Saturday, April 24, 2004

I am the happiest kid in the world today.

The park near our house is really big. It borders the river and stretches back to the highway. There's a bike path, and a hill, and a playground with swings and a slide, and trees. Along the riverbank there are two big trees that grow almost horizontal out over the river. It's like a dream come true, this park. I can't think of a better way to kill a saturday than sprawled on the grass under the sun, breathing in the sweet chalky playground dust in Abu's fur as I listen to the wind and scribble in my notebook.

Today she learned to go on the slide. She appears to like it, but she prefers if I go first. We slide down, all static clingy, and then tear around the playstructure, to where she needs a lift up the first step.

A pack of kids discovered my talented sliding dog, and so she was kept busy racing from kid to kid. That's how she got all dusty. Now she's laying beside me, leaned up against me, watching kids ride by on their bikes. Eventually we have to go home. Already my stomach is growling, but I can't be bothered to move, because the sun is so warm on my back.

This place is a gift from God, and I am immeasurable grateful. I look forward to the summer here. Moving to Regina is becoming more and more a probability, but for the time being I'm thrilled with the current arrangement.

I found a buck fifty on the way home. What a nice day.
No two dogs are the same. It follows that training techniques that work on one dog, might not work so well on the other. A detail that had me somewhat frustrated, because the one way I had learned to teach puppies not to bite, only seemed to increase Abu's aggression.

So, against my better judgement, I looked it up on Google. "Teach puppy not to bite." Clicked on the first result. It's about talking to your puppy in her own language.

I'm reading this article as Abu is lying on her back on my lap, chewing on my hand. The article wants me to give a loud, high pitched "ARP!!" This is the sound that puppies in litters make when play is getting too rough and they want the other pup to lay off.

I don't believe it'll work, but I give it a try anyways. I look down at Abu, and "ARP!!"

She dropped my hand like it was on fire, and froze. She stared at me, perfectly still, with a look of shock and wonderment. I cracked up laughing, and still she just stared at me. I played with her paws, and still she didn't move. I could swear she was thinking "Holy crap, the human can SPEAK!" I imagine my reaction would have been the same had she adopted a child's voice and asked me for a bowl of ice cream.

All day long, the memory of that moment made me laugh out loud. It continues to be effective, and her biting has become less frequent, and gentler.

It reminds me of what I learned in Multicultural Ministry, in bible school. Learning to communicate in such a way that you'll be understood. To be a teacher.... I must first become a student.

It also reminds me of when I was a teenager, and chased a pair of rottweilers home by barking and snarling in a doglike fashion. Dogs are fun. I love mine.

Tuesday, April 20, 2004

Well, I have to go to bed and I really haven't got anything to say. Really, really tired. Abu is good. All is well. We'll be switching her over to a more affordable type of food tonight. Wish us luck. I'll have more to say tomorrow. I think.

Sunday, April 18, 2004

First things first.

Last night was AWESOME. Thanks to Garret and Colleen for a delicious supper, and wonderful evening, and for fixing my car. It runs great, and just like we predicted, Abu slept until bedtime and then got up to play.

I've been thinking about a lot of things, but I'm not ready to blog about them. This has been a good weekend. I taught Abu to walk on a leash, and to sit. She's not overly good at either, but she's so good for her age, and she never ceases to amaze me.

There's a movie called "About a Boy" with Hugh Grant..... you have to see it. It made me feel good.

It's bedtime for me. Up at 7 for a walk, some training, and drop off a movie. Getting up early is much better than rolling out of bed and into my car. In fact, my new lifestyle fills me with a sense of well-being that I haven't had in a long time. Not since that one month when I made to-do lists and got all my homework done early. It's the absence of that suspicion...... suspicion that something you should have anticipated but forgot about is about to blindside you and screw up your life for the next three months. Between my new schedule, my new puppy, my new roommates, my new budget, I feel safe AND content, both at the same time. BOTH AT THE SAME TIME!!!

Usually, it has to be one or the other. Because safety is synonymous with restlessness and contentedness is synonymous with reckless splurging.... but I'm walking a line of balance right now and the best part is that the people around me are interested in helping me continue that balance.

I need to learn as much as I can from this experience.
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