You came into my life when I was one hot mess, my heart was shattered into a million (at least) pieces, painful shards of memories stabbed me every moment, tears were constant, laughter and joy were foreign concepts. From the second you wrapped your paws around my arm, the light came back into my life.
It had been ten years since I had a puppy. Max was 7 weeks old when he came home to us, and he was an old dog in a puppy body even then. He was calm, and loving and gentle, and while he had his moments – and I had some bruises to show for them – he was not the typical Golden land shark, holy terror.
I was not expecting Tiny Terror. I was totally clueless when it came to a high energy, very smart, very active little dog who not only needs but demands my attention pretty much 24/7.
And there you are. It was a rough go for several months, and we still have our bad days when I just wish you would settle down for more than 10 seconds at a time. You don’t know that I worry that you’re living so fast, too fast, and I fear you’ll use up all your time too quickly.
I thought I knew a good bit about dogs. Max was a Certified Therapy dog and we spent many hours visiting nursing homes, schools, even going to the hospital when Bear was sick. (He was knocking on Heaven’s door and you turned him away from it and back to us. ) (He agrees with this completely)
I found out that I knew a ton about Max. I don’t know nearly as much as I thought I did about other dogs. And so the teacher has become the student. It’s taken about a million dollars in books, a gazillion hours of study, countless hours of crying to a dear friend (thank you, Mattie) and more hours of talking to our trainer. I’ve taken courses online, listened to podcasts by my favorite trainer (Ian Dunbar, I could listen to him read the phone book) and I think it’s finally sinking in.
This past week, we’ve been able to go to our own private dog park every day. Okay, that sounds fancier than it is. It’s our trainer’s field, which is fenced in and she’s allowing us to use it in the morning. I throw the ball and Maverick runs and runs. He roams and sniffs and I throw the ball some more and then finally, I can get him to focus on me, and listen to me and training has become a game.
Dear Maverick, thank you for teaching Mommah to lighten up and have some fun. And thank you for making Mommah spend all that money on books (but if you tell Dad how much, your cookie allotment will be cut in half) and thank you for teaching me some stuff about myself along the way.
I know we’re not there yet, I know we have a long road of work and training ahead of us for you to be the dog I know you can be, but for today anyway, I feel a lot more confident that we’ll get there eventually.
And I love you, Little One. You healed this shattered heart and made Mommah smile again, before you stepped on my sore toe and made me swear because dear JESUS, watch where you put that big paw! 🙂