Cont from Part I...
I had just been handed a new puppy in my undergraduate English class, presented to me by the professor. I left class to take the puppy home. “Home” was 2 ½ blocks west of campus, with my parents and siblings. I walked in the door and was a little disappointed to find that mom was not home. Surprises not shared are stifled. Yet, I knew my mother was fully aware of our new family member.
I knew this because the English professor was my dad.
I found an old blanket and a box and turned them into a puppy bed that any street dog would yearn for. After cuddling with the puppy for a while, I placed her in the new bed, tucked her away in our shoe closet and drove off to the library. In my 19 years of life, I had become quite an expert in being a non-dog owner. Changing that status was going to require some work.
Later that afternoon, mom and dad purchased some puppy owner essentials such as food, a water dish and ear plugs. But it soon became apparent that what we needed, perhaps even more than food, were doggy diapers and a witch dogtor that could make the dog behave. Either that or a private veterinarian with an endless supply of sedatives.
Over the next few days, our relationship grew. To reflect the color of her beautiful coat, I named the dog Cinnamon. She was spicy and the name fit her well. My brothers adored her, my mom tolerated her and I loved her.
Then, I could not put it off any longer. It was time to begin training. I could hardly wait to teach Cinnamon fancy tricks like give me a handshake, or make my bed. But I was reasonable. I understood that this would require mutual trust, discipline and actually spending time with the dog. So I started with the basics: a little something I call potty training. Things went fairly well. In fact, just as I had hoped, Cinnamon began to do all of her business outside. Mostly because she was no longer allowed inside.
Then I began to work on training Cinnamon to do things like sit and come. This would have been more successful if (1) I was not busy in college, (2) I knew how to train dogs, and (3) I still liked Cinnamon.
I mean, part of me still loved her of course, but she had become like an ingrown toenail.
To be cont….