to reveal to me a great truth through the eyes of my dog. Happiness is a warm puppy and all that. 
Sleep, eat, play; repeat.  

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