Surprise! I’m Competent!


It has been too long since I have posted. I promised myself when starting The Lion Dog, that I would not abandon it, like I have done with many other projects (I blame this on the fact that I’m a libra). Of course, I have excuses, but I won’t bore you with those. Instead, I would like to make up for a little lost time by traveling back to June when I made the decision to live with my father for a few weeks while he recovered from a hospital stay.

Okay… part of that was part of my excuse, but bear with me.

If you have read this blog before, you know that I have referenced my father more than once. I hold him responsible for my love of dogs, my respect for all animal life, and for my interest in doggie brains. He is what many refer to as an “outdoorsman,” which means he owns many guns, much camouflage, varieties of cold weather gear, countless fishing rods, and, for most of my life, one precious “gun dog” at a time.  But this gun dog was always more than a gun dog, it was always part of the family, and, what’s more, an avenue for father / daughter teachings. “See that,” he would say when his dog would lie at the entrance to the kitchen, “she knows to lie there because I only give her food when she’s over there.”

So imagine my concern when my still rather new, rather crazy dog was about to come live with me in my super-gun-dog-trainer father’s home for an undecided amount of time. What if she did something nuts, like eating a wall or digging a hole in the carpet? (Not that she’s done either of these things before, but I have underestimated Nala before.) And, worse, my father was moving rather slowly, sometimes with a cane or walker; what if Nala ran into him? Knocked him over? What if my high-energy dog put my low energy father back in the hospital? It wouldn’t be the Nala’s fault, it would be my fault, the idiot who couldn’t train her dog, and my father would understand that.


My father working his last dog, Willy, a German Wire Haired Pointer. He lost Willy two years ago.

Nala once more surprised me, but this time in a good way. She practically tiptoed (tippawed?) around my father when he walked down his narrow hallway with his walker, and later his cane. She put her head on his chair when he was watching Mash reruns and waited for his hand to inevitably rest on her quirky ears. She watched him from her bed in the morning as he made coffee and ate cereal, sensing that begging was not allowed. By the end of the week, when she decided to chew on his chair a little, he just looked at the damage and shrugged. “Well,” he said, “now it matches the rest of the furniture.” I looked at the couch and love seat, both had the corners chewed, memories of gun dogs past. I wasn’t sure which past dog committed the crimes, but what I did know is that it was official for Nala, she was accepted by my father. It was a personal accomplishment.


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