In Which Our Heroine Goes to School for Her Birthday

27 July 2005

Last night we went to another session of "puppyssori," puppy kindergarten, whatever. Ista likes playing with the other puppies. I'm not so sure about the trainer. She was saying that whenever your dog is scared by something, you should stop what you're doing and make it unscary, put treats on it or make it lay flat or whatever. And a teenager with a Lab spoke up: "What if she's afraid of another dog?" I added, "We took her on a walk this afternoon, and the neighbor kids were screaming, and the screams scared her." And the trainer said, "Well, I'd control that kind of situation. I don't take my dogs to off-leash dog parks," and then she went on about off-leash dog parks and how there will sometimes be mean dogs there.

So...fine, okay, you don't take your dog where there are mean dogs and then expect her to be happy. But neighbor kids are going to scream, and people are going to walk larger/meaner dogs than yours, and the dog is going to have to be in your neighborhood sometimes -- has to walk somewhere, and there is no park in the world that is guaranteed not to have mean dogs, screaming children, or something else scary beyond my control. When you're a trainer and breeder, you can design things so that you have a run built for the dogs and spend much of your time with them. When you're not, you're fitting the dog in with the rest of your life. You don't become a hermit or buy an acreage just so you can have a dog. Some breeds of dog might require that, but all? No.

As the trainer for this class, she's supposed to be giving us advice about actually raising our puppies, and I'm not impressed when she dodges immediate, practical questions in favor of hitting one of her own hot buttons.

Other than that, it was fine, and Ista romped around and played when it was time for that, and she finally settled in for awhile yesterday evening. (Yesterday was a very long day with her.)

It was the first time in my life I'd ever had to go to school on my birthday.

Summer birthdays allow for weird expectations, or at least they did for me. I spent most of my childhood birthdays loafing around the house with a thick novel of some flavor. I always had to invite people specially, never got to bring treats for my birthday at school, but I also never had to sit through classes on my birthday, so I felt I had by far the good end of the deal.

I opened those of the presents that have arrived -- many haven't from people I know are sending them -- and that was most of my birthday observance for the day. I'm having a party on Saturday (locals: you can still let me know you're coming), so that'll probably be more birthdayish, and of course it will feature the cake. Yesterday featured ice cream with the very last of the chocolate chips. It was not highly festive, but it was my own fault that it wasn't. I could have made something else, if I'd wanted to dredge up the time or the energy.

I'm currently reading Elizabeth Willey's The Price of Blood and Honor, which was lent to me by a friend, and I started it before I got my birthday presents. It's just as well: I'll see the lender on Saturday and can give it back to her. Still, I'm kind of drooling over some of my birthday books in the meantime, even though I like this book much better than the one before it in the series.

I'm going to the doctor tomorrow. It may be nothing -- it's probably nothing -- but it's the sort of nothing you check out to make sure it's nothing, rather than the sort of nothing where you don't even consider going to the doctor, because everything is so very fine. So -- if you feel like you should have more details, go ahead and e-mail me on this one, but mostly don't worry too much about me, and also don't worry too much if I'm not calling you up to do stuff a lot.

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