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Tuesday, July 7, 2009

What A Difference A Dog Makes

Not too long after we brought Harrison, who was five months old at the time, home in mid-February Leslie said, "Having a puppy is like having a toddler in the house....except you can't put him in a bouncy chair or spinner toy to keep him occupied and out of your stuff." In the ensuing five months we have gone through one remote control, several writing instruments, a couple of plants, some malibu light cords, a few hairbands, and at least one school project (thankfully after it had been turned in so he ate the homework after it was back home). Having spent the previous thirteen and a half years with Cooper, we became used to not having to watch what he ate; well in terms of toys, rugs, electronic devices, books, etc.

With Cooper we most definitely had to watch what he ate when it came to food--he would eat whatever he could when he could. A bag of cookies, a container of sushi from Trader Joes, several hot dogs, half a pizza, a yogurt container. If it had people food it was targeted by Cooper. The older he got the more bold he became, sort of challenging us with a "what are you going to do put me down over a half a chicken?" attitude. Cooper could hear the sound of a potato chip bag from the other side of the house with the gardner's leafblower on full and a C-17 taking off over the house. If it sounded like, smelled like, looked like food Cooper was there and waiting for a piece of the pie--literally. For a long time after he died right after Thanksgiving we could feel him trotting into the kitchen when we went for a couple of cookies to munch on while watching "Survivor" or filling some bowls with Pirate Booty for the kids' snack.

With Harrison we vowed it would be different. No going upstairs, lasted until April. No sleeping on our bed, lasted until June--now working on reverse training him back to his blanket next to the bed. No people food, doing great on this one as we have not fed him scraps or tastes for treats of any of our food. We can open a bag of Fritos and spill have of them on the floor while he is laying two feet away and he won't move. We can have a rasher of bacon sizzling on the stovetop for a big Saturday brunch and he will sit in the corner chewing on his rope toy. A kid as tall as he is can walk by with a chocolate chip cookie within inches of his nose and he will be looking for his Buster stuffed animal to play with. Somewhere Cooper is mortified.

This Sunday we had a little barbecue, well little for me (two tri-tips and two whole chickens with all the sides for a half dozen adults and kids). While the kids ate inside the adults were feasting at our patio table. We have a large outdoor bar with a built in barbecue, sink etc that is of standard bar height. The bar is laden with platters of meat, beans, tortillas, homemade salsas, oh and someone snuck a salad on there, and plenty of it waiting for people to grab seconds and possibly thirds.

While were eating one of our guests said, "Harrison just jumped up and grabbed a piece of chicken." Being younger and more spry than I, Leslie jumped out of her chair and went to stop Harrison from devouring the juicy breast laying on the ground. With calls of "Leave It!" and "Drop!" Harrison just looked at her as she approached.

Now had Cooper ever been able to reach a big juicy piece of chicken the last thing he would have done would be to stay in that one spot, the second to last thing he would do would be to "Drop!" or "Leave It!". He would have had his food to go, eating as he found a place to try to hide so he could devour the meal.

Harrison is no Cooper when it comes to food.

When Leslie turned around after picking up the piece of chicken we could see it was in one piece. Leslie was laughing as she said, "He was licking it! He was just standing there licking the skin like he didn't know what to do!"

Somewhere Cooper is mortified.


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