Second Chances

Bindi peed on the floor in the upstairs bedroom. It was totally my fault. She asked me to take her out, but I misinterpreted the request. In my defense it looked suspiciously like many other requests. “Play with me,” “love me,” “make the other dogs be more fun,” “give me something delicious to eat,” “give me anything to eat at all, including nonfood items,” and so on all had been communicated with a tackle that would make a linebacker proud. I don’t mind being jumped on, but a bit like the word “dude,” her jumping has a few dozen meanings and I misunderstood the context on that fateful morning.

I was furious. Not with her, but with myself for failing to heed her clear request. Also at Tom, because pretty much everything annoying is his fault. He wasn’t home, but I managed to spin that in my twisted, hate-filled brain into a further wrong he inflicted upon me.

I mopped urine, which due to my choices about interior home construction, was not only on the floor upstairs, but dripped through the decking to the main floor. Puppy urine splashed my desk, a rocking chair adorned with a gorgeous wool throw, and the floor. I can put up with a lot – but indoor excrement really gets me psychotic. Words were said through gritted teeth. I made absolutely zero effort to correct the pup in any way because she had only done her best. The pee wasn’t personal.

One specific flavor of my fury was the fear that I had royally screwed up the pup’s potty training. Any time she visited the loo indoors, it seemed to me, was reinforcing that doing so was a viable option. I had just handed her a setback on a silver platter. I had just served myself an acid cocktail of failure and backtracking and extra work, or so I believed. I was pissed, but I was also worried and disappointed. Today’s pee was all cleaned up but I felt like I had made an appointment with tomorrow’s or the next day’s by screwing this up.

If nothing else, dogs teach you that you always have another opportunity. If it was worth doing, it will be worth doing again. And if it was a problem, your dog will definitely do it again.

I worried that either Bindi would not bother alerting me to her full bladder next time because I had failed to act upon her alert last time, or that she would alert me again in the same manner and … since I’m a thick-headed human, I’d misread that text again. I watched her like a hawk over the next few days but no missteps occurred. To be honest, again, like the thick-headed human I am, I kind of forgot about it.

This morning, a couple of hours after we returned home from the morning walk, Bindi marched into my study where I was creating a voice memo. The transcription will read “DEC Region 4 updates RRRR-RUFF! RUFF! RUFF!” Oh yes. Bindi decided to leave nothing to chance this time. She planted her wonky paw and it’s three amigos on the studio rug, and squared her skinny shoulders, and barked imperiously at me. I stopped the memo and flew down the stairs praising the ever living fuck out of her, threw my boots on, and got out the door faster than you can say “NO INDOOR EXCREMENT.” We made it and she took care of business like an adult, continent, ladydog.

I have no idea why she upped the ante. I don’t know if that was intentional or a coincidence, but I can tell you she’s never barked at me like that before, and she clearly needed to use the ladies room. I don’t know if she felt the indoor bathroom was inadequate or unappealing, or if she simply prefers to go outside. All I know is we were unsuccessful as a team on round one. Round two came along in due time and we nailed it.

There isn’t a big life lesson or dog training maxim here. Just more of the same old Asking A Lot classics: Pay attention. The screw ups aren’t personal. Listen to your dog. Run fast and praise effusively. And blame your spouse/partner for everything.

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3 Responses to Second Chances

  1. Susan Montgomery-Kalozdi says:

    I needed this. Thank you.

  2. Tasha says:

    haha good for bindi!! I was JUST about to suggest teaching her a very specific unmistakable cue for “go outside” when I got to the RUFF RUFF part. She taught herself one 🙂 My old dog had a bell by teh door she would ring with her nose. Very civilized.

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