I've been wondering if I should do anything for the dog's first birthday. Evidently the answer was "no" because it passed over a month ago, and we didn't do anything. But I've been thinking about how much he's grown up since we got him.
He's been so good, I've been writing a post in my head singing his praises. There was the time he was sitting RIGHT BELOW a plate full of link sausages, and he didn't even look up and smell it. He walked right by it half a dozen times, never even looked up. And the paper towel they were draining on was hanging off the counter! (I was so floored I took a photo!) And there are all those times he just walks out onto the porch to greet people who come over, and then comes right into the house with them. Without me even having to call him into the house. He is rock solid housetrained, he's friendly to everyone, person or beast. And for the longest time he wasn't hardly shedding at all. The list of good qualities just goes on and on.
Look at him ignoring those sausages!
Well, it turns out he does shed, I guess he was just fiercely clinging to his puppy coat or something. And he does get things off the table - he chewed up the cute little hand carved wooden spoon that goes in the wooden sugar bowl I brought back from Germany 15 years ago. He stole it off the table when I was out. And then yesterday he ripped out two strands of the drip sprinkling system in the back yard. I hadn't even left him out there very long, dang it! Hubby recently gave me a brief sprinkler tutorial and then turned the sprinkler maintenance responsibility over to me. This is a responsibility he is very happy to unload and I am loathe to accept. I found one blown sprinkler head in the front yard a couple of weeks ago and have been hand watering to cover the dry spot rather than fix the small geyser the broken sprinkler head creates. I had hoped the rest of the system would limp through the fall season and then we could turn it off and I could ignore it until next spring. But NO! The dog has brought the harsh reality of sprinkler responsibility in the form of little black tubes and uprooted petunias on the patio.
And then, the last straw, today he ran away. I had to run an errand in the neighborhood, and I just walked over since it was so close. The dog watched me go out the front door, and stood and watched me walk away, but somewhere down the line he grasped in his little brain that I wasn't just going out and right back in like I often do, I was ACTUALLY LEAVING ON FOOT and NOT TAKING HIM WITH ME. I could hear him barking. It is my theory that he got mad at me for leaving him behind and decided if I could go for a little solo walk then he could too. When I came back 45 minutes later he BOLTED out the front door and galloped into the next door neighbor's front yard. I went out on the porch and called him. He stood staring at me. I started to go into our house, as sort of a threat. This usually works. But not this time. He just stood there watching. I went back out to the porch and down to the front yard and called him. I started walking toward him with the intent of dragging him back by some of that fur. He saw me coming and RAN AWAY! He trotted down to the sidewalk and off up the street. I was flabbergasted! Verging on furious! He has only done this once before, and that time I dragged him home by the scruff of his neck muttering at him... obviously that didn't impress upon him the dire consequences of incurring my wrath, because here he ran off again!
I marched back in the house and got his collar and leash - I don't put a collar on him all the time because it cuts off all the fur around his neck and I like him looking big and fluffy. I followed him up the street. He was already most of the way to the end of the block, 5 or 6 houses away, by the time I got out to the sidewalk. He crossed a moderately busy neighborhood intersection (thankfully no cars around) and stopped to sniff a woman walking by. He sat on the sidewalk and watched me cross the street, and didn't run when I walked up to him and put his collar on him.
Of course I can't yell at him, because I don't want him to flee my wrath should he ever run off again. And he trotted along happily with me back to our house, it wasn't like he was dragging on the leash, he was happy to go with me.
It will be a long time before I let him darken my doorway without a leash clamped firmly around his neck. I keep thinking about his big furry butt trotting away from me, out into that street... I sure as shooting would have zapped him with the shock collar, if only I had one.
By the way I'm NOT buying a shock collar for the two times a year he misbehaves. But I do daydream about cranking the control up to 11 and zapping his furry ass.