Counting my chickens

Tonight was destined for greatness. We sat together for a fantastic dinner, spring break was on the horizon, Big Sister was catching up with a friend on the phone, I was prepping lunches for tomorrow, the kitchen was cleaned and Little Sister was about to shoot some hoops with my husband who was home for the evening. Everything seemed so perfect that I nearly felt guilty for all of our good fortune. Giving me the heads up about the pickup basketball game, my husband ran in and somewhere in the mix Little Sister walked out and so did our dog…

I am horribly guilty of thinking that our dog (who we have had for a year and should totally know better than leaving the yard without us!!!!) is frankly, our old dog who left the yard exactly once. I realize this is what lazy people say to shift blame. I am not trying to do that, as I accept the responsibility. This was the THIRD time he got out and bolted. It could have been his last…

At first he looked uninterested, then feeling our growing engagement he trotted a few houses down and sprinting into the backyard, went galloping along the canal. Barefoot and overly full from dinner, my husband and I tromped along after him, finally splitting after my husband saw him take a flying leap into the water and become slightly unmoored at the fact that he was not actually walking on that water… We rounded our neighbor’s yard, with me playing safety along the bank and my husband coming around the front side of the house, where he finally submitted to the commands of “sit” and “stay”. Tired, scared and a little embarrassed, we walked him by the collar home and then to the back yard for a bath where, at least proverbially, my tail was between my legs too.

For the record, earlier today I had taken Receo, the wonder dog, for a three mile walk; yesterday he had a three mile run. That makes me sound like a legit dog owner but the truth is that I have seriously slacked off with him. When he first came home with us, I walked him five or six times a day, then I was scaled waaaaay back to once a day, but at least an hour, then…well, the occasional walk, maybe.

Tonight was a wakeup call, as I know that three strikes usually mean you’re out. Our precious pupper is not the darling houseplant I have been treating him like. My fussing over, preening, feeding and watering and then leaving isn’t going to cut it for this working, hunting, German Shepard. It’s all well and good to wow the vet’s office with his steely resolve to not take a treat until released, but that wouldn’t have saved him if a car had come careening around the corner a few hours ago.

The walks will continue but our work with him is far from over. Tonight, once things had calmed down a little (why do all calamities coincide with bedtime?) my husband took him outside and went over his commands again (I have a feeling “come” is going to be a recurring theme around here for a while) and I will reinforce it with him again tomorrow. It has been adorable (for me) to write with our dog at my feet, but it’s imperative for his safety that he will come to me when I call him when the garage door is open. We picked this dog, we welcomed him into our family and we have a responsibility to keep him safe, therefore we need to put in the time in for him and earn that.

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