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July 24, 2020: The Perils of Puppyhood

Domesticated dogs are pretty tough and resilient critters. In order to survive, they have to figure out human expectations and act accordingly. It seems to me to be a pretty tough endeavor. For instance, think about their having to learn to poop and pee outside. It gets complicated when punishment follows elimination. Dogs can’t comprehend why they are then punished or looked upon with disfavor.

There are also the perils of puppyhood. Feral dogs have to figure out how to get by on the street. And domesticated dogs have to figure out how to get into the home. In either case, there is so much that can go awry.

Ryder and Shadow chewing on their bones

I was reminded of this today. Pete and I left Shadow in the upper quadrant when we went riding. She expressed her displeasure by whining pitifully. We were then walking the horses in the direction of the trail. We both had the same thought, that she might get out of the fenced in area and attempt to follow us. I then envisioned it – our little dog running into the road and being killed by a fast moving vehicle.

After a bit she stopped whining. Pete suggested we stop and wait in order to see if she was heading in our direction. My thinking was that we ought to return and put Ryder (who was with us) in with her. We did stop. We did not go back. We did our ride and did not cut it short.

All the while, I hoped that Shadow was okay. We both are now of course very attached to her. Intimations of parenthood do come to mind. We confer constantly about her the eating, elimination, and exercise habits. And we take great joy in watching her play.

I think that our acquiring her has also been good for our relationship. I, in particular, am seeing a side of Pete that I haven’t seen in some time, and consequently being reminded that it is in his nature to be kind, compassionate, nurturing, and caring. He is also very patient.

Shadow is also a reminder to me that you have to keep a close eye on puppies because, really, just about anything can happen to them. For instance, they can stick their face in oven broilers and burn their little noses. They can get stepped on when around horses. They can fall off stairs and break their backs. They can get chewed up and spit out by neighborhood dogs. They can get sticks wedged in their mouths. Oh, the list is endless. And in thinking about this endless list, I was bowled over by the enormity of the task before us, which is to assist Shadow in becoming a full grown, good canine citizen.

Ryder is giving us an assist, by playing with her a few times a day. Even so, Ryder could do considerable damage in very short order.

So, yeah, raising Shadow is yet another huge job that Pete and I have taken on. Are we up for the task? I’m not sure. I’ll never be sure.

Next: 205. 7/25/20: Don’t shirk your work

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