August 30

I took Chance down to play with my boyfriend’s dog, Barley. Some friends were over and the dogs kept each other company and stayed out of the way outside for a while. They are still young enough that they like to rough house for most Of their playtime. Chase and bite and chew on each other. We’re pretty used it and recognize that they’ve actually tamed a bit over the last couple of weeks. I think Chance, who is younger, is no longer teething so he’s not as anxious as he used to be. And Barley is a more laid back puppy to begin with. At any rate, they played pretty well outside, and as usual sat outside the sliding door looking worn out pathetically desperate to come in. Once again, we are used to this ruse. Once inside, a second wind hits and they begin a game of keep away. We can give them each an identical rawhide or bone or toy, and one will want the other’s, and so will begin a chase followed by barking and an occasional whelp when one gets particularly aggressive. It’s usually Chance who eventually won’t stop and thus, I end up simply taking him home. Tonight was no exception. I could see in his face that he was wound up, and no matter how I redirected him, he wouldn’t relax and just sit and chew on his bone. So we left. He fought me, tugging on his leash the entire way out the door. And I found myself rather irritated by when we finally got to the car. He sat next to me, panting, and I asked out loud, What is wrong with you? Why can’t you just behave when you’re here? People think you’re a crazy dog when you act like that. He simply looked at me, still a bit glassy eyed from adrenaline. And then I remembered how familiar that felt. My kids were sometimes the same way when they were toddlers. Acting up at other people’s houses, especially when there were other kids around. Throwing a fit when we had to leave. It usually embarrassed me, making me wonder why my normally sweet and usually well-behaved kids would turn into monsters. And always in front of others. Of course, I knew that wasn’t their normal behavior, and as a parent, I wanted others to know that too. I guess it’s no different as a pet parent. Chance is a sweetheart. A little rambunctious as a puppy, but not as undisciplined as he sometimes likes to act. So as we sat staring at each other in the car, I noticed that his amped up demeanor was hiding exhaustion. He’s hard to control because all kids throw fits when they’re tired. By the time we got home, he was his normal self. After a potty break, I had to carry him to his crate or he would have fallen immediately asleep on the sofa. I used to joke that babies were like puppies. Everything goes in their mouths, they drool, they crawl around through anything, they’ll go to the bathroom whenever or wherever. That was when my kids were babies. I’m thankful I remembered the connection tonight, for I didn’t stay irritated with him for too long. Puppies are like babies. And mine is still a bit in that phase. He’ll grow out of it soon enough.

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