I read alot of stories and articles and information about dogs on a daily basis and much of it is sad or disheartening, but when I came across this article, I laughed my butt off!! Okay, it starts out a little sad, about the loss of a canine family member but when the family immediately gets another dog the ‘who’s training who?’ and ‘who does the dog belong to?’ and ‘modern dog training methods’ all come into play for an amusing story you just need to read!

From DailyRecord.com, thanks for the laugh!

04/22/07 – Posted from the Daily Record newsroom

New dog around the house can’t replace the old one

Sunday, April 22, 2007

The loss of a family member is never easy to get over.The love they gave and received is gone and cannot be replaced; those left behind must push on regardless. The remains of the family have to fight their way through the grief and re-form their lives around the great black hole left by the lost member. There’s just no replacing a loved one, except, of course if it’s a dog or cat.

However, there are so many dogs and cats waiting for good homes and loving families, they’re being shipped around the country to where they’re wanted, or failing to find a home, they’re often destroyed.

After our beloved Dru died, we were bereft. But we also had an opening, both in our hearts and in our home. And while it might seem irreverent to some, the next day we went right out and got another dog. I am a firm believer that that is the right thing to do. No point in grieving alone, after all.

In fact, my youngest son began to develop a selection of new dog names in the car on the way home from the vet’s. Twenty-four hours later, he has a new face to tell all about his lost best friend; a little fuzzy black face, with a white goatee.

Sergeant Fury, a Lab terrier mix, is only 3 months old. We just call him Sarge, for now, and he is here to help us learn how to train a puppy again.

Unfortunately, much of what I thought I knew about puppies appears to be wrong.

Ages of stored wisdom, vast quantities of hard learned lessons, millions of wives who got old just to pass on their tales, have all gone for naught. It used to be all you needed to train a new dog was newspaper, either laid out or sometimes rolled up. But times have changed and we citizens of the information age are now using CDs. No rolling necessary, just pop one in the drive and listen to modern doggie strategists spout all the factors necessary to successful dog mastery, in strangely doggie-like voices.

Apparently, one of the key factors in surviving puppy-hood is understanding the many varieties of “accidents”that come free with every new dog. In fact my CD studies have revealed that there are at least five different kinds of pee.

There is the “wow, am I glad to see you” pee, the “whoa, this is scary!” pee, the “this is very exciting” pee, the ever-popular “this looks like a good place” pee, and my personal favorite, the “you stink as a responsible master” pee.

The most important fact about all pee is that not a single drop can be blamed on the puppy. Somehow, it is all, without exception or reprieve, my fault. That’s a lot of pee and no relief. Luckily, so far there is only one kind of poop, although that probably could change at any moment.

So far, we’re doing fairly well at controlling most of the pee around here, although we have been witness to all five types. In that Sarge is an exceptional dog; he’s already exhibited his ability to create all five types at once in a startling penta-pee.

The key to controlling all those accidents is the determination, right at the onset of ownership, of who is the master. I still have no idea who that might be, but I do know that Sarge is now taking me for a walk every day at 6 a.m.

Which brings me to the dilemma of responsibility. Although this is supposed to be my youngest son’s dog, I think it may be only in a kind of virtual way. He doesn’t seem to have the necessary perception for responsibility.

The one responsible for a puppy normally notices what the puppy is doing, whether it is time for the puppy to go out or perhaps eat. These things do not seem to penetrate his consciousness. Even though, to my eyes, Sarge is clearly marching in the circlular “guess what I’m going to do now?” poo parade, my son is completely oblivious. Meal times come and go as well without notice, as have a few chewing escapades.

I am unsurprised. This is my third son, after all, and it has been a long time since a cherubic face, full of heartfelt and solemn promises, has convinced me of anything. In reality, Sarge is my dog and my responsibility; he is just “out on loan.” Available days for romping and exploring the woods and nights for sleeping, head on the pillow, next to my youngest boy.

Those days when my son is in school, he will return to the barn for repair and re-training. When he goes to the vet, I’ll be the one driving. When he needs food, I’ll be the one buying. And in six or so years, when this final boy goes off to college, I’ll be the one standing outside at 6 in the morning, wondering why there’s no pee in this dog.


Prentiss Gray is a writer and stay-at-home dad with three sons, ages 11, 17 and 20. He can be reached via his Web site, www.prentissgray.com.

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