I am watching my puppy tonight engage in self play with two tennis balls. He is cute and funny. Earlier, I had tossed two just to see what he would do. He spent time figuring out how to get both back when only one would fit in his mouth. He dropped one, picked up the other, and puzzled over the one still left there. Then he actually tried fitting two in his mouth. Puppy mouth is not large enough. “Okay,” he seemed to consider, “I’ll bring one back to my human, then run back and get the other,” but he forgot to leave the first one with me.

Loki had spent the afternoon in his large crate while I met up with some psychic friends to discuss upcoming events. It was a joyful afternoon out with the “girls,” as we crones still call ourselves; it felt wonderful to “upload” on each others’ spiritual energy. As the afternoon neared the end, though, I knew I would need to head home to walk him. Loki has almost mastered potty training, but he slips every once in a while, and I did not want to neglect him.

This morning was his day for chasing butterflies. I try to get some training in daily, as we have our upcoming test for his first AKC title as Companion Dog, but today he just did not want to listen. The winds were soft and welcoming, the butterflies were doing their mating dances, and how could any decent self-respecting dog from a long lineage of water retrievers not chase one or two? The leash was less a line of communication than a restraint from him running into the road. With annoyance and a deep sigh, I continued the walk, letting the annoyance go. This child dog is my ticket to recovering the delight and joy of my own childhood, so I don’t want to bind myself to losing such inspired moments of wonder in goal driven training ambitions. The return walk home was better, and we did get a few moments of attentive leash work in.

Tonight he showed me his true intelligence. He has a natural inclination to retrieve, but tonight he has learned to catch the ball, and back up so I can get a better throw in. It occurs to me that puppies, like children, learn better when they are allowed to learn and practice what interests them. As a school bus driver, I see many families, and I see more kids whose bright interest in learning is neglected than I do parents with actively driven interest in their children’s activities. That, however, is a topic for another blog.


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