I should preface by saying that our 10 year old male Sheltie, Silver, is probably the best pet ever. He never barks, goes out to do his business, is laid back and still snuggly, has always been patient with the children’s games, and adores “his people.” He is somewhat afraid of cars and stairs. He doesn’t hear as well as he used to. He is part of our family.
But he is getting older, and recently the family have been discussing how wonderful it would be if we had another dog to keep him company and learn from his casual, loving, calm, patient ways. And then we met Tilly.
So at 10 weeks old, Tilly, a mostly white Sheltie pup, came to join our family.
The children, realizing that Tilly in her cute little fun-loving furry ways would command a great deal of attention, have become concerned that Silver may “fall into depression.” If someone is patting Tilly, or heaven forbid poor Silver should need a moment of “me” time, and there are cries of “PAT SILVER!!!” with an urgency as if he were in need of CPR or something. While there is no question her arrival has rocked his world, I am somewhat more confident that it has been in a positive way. His complete disregard for her personal space and need to hover in her general area seem to suggest he has no desire for her to leave any time soon.
So, my summer of unemployment has also turned into my summer of puppy training. And Miss Tilly and I have been spending a lot of time together.
How can I describe Tilly? Easily distracted (Oh look, a fly! Oh look, a bird! Oh look, a dried up old leaf!), with a penchant for plowing through a garden (or weed patch) as if it were her personal jungle. She is lively and full of energy, and heaven help us when she gets hyper (which is at least twice a day).
So, given that I am currently without a job, and Tilly is currently without training, I have decided that the first order of business would be to train the pup to ring a bell hung from the doorknob every time she needs to go outside. Never mind that she had no idea what her own name was, what was and wasn’t a chew toy, or apparently what the word “no” meant… this, dear readers, would be my project. This, I ventured, would yield fundamental results when her world widens beyond the kitchen, particularly when we relish a home that is more or less bark free. This also means, given the boredom of the kitchen (which is serving as dog world until training is complete), and the fact that apparently bells hung from door knobs are the best toys ever, that I must take Miss Tilly outside ten freaking million times a day. It’s getting old.
I have little doubt she knows what the bell means now. And I have no doubt she actually does want out that many times. She was born to garden dive and outside is where we keep our unkempt beds that were once garden. The solution may apparently be to make my yard as boring as my kitchen.
I have said that having a puppy is a lot like having a furry toddler, but I think I mean that in more ways than just that it is a huge pile of work and discipline. I remember watching my own girls as toddlers, full of curiosity and excitement as they discovered the world around them. I have never walked in my yard at 6 am before. I have now recently had to opportunity to speak to neighbours as they go about their business. I am noticing the nature within my yard (Oh look, a crow the size of a turkey!). And I am discovering more of the personalities within my furry buddies.
We’re all learning. We’re all growing.
And we all need a nap. 🙂