Thursday, August 02, 2007

A dog in the garden

Published in The Long Island Advance
August 2, 2007

I finally broke down recently and gardened just a little where I’m living. For a few weeks there were a couple of cell packs of marigolds sitting on the porch, left by my mother who was planning to plant them with my niece. They never got planted and I started to feel guilty when mom took one of the packs back to her house to plant there. After she left I looked at the remaining plants sitting on the step, happened to spot a trowel on the picnic table and though “Oh, just go ahead and plant the darn things. You know you want too.” After I got my hands dirty, I noticed the Morning Glories and Nasturtium were drooped over, dying of thirst. It was at that point that planting lead to watering, another activity that I don’t do much of these days.

While standing out front, hose in hand, a guy rode past on his bike with his Bull dog trotting happily on a leash by his side. Without even thinking I called over to him as he passed and said “Kind of like the ‘Dog Whisperer’….” and let the rest of my thoughts speak for themselves. “I love that guy,” he shouted back, laughing. I couldn’t help think about how I assumed some random guy with a dog would know who The Dog Whisperer was….and he did! We continued our loud, yet brief conversation with me telling him that Cesar Millan, The Dog Whisperer, makes me want become a dog owner.

I don’t watch much television anymore and when I do, it’s normally the National Geographic or Discovery Channels. I stumbled upon Cesar Millan, “The Dog Whisperer,” one night and I’ve been hooked on him ever since. A few weeks ago it was “Dog Whisperer Week” on National Geographic and I spent literally hours watching one show after another. At one point I realized that it was Saturday night and I had just spent three hours watching this TV show, and what kind of social life was that? And then I decided I didn’t care. The man is a genius with dogs. I now know how to choose the right dog from an animal shelter, how to be the “leader of the pack,” and have gleaned all sorts of other interesting dog behavior knowledge from his example.

Some of my new found knowledge I’m trying to impart upon the crazy Jack Russell Terrier, Bingo, who lives in this house and belongs to my niece. So far I’ve been unsuccessful and think that I need to take written notes as I watch the show in order to get Bingo to behave like a follower, and not the leader he thinks he is.

Bingo is a little dog with a big attitude. When he looks in the mirror, he sees a huge, ferocious German Shepherd, instead of a ten pound Jack Russell with short legs.

Bingo would never be lying contentedly in the grass while I watered the garden. He would be off and running down the street, yipping at the heels of that Bull dog, determined to show him who the lead of the pack was. Short of Cesar Millan showing up on the doorstep to whisper Bingo back into shape, I doubt very much that my fantasy of a well behaved dog in the garden will come to pass, at least not with this dog. Perhaps for now I should stick with my cat.

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