Okay, so I’ve avoided talking too much about our pup, Wembley, who has lived in our house exactly one year … but after this morning’s walk, I can’t stop myself.
Wembley is a golden retriever. The kids and I had been begging for a dog for years, showering Jon at every turn with all the wonderful reasons why we “need” a dog. Most of which were as ridiculous as Jon called them to be. But in a moment of weakness, temporary insanity, possibly compassion and love for his wife and kids, Jon succumbed. And Wembley joined the Wymas. She has a sweet spirit, doesn’t jump on Jack and overall is an agreeable dog. Still, she seems to be a bit dull at times. But who knows… maybe her antics can just be chalked up to puppy.
She’s only allowed in 2 rooms of the house – when she’s out of her kennel. The back yard is her domain (areas of which she has destroyed almost a dozen times). She’s often adorable, but requires almost constant supervision (see also: consumed goggles, clothes, shoes, yard equipment, remote controls – three to be exact, drain covers, balls, towels, writing utensils, tools … sadly this list could go on). Our reluctant dad not only has every right to point out the enormous expense associated with the mutt but also his children’s predictable forgetfulness of all the well-meaning assurances that they would “take care of her”.
She knows when she’s doing something wrong… but she can’t stop herself. The gravitational pull is just too strong. In fact, my hand is paying the price this morning for her need to explore, urge to chase just one more squirrel, desire to greet the dog across the street. On our morning walks she might (and I emphasize the word “might”) stay with me a few feet, but before long she strains at the end of the leash as if her life depended on it.
This morning was no different than almost every other. She greeted me with sweet whines and major tail wagging when I walked downstairs, took care of her business and gleefully bounded to the gate when she saw me grab the leash. She dutifully sits while I clip it to her collar – probably as hopeful as I that maybe today she might stay by my side. Nahhh… no can do. Too much to see, smell and try to yank me down the road to do.
I think she genuinely wants to obey. But all the sounds and smells are just so enticing. She doesn’t care that the leash and collar are uncomfortably taut for the duration of our outing. Neither does she mind the scoldings or occasional yanks back to my side.
But I do. It hurts my hand. And my arm and shoulder are embarrassingly sore.
This morning she iced the cake when after our walk she darted through the open gate, across the street and gleefully ran through a neighbor’s sprinklers to “greet” a dog-walking passer-by. To say this lady didn’t want to be greeted is an understatement. She started blood-curdling screaming at the top of her lungs as if her child was being abducted or a loved one was falling from a building to their death. I’m not kidding. The woman, apparently confusing dopey Wembley for Jack the Ripper, was warning the neighborhood and alerting authorities with her screams and wails of terror. Quite the wake-up call on an early, formerly peaceful, morning.
Wembley sees me racing across the street and guiltily schlurks back across a couple yards, stopping to stick her nose in a few spewing sprinkler heads along the way. The woman, clutching her dogs, yelled at me a few obscenities and went on her way. Such a lovely way to start the day. And I stared at that dog… wondering why. First why people behave so strangely with their dogs – I mean seriously who yells like that… but that’s another story. Second, why this dog just doesn’t get it.
Of course, I never have to travel too far before being convicted of my own behavior. At one point on our walk when she was pulling and straining on the leash, obligatorily listening to me (you know, just hearing… not really taking anything in), ready to bolt at the next exciting opportunity (usually of the squirrel persuasion) – I thought about my kids and their tendencies to act the same way. Then I thought about me and wondered if I strain in the same determined to get own way as Wembley on my life-walk with God.
Why does that dog strain? Does she not know that I have her best interests in mind. Does she not realize that I can see the speeding cars that she can’t? Does she not get that I care about her safety? Does she understand that next to me she might avoid a lot of whackos? Does she not grasp that if she could learn to listen, obey, stay by my side, come when I call, that I just might be able to let her off her leash? … that all the places she would like to explore might be open to her? Does she have a clue that all the freedom she so desperately longs for just might be available when she rests by my side.
Hmmm…. who knew that walking a dog could be so convicting.
Thanks for enduring my musings, and for walking the road with me. I’m going for a loose leash day today.
(Don’t forget to check out yesterday’s MOATblog post, “Do-It-Myself, Forgotten Motto of the Entitled Teen” on Janet Denison’s blog. She was super nice to host.)
Wow. THis was soooo convicting!!
There is a light at the end of the dog tunnel. We have a Golden Retriever too, named Beehoven. He’s five now, still has this unending zest for life, but, he’s become the a fantastic dog. It took him a few years to really know his manners….and he minds me better than my seven year old son!!! He stopped chewing things that didn’t belong to him when he was around two years old. I have spent a lot of time training him to obey my commands because he is a family dog and as such he goes with us just about everywhere we go. He’s allowed to roam about the house and property freely, however, he is absolutely not allowed on the furniture unless he’s invited…..and he knows this. Also, with a big dog, I felt it paramount to be able to have a well behaved, obedient dog. Also, Beethoven is neutered….though I don’t think it had the affect on his energy that I expected. Bottom line, Wembly will age into her manners and obedience. Even today, Beethoven will run across the street to greet humans and dogs alike. I preface the greeting with “he won’t hurt you”. Goldens truly are fabulous dogs. Don’t give up on her. I have learned, like kids, dogs thrive when they know the rules. They understand the better they behave, the more desireable they are to be around their humans.
I know it’s unsolicited advice, but it’s taken me years of patience and perseverance to understand what a blessing Beethoven has been to our family.
Don’t forget, a tired dog is a good dog! Do you have Chuck It dog ball thrower? It may really help…along with time and maturity.