Family Album: We’re in Training.

You would think we’d have it figured out by now. Practice makes perfect, right? But even though we’ve raised four kids and we’re on our fourth dog, we are most definitely still learning. About kids. About dogs. And about kids and dogs.

Lesson #1 Kids and dogs don’t always go together.

James has a dog at home so he settled right in with Lily.


But Caleigh has never had a pet, and she is very, very afraid of dogs. Even – and especially – Lily. Well, look how scary she is:


Ok, maybe not. But if you’re six years old and you’re never around dogs, they can be kind of scary. Look at that terrifying wolf!


Caleigh decided she preferred Dodger, who is much quieter and who, amazingly, allowed himself to be carried around like a sack of potatoes.


We finally put in a call to our amazing trainer, Wency, who came over and gave us a dog/kid tutorial. When fearful children scream, shake their arms over their heads and run away, Wency says that they are acting like “wounded prey” in the eyes of a dog, which, in turn, excites the dog’s prey drive. So the dog gives chase. Wency taught Caleigh how to march around with “giant steps” and show that puppy who’s boss. She even convinced Caleigh to give Lily treats out of her hand. Caleigh – and Lily – definitely made some progress!IMG_4127


Lesson #2: Dogs and grapes do NOT go together!

Grapes happen. And we talked about grapes not being good for dogs. But, of course, there was the inadvertent grape disaster, and Lily got a grape. Or two. Or maybe even three. And in this case, Google was NOT our friend, because when we looked it up we learned that in some cases, even one grape can kill a dog. Oh no! Frantic call to the vet, who acknowledged that grapes are very, very bad for dogs, and that it is impossible to know which dogs will react to grape toxicity. Since Lily only got a few grapes at most, the vet thought she would be okay. But couldn’t promise it. Worst case: kidney failure or even death, which is so hard to believe, since we all remember giving grapes to dogs.

Symptoms include loss of appetite and lethargy. And, of course, Lily chose the next two days to stop being interested in her kibble, and to be uncharacteristically calm. Oh oh no!


“She’ll be fine”, said Wency when she came over. And she was. And probably most dogs will be. But we won’t be eating grapes in the house again anytime soon.


Lesson #3: We are old. Really, really old.

Such a fun week with these great kids. But we’re looking at each other and saying “Why in the world are we so tired?” We’ve done this before. A lot. No big deal. So why are we falling-down exhausted? Oh. We forgot. We’re that old. Oh well, we can rest next week. Wouldn’t have missed this week for anything!




About polloplayer

Empty nester searching for meaning of life through the occasional chicken epiphany.
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2 Responses to Family Album: We’re in Training.

  1. dizzyguy says:

    Happy endings all around. Caleigh becomes Dodger’s best friend (treat-aided) and masters the ferocious Lily. James demonstrates his experienced and nuanced handling of dogs. Wency continues to enjoy Dog Yoda status. Old people manage to pull it all off. Grapes lose. What’s not to like?

  2. citymama says:

    I can’t think of a better week for either of those kids! Puppy, Grandparents, Camp! Thank you so much for having James. He told me all about it this morning and is already utilizing his dog training skills on Moo. And you’re not old; kids and puppies are hard. 🙂 THANK YOU!

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