Thursday, July 30, 2009
Bogie, My Main Dog
Bogie was three and a half pounds when I got him as my conduit into the male dormitory, Les's house. He'd agreed that having a dog would be a good idea. I imagined a Golden Retriever, but he fell in love with a Shih Tzu that friends of his had and that's what we got. My daughter was annoyed that I'd 'bought' a dog rather than rescue him from a shelter.
Bogie had a crate and stayed in the kitchen for much of the time, though I took him out whenever I was around. I have to admit that he favored Les, and obediently fell on his back, waving his paws in the air, whenever he saw him. Les taught him to sit in pretty short order. But I was the one who wanted him to be trained. I'm have no idea how I found Jenifer Vickery, owner of the Pawsitive Dog down near Boston Medical Center. Perhaps we found her because Les had bought tropical fish at Skipton's where Jenifer's business is located.
At any rate, we -- Bogie, Les and I -- spent countless hours taking classes in her training center where Bogie and I did our best and Les ate candy from the huge bowl that sits on the desk. Bogie was a fairly fast learner except for the command, 'Leave It.' He saw it as a mission to clean up every bit of food ignored by other good dogs who were obediently ignoring it.
Jenifer has an Alpha personality, though Les never recognized this since she's a small woman and easy to look over if you're a tall, imposing man whose role is as an authority figure. I was always amused when she told him something important that he didn't even hear or promptly ignored, though he often repeated the story of our first class when Jenifer gave a snappish Jack Russell, belonging to a pregnant couple,an efficient shaking and a good scolding which had an admirable effect on his behavior. This, in his eyes, made Jenifer very effective.
I only ignore her commands because I forget them. She's an excellent trainer who has had years of experience and thousands of clients. One of the things I like best about her is that she's a good business woman, very fair to her employees. I've never had the chance to meet many people who have started their own businesses.
Les wasn't remotely interested in at-home training. But I was pretty good at enforcing what we'd learned. Bogie, Bogie, Come was always on the tip of my tongue, though I never could teach him not to lead me when we took a walk. He was so determined and no matter how many times I ran backwards, trying to make myself interesting as possible, calling Bogie, Bogie, Bogie, he really has always preferred to head out as the leader.
I'm sure that when I was out, Bogie spent his days in the kitchen until he was over a year old and safe from the slightest possibility of an accident. And he spent his nights there, too, until one time Les fell asleep and Bogie pulled the shield of invisibility over himself and slept in the king size bed with us. I love Bogie sleeping in the bed, no matter what Jenifer says.
When I was away, Bogie would sleep in the downstairs hall, facing the doorway, waiting for me to come back.
With all that training, Bogie passed with Canine Good Citizen test with ease. Became a therapy dog. And I retained possession of him when Les and I separated. He is definitely my main dog. Always watchful is serious way, but expressing joy when I get home. He has never been given to naughty dog pranks. His only foibles are chewing on his towel every evening and keeping careful watch on The Sausage, AKA Happy, my daughter's dog, when she chews his toys. I think that Bogie was an interior designer in another lifetime since he's so aware of his toys, retrieving them from the box if I put them away so that they are scattered around in a way he sees fit. For five or six months, he brought a specific toy, a little black dog holding onto a red heart that he found in the park and carried back, to bed every night.