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Proud Man

I love Molly! Growing up I always wanted a dog. Dad would explain that we “move too much” or “don’t have enough land” and I’d care for the neighbors’ dogs and the strays. My sister is 17 years younger than me and got a dog. I complained to Dad that I spent my whole childhood asking for a dog and didn’t get one. He explained to me that I asked the wrong question. Kelly asked for a sister.

I love Molly! I love my kids! Molly is still a playful pup of 1.5 but so calm and gentle around other people. I attribute it to the dog school we attended around 6 months old. My children receive frequent compliments on their manners and behavior. I also attribute that to dog school because, well, raising children and dogs isn’t altogether that different. I should probably attribute it to lots of yelling because in dog school we learn to reward good behaviors with treats and when I yell, well, I don’t get treated.

I love Molly! I love my kids! I love my wife! She is such a patient woman and has such great ideas like taking the children and Molly on outings to Petsmart. Molly loves Petsmart and Agrifeed and anywhere we take her. She loves to get out. We all enjoy petting the dogs and visiting the other animals at Petsmart. Amy particularly enjoys the fish.

Tonight Molly figured out where we were going before we ever got there. A 41 kilogram all black, purebred german shepherd on a mission and being held back only by a thin, retractible leash and a 77 kilogram man look a bit like a monster truck chained to pine tree. She is a beautiful dog with a shiny black coat, a long nose, sharp eyes, white teeth, and large ears that stand up. Only tonight she is long over-due for a bath, has mud on her collar, her nose is brown from rooting, and that crusty fungus the doctor said grows in the yard somewhere has returned to her ear tips and she has chewed off a bunch of hair on her legs giving a cute, mange-like quality to an otherwise beautiful creature.

I hold Molly back. She is a few feet in front of me with her feet doing that circular, spinning in place number that I thought was only possible in cartoons. I half walk and half slide through the parking lot to the entrance of Petsmart in a move that vaguely resembles water skiing only on land while somewhere I hear my wife telling the children not to worry about daddy and just to hurry up to the store.

Ah Petsmart! The store were crazy people bring their dogs on the premise that the dogs like shopping but in reality they are behaving like new mothers with their babies at the mall holding them high to say, “look! Mine’s cuter than yours!” while praying the creature doesn’t urinate or defecate at an inopportune time. My huge, scary looking dog is gentle and socialable and listens to sit, stay and heal.

Enter Dick Van Dyke Doug. Did I mention I’m still wearing my dress shoes, slacks, and button down shirt from my business meeting? Walking through the sliding doors we hit the linoleum and, like a greyhound at the racetrack, Molly decides she is going to find Cathy and the children. My arm is stretching and I’m barking commands at the dog on a mission to no avail so I set in with my patent pending boat anchor move which puts Molly into that Scoobyesque running in place motion right in front of the dog training class.

For those of you without dogs, a trained, well behaved animal is supposed to be on your left side, calm, and stop with you when you stop, without the aid of a verbal command. If you start walking on your left foot they are to heal and walk with you but never in front of you. If you start on your right foot, they stay in place so that you can face them. My dog was about three feet in front of me working her feet into a Roadrunner circular spin as good as the one in the parking lot. It didn’t take long before “Pthfth!” appeared in the air, the dog took off, the leash stretched to a twangy noise added in by some unseen foley artist, then with my dwingy noise I launch through the air somehow bending around the 90 degree turn of the training area.

I try hard to ignore all the people in the training class. I know they are all staring, mouths agape. I can imagine the absolute stunned look on the trainer’s face because, over dinner, my wife explained it to me in excruciating detail amidst her cackles of laughter. I know the trainer will use me as an example of how not to handle your dog. None-the-less, I saved a few people some money tonight because a handful will walk out knowing their dogs will “never be that bad” thinking they don’t need training.

I love my children! Did I mention they don’t have volume controls? They are either too soft or too loud. Tonight they chose loud. So did I. As I converge with the pack, I declare, “do you see what shoes I’m wearing?” so that the entire class knows I cannot control my dog because I am wearing ice skates. I try to save face and make Molly sit. Then we do our show-off gag where I set the leash down and she does not move while I place the dog food into the cart. Only this time the class is staring and Molly tries to bolt.

Molly and I decide to interact with another dog. When we catch up to Cathy and Evan, I notice Amy and Noah are gone. So I do the logical thing as ask, “Where are Noah and Amy?” to which Cathy replies, “I don’t know.” I look up just in time to see Noah streaking across the store as a blur in red shirt and as he approaches the dog training area he locks his feet side by side leaning back slightly and does an impressive slide for about 10 feet ending with huge circling arms and a backwards fall onto his buttocks. Tim Allen or Jerry Lewis couldn’t have done a better fall.

Noah comes over as I continue to make Molly heal and sit every five feet just to show the class that I can. I can’t help myself. The words pour off my tongue not with fear, not with anger, but with absolute amusement in the continuing comedy of errors, “Noah, where is Amy?” Noah replies, “Oh, I just came over to tell you that Amy is watching the fish.” Amy is three years old.

You know, there are certain times that you see a parent pause and go silent. You have to respect the great self control the parent has in not lashing out at the child that may have done something less than intelligent. What is really happening is all brain processing is being used to cycle through every possible scenerio. Amy reaching into the Piranha tank. Amy giggling as she releases all the crickets into the store. Amy going out the door and taking a car for a joy ride. Amy going to Borders because she wanted to read a book about fish. Amy swimming in the goldfish tank.

So we get over to the fish and Amy is fine. At this point I notice chocolate all over Noah’s face. Maybe I’m predictable but I asked, “Noah. What have you been eating?” He replies, “Nothing.” I say, “Noah there is chocolate on your face. What have you been eating?” “Nothing.” I take a picture with the camera phone but before I can show him the photographic evidence mom is grilling him and soon he caves. I have to hand it to the kid. He can lie with the straightest face!

Yes, we were ripe for prime time comedy tonight. Noah got the closing punch line. As we approach the checkouts, 27 kilogram Noah asks, “Can I walk Molly?”

3 thoughts on “Proud Man

  1. […] You may have noticed the older two children were excluded from our Petsmart shenanigans. They were with the grandparents. Since the cupboards are bare, the older two were awol, Cathy and I aren’t masochistic enough, and kids eat free at IHOP, we decided to go out to eat dinner. We have two IHOPs in town; one has good service, the other is close to our house. We chose close. […]

  2. Training Molly…

    From a nice story on training the dog…….

  3. […] Hehe! Time flies and memories fade but the joys that fill our lives are forever memorialized in blog. I just re-read my family’s re-enactment of a Malcolm in the Middle sketch. […]

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