Past Blast: In Other News, We’ve Got a Dog

Note: Please excuse the poor formatting on this post. I have worked and worked with it, but it remains a stubborn, disobedient post.

From November, 2006:

Part 1:

Who: Benji

What: miniature Poodle, 4 mos. old, apricot, terribly cute

Where: right here at my feet

When: Yesterday afternoon
Why: A couple of months ago, Samuel told me solemnly, “Mom, there is only one thing I want for Christmas – a dog.” Weeks later he presented me with his xmas wish list (which admittedly had two items on it): A DOG!!!
The Husband had said “No more dogs” after we had to have Murphy put down two years ago. I was fine with that. But then there was this boy. This boy who loves dogs. This boy who is responsible. This boy who might choose the cheap nursing home for us if we make him grow up in a pet-less home, though The Husband said to me, “I got him fish – isn’t that good enough?” So, we’ve had our eye out for a good dog who meets the Biesecker Family Dog Criteria: non-shedder, cheap or free, not too big, and does light housework.
How: The Husband left for a business trip yesterday. I asked him, “So, if we find a dog while you are gone, what should I do?”
He said, “I guess you’ll have to use your best judgment.”
We got our weekly shopper paper yesterday at lunchtime. I called about an ad and the boys and I went to see the older lady with this puppy she’d found was too much for her to handle. (We’ve done this before, so we weren’t too excited. There are a lot of sad cases out there.) He seemed like a good ‘un. The lady was agreeable to us having him here for 48 hours before making a final decision. He’s been charming and well-mannered for a puppy so far.
His name is still up in the air. Benji it has been until now and it may remain, though we’ve been tossing around some alternatives. Linus is a strong contender. I favored Sidney until it occurred to me that someone might want to name one of my grandchildren that, but the boys assure me they won’t be needing it. Jonathan suggests Samson. We’ll see.Oh, the other thing is that as of this moment you know 100% more about him than The Husband, who still isn’t aware of his existence.
Bodily Functions Accident Meter
The Wet Kind: 2
The Other Kind: 1

Calvin the Wonderdog in 2012, with the one who loves him best

Part 2, One day later:
Puppy’s name is Samson. Samson, the Mighty. Samson, the Strong. Samson, the 9 pound ball of fluff.

He’s a sucker for a rope toy

Part 3, Later the same day:
Puppy’s name is Benji again. It’s complicated — Alyssa had major palpitations over Samson, so we proposed two new possibilities: Riley or Linus. Contention developed as the family was split down the middle on these choices. (Picture cell phone “discussions” from PA to Alaska to Florida.) The brothers finally decided to stick with the original. Now, Alyssa is lobbying strongly for something besides Benji. I’m tired.

So fierce, so agressive…

Part 4, Late the same evening:
And the current (and this had better be final) name is…
…Calvin!

All have agreed to this latest choice except The Husband, who is unreachable in the wilds.

Imagine how the poor dog feels: he’s been called Benji, Samson, Charlie, Benji (again), and now Calvin — all within the last 30 hours. He doesn’t seem to mind. We are unsure if this is because he is exceptionally easy-going or just not terribly bright.

Oooh, rope toys everywhere are at his mercy!

Part 5, A few days later:
Thoughts While Standing at One End of a Leash
Life with a puppy (still Calvin) gives one reason to think. Two main things occur to me:
1. Training a dog really is more like training a child than the average young adolescent probably would wish to realize. One will lose sleep. One’s possessions will suffer during the training process. One must be willing to deal with bodily fluids one may find distasteful. Those are just the physical aspects of the training, though — the mental and emotional work is the truly difficult part. The amount of repetition involved in giving instruction and practicing “the right way” is staggering and even depressing if one lets oneself think beyond what is needed for the day at hand. One must distill the instruction into as few words as possible, said clearly and with just the right tone. One must not ask more than the dog can give. One must find something to praise and give it with a delighted, I-love-you-so-much voice, even if one is seething inside over plenteous transgressions committed over the last hours. One must live in hope. One must watch oh-so diligently, lest all one’s efforts be wasted.
2. It is said that dog owners are in better physical condition and are emotionally better off than non-dog owners. One reason is that having a dog forces one to get outside regularly to attend to the dog’s body functions and exercise needs. There may be some truth in that — I am certainly spending more time outside during these frigid days and nights. It isn’t all bad, though I’ve done my share of mental grousing. I’ve enjoyed the full moon this week. Without the agony of waiting in the cold, I wouldn’t have the pleasure of coming in to the warm.Excuse me, but I have to go. Calvin is chewing a computer cord. “Calvin, leave it. Good dog.”
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5 Comments

  1. Alyssa
    Posted November 5, 2012 at 11:48 pm | Permalink

    Haha! Wow, I had forgotten all the angst over the poor dog’s name!
    It also cracks me up that the first owner found him “too much for her to handle” — considering how Calvin still runs around like crazy and is easily excitable, the woman was probably wiser than she realized 🙂
    It further cracks me up that while Dad was gone on that business trip, we got a dog — and while he was gone on *this* business trip, we went all crazy on the cell phone plans and upgraded to smart phones 🙂

    • Posted November 6, 2012 at 7:42 am | Permalink

      What struck me is that we’ve had Calvin the Wonderdog for SIX years this month. He’s middle-aged! I really enjoyed remembering through that writing about the craziness of getting him and naming him.
      Lori recently posted..Cerebral Homemaking, Part 9: Homemaking is So DailyMy Profile

  2. Sheila
    Posted November 6, 2012 at 10:26 pm | Permalink

    Our oldest daughter adopted her first dog when she was 12 and now trains dogs for a living. She adopted a giant breed puppy a year ago. Everything is bigger with this dog and thus more apparent. I, too, have noticed the similarities between training a child and training a dog. Consistency is the key and my daughter is amazingly consistent. It’s particularly amusing when she instinctively uses her training skills on humans. The toddlers in Bible class respond to the same skills and I’ve even caught her using them on me. Should she ever be blessed with children, I will expect them to be perfect! (or at least know how to “sit”)

    • Posted November 7, 2012 at 8:40 am | Permalink

      Sheila, what a neat observation. I once heard a man talk about how much effort he put into training his children because he loved them so much and they were so important to him. On the other hand, he said, my dog isn’t very well-trained. That’s probably because he isn’t all that important to me. There is much truth in that. I’ll bet your daughter will be a great parent!
      Lori recently posted..Cerebral Homemaking Part 8 – Not a Kid AnymoreMy Profile

  3. melaine
    Posted November 8, 2012 at 1:11 am | Permalink

    you guys made me laugh, had no idea you guys had so much trouble with clavin’s name 🙂

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