What a Big Baby
by Tom Antion
We were standing there looking at each other. I felt like a divorced dad spending the weekend with a kid who would rather be somewhere else playing X-Box. I had to find some way to make him think I was cool to be around. . . . BINGO! The tennis ball.
I got out the long line I had dutifully purchased in anticipation of his arrival. I figured 50 feet would give me a sporting chance of catching him if he bolted. I took him out in the back yard and threw the ball. He went after it like a lightning bolt.
Note to self: Don’t let the long line get tangled around your feet when a seventy-five pound dog is racing at full speed towards a rapidly escaping tennis ball.
OK. I learned that lesson the hard way.
So, we play ball till he’s pretty much ready to drop. In fact, he did take the ball a couple times and laid down with it. He wasn’t really in great shape. He got his exercise each day at the training facility and he got his training, but with 200 dogs and only so much time to go around, you couldn’t really say he was in top aerobic condition when he came for the weekend. (I was amazed how fast he got in shape when I started running him every day…. more on that in later confessions. )
The trainers told me not to let him off leash for the entire weekend. I switched to the six foot leash I had purchased and he and I were pretty much within six feet of each other for the rest of the weekend.
I’d take him out so he would go to the bathroom and I stayed within six feet of him. He’d come with me when I went to the bathroom . . . and he stayed within six feet of me. . . .other than when he got closer than six feet to sniff my butt. Also, one thing they never tell you in obedience school is how to hold on to a six foot leash while going to the bathroom. I wonder if anyone has a training DVD on that?
Now it’s bed time. . . . or so I thought. I put him in his crate and said goodnight. He’s a den animal right? He’s supposed to be totally comfortable in a crate. . . . This is true several months later as I write this. That night he was not so comfortable. He was standing up in the crate, pacing, circling, pacing, circling, pacing, circling. There was no possible way I was going to get to sleep with that going on.
I am a total animal lover. I treat them like the living feeling beings they are. I couldn’t let him suffer from being in a foreign environment, with a doofus handler and stuck there for the weekend. I pulled out a futon, blocked off the area, put his leash back on and laid down with him.
What a big baby! He laid down with his head on my leg and went right to sleep. I’m not kidding about this. I thought to myself, “I’m falling in love with this dog, but the guard dog company ripped me off. This dog is a woosie. I’m not going to get rid of him, but I’m sure he’ll be worthless when it comes to defending me.”
I would find out how untrue this was and you will too in a future confession.