Saturday, November 24, 2007

Introduction from Sailor's Mom, April 2000

I thought that it might be appropriate for a pet owner (and a proud one at that) to talk about HER brags. Now, these brags are not show brags, nor are they large; but they warm my heart and make every day with Sailor a joy and a wonder.

He sailed out of the airport and into my heart two weeks ago, having flown down from Stillvalley Kennels in Washington with his crate, his water bucket and his blankie. (Awwwwww...) He decided that I was just the best thing since sliced Sunshine Liver Brownies and velcroed himself to my side. I have never met a more attentive dog, or a living being, come to think of it. Very good for my ego.

On our daily walks, aided by the clicker and pocketful of freeze dried liver bits, Cheerios and kibble cat food, Sailor has had Heel reinforced and learned to "walk by my side" on a loose lead and go on MY side of the light poles when I say "Pole." He only got hung up on pole about three times and figured out how to fix himself. He's learned to untangle his feet from the leash when he walks over it and even likes having his teeth brushed. His "Heel" is to die for and he now sits on cue. Actually, Sit was the first clicker reinforced game we played and for a few days, at odd intervals, he'd come running to me and slam his bottom on the floor with that Treat look in his eye. I learned quickly to have clickers and treats in ALL my pockets and stashed everywhere in the house! He's very proud of how quickly I was trained to do this. Now on to the down...he's remembering that one, too.

He was neutered last Tuesday and sent home as stoned as I've ever seen anyone since the 1960s! Bleary, bloodshot eyes, though fairly steady on his feet, he spent the evening leaning on me. I told him to enjoy this while he could, this was probably the best he'd ever feel in his life! The next day he was his normal happy, bouncy self. He did have a slight setback yesterday with swelling of his scrotum. So it was back to the vet, who said this was probably from licking and sent him home with an Elizabethan collar, a steroid injection, prophylactic antibiotics, and instructions to ice his scrotum periodically. Right. He learned rapidly how to drink water wearing the collar and is much better about crashing into walls today. I think he wants sympathy, but somehow I find it a little difficult to feel sorry for anyone who can lick his own scrotum. Any moment I expect him to realize he can scoop up his toys in the collar and fling them across the room. Shall I click/treat for that?

So that's our first two weeks. Remember, all you collie friends, back when you finally got your first collie? Or your first dog even? Well, that's me today, and each click/treat, each wag, bow and kiss, each wookie noise in my ear in the early morning are a delight.

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