Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Round 1 Begins

Penny has issues. But have I told Penny about Lando? Maybe all about Congo? How about Jethro?

If any of these ex-guide dogs were here, they would tell Penny to shape up. Jamie wins. I fully expect that Penny will be shaping up. These otherwise talented guide dogs didn't make the grade. But first let's review the Guide Dog history in our family.

Jethro was a maniac. He was Larry's first guide dog from Canine Vision Canada. Jethro had Timbits on his mind. Jethro sulked when he was told he had to behave. He was a very bad car rider, and would lunge from one side of the car to the other, which from this driver's perspective, didn't make driving easy. Jethro stayed for a little while, and then was soon retired to a life of being a regular (albeit spoiled) dog.

Enter Lando. Guide Dog #2 from CVC. Lando was very big and very sad. Lando had issues, which amounted to my little carpet cleaner pooping out, if you get my drift. Lando would retire to his bed, and we'd find him a while later, well, let's just say he was aromatic. Enough said. Lando stayed for a few months, and then was soon retired to a life of being a regular dog, with his Puppy Parents. Lando really loved his Puppy Parents, and is a much happier dog for it.

Then there was Congo. Congo was a Chocolate Lab. Congo loved to play. That's all Congo wanted to do, was play. Keep Away was his most favourite game in the world... a great game to play with our Resident Blind Guy. His second favourite game was Chew The Remote Control into a Million Bits. That got expensive. After a re-training session or two, Congo was retired to a farm, where that's all he needed to do. Play. Life is good.

Now Penny... she's a handful. But she has some lessons to learn. She had better learn... or... well, okay, we love her to bits, but she's got some learnin' to do. Penny had a rough start in life, originally a shelter dog, and has always dealt with fear issues. However, poor Penny deals with these issues totally inappropriately. It's hard not to compare her to Keeta, the Wonder Guide Dog. But we reluctantly admit it, we've babied her some since she arrived. She flunked puppy school... twice. She's had a session with a dog whisperer. But we've let the lessons slide. This Winter didn't help at all. I haven't been getting out with her to reinforce proper doggie etiquette. She makes a lousy guide dog, especially with her fears, and she's too short anyway, so Larry can't take her out.

So now I'm armed with my equipment. I've got the remote control spray collar charged up and have just bought a special collar for walking. Some might say it's extreme, and that may be so. However, Penny's behaviour is extreme, so I respond in kind. We went walking last night, and after a couple of reminders, she pulled up her bootstraps. She was the perfect Doggie Walker. Just like she should be.

But let those other dogs be a warning... this may be only Round 1, but I do win.

Contributed by Jamie Naessens

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