What I Learned About Men from My Dog
Copyrighted by Lorna Tedder. Originally published in Third Degree Tilt.
My puppy Â is teaching Â me aboutÂ men.Â In particular, heâ€™s answering some questions Iâ€™ve had since I was a little wee tiny girl. Like why is it men never seem the least bit worried about finding a bathroom?
Grendel, named for the monster in â€œBeowulfâ€ (I canâ€™t help itâ€”I was an English major), can be quite the little watch-puppy with a ferocious bark from such a tiny critter and the balls to back it up if Iâ€™m threatened. His favorite thing to do is tear the eyes out of his toys. Iâ€™d always had girl dogs, often strays, so heâ€™s a new experience for me with all his boy-ness.
Actually, Â he Â belongs Â to Â the Â girls, Â but Â while Â theyâ€™re gone, heâ€™sÂ being Â Mommyâ€™s Â dog, whichÂ means Â I get to take him for a Â walk. Or in this case, a drag, as in him dragging me.
Last year, our neighbor kept him regularly trimmed up and spiffy, and he was always a good dog for the grooming sessions, but our girls had a fight and thatâ€™s that.
With the summer heat on us, we finally had him professionally groomed Â because he was a hot little fur-ball whoâ€™d pant just walking through the house. Now, under all the fur, we find out heâ€™s still tiny. The first place (a major Â commercial Â pet Â supply Â store) Â made Â us Â wait Â for Â 6 weeks for an appointmentâ€”longer Â than I have to wait for Â a hair cut Â after Â I finally Â decide Â to get an appointmentâ€”and then they botched the job. Wanted to charge me full price and a special handling fee and did nothing but give him a bath. Not even a bath as good as the girls give him and he had lots of matted hair and some dirt spots when he came home. Basically, they wet him down and blew him dry over about 3 hoursâ€™ time I had to wait and thenÂ announced Â to me Â that they couldnâ€™t trim his too-long toenails or clip him or anything because he was so misbehaved. But the groomer suggested, after trying to charge full-price Â for…nothing…that Â we put him through their obedience school and bring Â him back more often for grooming so he could get used to it. Until then, he was too bad a dog for the groomer to deal with. The groomer then left Â early, though the receptionist thought Grendel was adorable and didnâ€™t know what went wrong with the groomer. This was said as he was licking the girlâ€™s face.
#1. Kisses will get you lots of sympathy and petting. Since he needed his rabies shot, we took him by the little animal clinic down the street. They had no problems with him at all and both GrendelÂ and his groomer Â were quite happy with the results. Â And neither Â one of them had to be sedated.
#2. A little petting will go a long way.
So today, I take him for an afternoon walk. The girl dogs Iâ€™ve had have always rushed for the door to relieve themselves as quickly as Â possible. Heâ€™s very excited that Iâ€™m taking him outside but when I pause to let him â€œgo,â€ he ignores me in favor of dashing ahead into the great big world
#3. Go before I leave home? Why? The world is my bathroom.
He finally stops at the fern garden and hikes a back leg. Oh, yeah. Heâ€™s been holding it a long time. But weâ€™re barely out on the woodsy trail before heâ€™s hiking that leg for every other tree.
#4. Always save some for later. You can go anytime you want, as often as you want.
So this persists Â for the next mile. He plows Â ahead, panting Â andÂ Â pulling Â against Â the Â leash, Â then Â stopping abruptly to mark a tree. Iâ€™m Â amazed at how much this puppy can hold and that heâ€™s still giving of Â himselfÂ 50 trees later.
#5. My territory. And donâ€™t you forget it.
An older man comes by on his bike and Grendel is ready to eat the man alive, true to his namesake. It takes all Â I can Â do Â to Â hold Â my Â puppy Â back. Â But Â the Â guyâ€™s Â a stranger and really doesnâ€™t belong in my Â neighborhood. There are kids on tricycles on this trail.
#6. My territory. And donâ€™t you forget it.
He stops to sniff a bush and is moved to poop all over it. Thatâ€™s when I see that another dog beat him to it about a day ago. Watering the bush just isnâ€™t enough now, not if itâ€™s been pooped on already.
#7. Know your competition. Â My territory. And donâ€™t you forget it.
Within another 25 feet, Grendel is hot, panting, exhausted, Â nearly Â ready Â to Â be Â carried Â home Â by Â Mommy. Thatâ€™s when the huge dog on the other side of the fence starts barking and Grendel rushes to the fence to argue. How dare that big dog talk to us like that! The bigger dog is coming close to jumping the fence and Iâ€™m trying my best to pull my little 15-pounder back and thinking this is really good for my bicep curls. I manage to drag him away from the Â fence Â and Â he, Â not Â willing to Â concede Â defeat, yanks away from me long enough to hike that Â leg once again and pee all over the other dogâ€™s fence with every- thing heâ€™s got left! So there!
#8. Always Â save Â some Â for Â later. Â You Â never Â know when you might need it. My territory. Donâ€™t you forget it.