"We are not getting a dog. That is final," said by me, repeatedly through the spring, summer and autumn of 2015 when the kids' campaign for a puppy was at it's zenith.
Last week he turned a year old, which means we have had him with us for 10 months. My moment of weakness has changed life around here for all of us. For the better.
To be clear, he did not make a good first impression. The very first thing he did when the boys and I brought him home from the breeder in Hamilton – and dutifully walked him down the block and back after the long ride – was piddle and poop on the living room rug. I was sure I had made a huge mistake. But he looked at me with his sweet puppy face and big amber eyes and it was clear we were going to make this relationship work.
In exchange for overwhelming love and licks (and no more lazy mornings sleeping in), Tucker gets unconditional love from all four kids and this Mama. I have learned that I'm "Alpha" and in keeping with my position everything about his existence is strictly regulated. After all, I’m raising him to be a good dog not an indulged puppy! The training has proven to be pretty easy as he is a smart dog and so far we have prevailed. Best of all, his first ‘mistake’ in the living room was his last. Some days I feel that he is training us, but no matter, it’s working for everyone.
Tucker goes for two long walks every day; he is leash and crate trained, and now that he's bigger, he can entertain himself in the back yard. He enjoys catching the Frisbee and tennis ball but still doesn't understand the toys have to come back to a human in order for the game to continue. He gets treats for poops, sitting nicely and the rare time he understands "stay."
He barks rarely and when he does it is almost always for ice cubes to ease the pain of endless teething. Ice cubes are now “bowled” down the hallway and he does his best Carey Price impression trying to stop them before they hit the front door. He’s getting very good at this little game.
He chews everything. He especially enjoys shoes and will find the smelliest or newest pair and bring one in front of the owner as if to say, "You left it out – what do you expect?" which has resulted in my kids (finally) putting their belongings away!
Tucker rings the jingle bells that dangle from the doorknob on the front door for a walk and the bells at the back door to play in the yard. He has incredibly heavy feet that he has finally grown into, and you can hear him coming and going by the thud, thud, thud on the hardwood floors.
Last week he brought his towel from his crate to the laundry room, so I washed it. That made him very happy. Have I mentioned that I’m well trained?
Everyone, both people and dogs, throughout the neighbourhood, knows Tucker, and he greets everyone with a happy bounce and his tail goes in circles like a manic whirligig. On his daily walks he is terrified of the flocks of squawking Canada geese that fly overhead and wary of the endless squirrels. Rainy days are his favourite. I suspect it is because all other creatures are smart enough to seek shelter and he doesn’t have to keep an eye out for them. He adores small children, especially those in strollers and wagons and is getting used to hearing their happy squeals of pure delight when he tries to sniff them.
Reluctant at first, he is now accustomed to the truck, and each morning, we drive the kids to school and we pick them up in the late afternoon. Each morning and afternoon, at the sound of me gathering the keys, he sits in front of the garage door waiting impatiently for the drive. Over the summer holidays he’d sit in front of the garage door and let out one anxious bark which resulted in my driving him, alone, over to the school and back home again.
Out of sheer fear, he would not jump into the truck, you know, like dogs do. It took a long time, but he no longer needs to be lifted in and he's finally put on his big boy panties and jumps out by himself when we get home.
Tucker is no guard dog. That’s okay; it’s not his purpose. Though it’s comical the number of things that scare him: the garbage disposal, flushing the toilet, the back stairs (they're dark), the garbage bin wheels on the driveway; he really is just a fluff ball and he does that job well. As my kids are at the stage of leaving home, I’ll be glad for his company when it is just the two of us.
From what I can tell, Tucker is a happy dog. He keeps track of everything from his seat on the couch. Yeah, there was once a rule that he was not to be on the furniture, but like the kids say "Awww, he's so cuuuuute," so he gets away with it. So far he still sleeps in the crate in the living room, but I can see those days coming to an end.
Sometimes you just have to say "yes." I'm glad I did.
Lee Currie is a Clarity Coach, speaker and writer for people who know it’s time to show up, get real and make a change but don’t know how to start or finish the work needed to realize the most confident, authentic and incredible version of themselves. When not clarifying lives, you can find Lee indulging in her practice of Kundalini yoga, reading a book from one of the many stacks littering her home and enjoying the occasional sushi lunch out with friends. You can find her at http://leecurrie.com/
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