99th: Drink not too leisurely, nor yet too hastily; before and after drinking, wipe your lips; breath not then or ever with too great a noise, for it is uncivil.
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HARD TIMES CALL FOR HARSH MEASURES
4 December 2004
Sheila and I went back to the dog park today. She hasn't been in several days, due to weather, NaNoWriMo, and my brief trip out of town, so she was VERY antsy and ready to go. In fact, she has learned the difference between staying home and leaving. She knows that when I tell her she's going to stay home, that I give her a rawhide strip before I leave. She runs into the laundry room waiting for me to get a strip, then she takes the strip into the family room and settles down with it and doesn't even pay attention if I have to come back into the house to retrieve something I've forgotten.
Today, I had to go off and donate blood in the morning, so we did the whole "stay home; be a good girl" thing and she happily got her rawhide strip, but then she decided that she would take it with her to the car, and followed me to the door. Oops. New wrinkle.
She and I had a little discussion about her job and my job at that time, and she stayed home. Reluctantly.
[As an aside, you may remember that my blood pressure every time at the blood bank is in the good range, and that when I saw my doctor on Monday it was 180/110, the highest it's ever been. I spoke with the phlebotomist at the Blood Bank about this, she assured me that their readings are quite accurate, and when she took it today it was 137/88. Somebody is mistaken and I strongly suspect it's the blood bank!]
But anyway, I gave blood and then came home to get Sheila for her trip to the park. Needless to say, she was very eager to get there. She always checks on the park as soon as she can see it off in the distance, and I could see she was excited to have dogs there. The last several times we've been there, we've been alone.
There were two dogs there when we arrived. Marley is a lovely big-ish shaggy grey dog she's played with before, and there was another very compact, sturdy looking dog. Sheila and the new dog were snarling and growling at each other before we got to the entry gate. As I opened the gate, the new dog's owners were leaving and so there was no real interaction between the dogs. Marley's owner said that the dog had gone after Marley as well.
But as soon as she was off leash, Sheila also took off after Marley. Marley's owner is a terrific, friendly young guy who pulled them apart and we took them a distance from each other. They started going about their business and then Sheila attacked him again. The owner decided to leave. He was quite good-natured about it, but I was devastated.
If Sheila can't go to the dog park, it's going to be a disaster, and I'm now starting to get afraid of taking her to there I don't want her to be the first dog to be banned from the dog park.
I actually wondered, as I watched her tear across the park today, running top speed, hoping that Marley (who by this time was outside playing happily with his owner) would come back into the park, if I'm doing right by Sheila by keeping her. I imagined finding a home with more active people for her. Then I thought of giving up, of giving her up and I realized that I'm nowhere near ready for that line of thinking. Even if she did decide to lick me awake at 5:30 this morning.
So--hard times call for harsh measures.
I called a personal trainer who will come to the house and work with the two of us. He says that I'll be "amazed" at the difference in just four sessions. I sure hope so. He promises he will get her to obey consistently even off leash. It won't be cheap, but I'm not going to give up on this dog. She's such a sweetheart and I know she's smart--and that's the problem. She's smart enough to realize that it's her choice whether to obey or not, and when she's having fun "not" is the operative word.
I would love for her to consistently come when called, to stop jumping up on everyone--she doesn't jump on me any more, usually (notice that I said "usually"?) but she always jumps on Walt. I would like to be able to tell her to stay and have her actually do it. I would especially like her to calm down with Christmas--and a houseful of guests---coming.
(The psychiatrist dropped by while I was writing this and trying to keep her from leaping on him or running out the door while it was open reinforced the wisdom of this decision.)
So I'm making my list and checking it twice and will meet Dave the Dog Trainer on Tuesday for our first lesson.
The long reign of Ken Jennings finally came to an end earlier this week, as all the rumor mills predicted--on the 75th show after winning $2.5 million.
I know there are people who really got sick of seeing him on the show, but I, for one, will miss him. We watched the show last night before going off to the University to review a show, and we realized that it's a totally new/old experience. After so many months of it being the "Can You Beat Ken Jennings" show, seeing three new players up there, with long gaps as they struggled to guess the proper answers, and low scoring winners...I dunno. I just will miss Ken.
PHOTO OF THE DAY
Goodbye, Ken--you're still the best!