Monday, December 19, 2011

Simple words

E came home for the week yesterday, and boy, were we thrilled to see her. And by that I mean primarily me, primarily so that the 'dang dog' (which is how my mother always referred to our dogs whenever she was annoyed) will climb on top of her each morning when Beve lets her out of her kennel. Hmm, were all those 'hers' clear? I mean Beve lets Maica out of the kennel, not E.  Anyway, Maica is perfectly willing to follow Beve around for a while, but once he leaves, she hops up onto our bed and curls up on my back bone...which, oddly, never fails to awaken me. So I wake up, try to arch away from her, but moving 60 pounds of dog from the center of my back is no easy task. It never goes well.  I try shifting, talking to her, cajoling her to "PLEASE get off me."  But Maica doesn't move.

The other morning, I accidentally said, "Down." And Maica hopped off me instantly, put her head down flat.
Just the way I taught her.

Yep.  That's right. I trained her, then totally failed to use my own training with her.

The next morning, when she hopped onto my bed, and put her first paw on my back, I was instantly awake and  ready. "Down, Maica," I said. She didn't even put her second paw on my back but curled up beside me and we both went back to sleep.

But how foolish of me to have spent all that time pleading with her unintelligibly (at least to her), while there was a simple, clear way to make her understand.  A way she'd learned from my own training.  All this time my ongoing frustration had an easy solution.

E and I laughed about this tonight.  How often I make things more complicated than they really are. How often do I think it takes paragraphs of words when what it really takes is a single word of trained obedience to make all the difference? What is true with dogs, is true for all of us. I remember training our children to say please, thank-you, excuse me, and sorry. These are words that serve us well--with each other and with God.

But we have to use them. We have to be willing to simply use these words when they need to be used. Excuse me. Sorry. Thank you. Please.

And some of those canine words come in pretty handy too. No. Stay. Sit. Down. Heel.

It's still nice to have better options for Maica in the morning than my bed.
Yep, I'm glad E's home.
And will be glad when SK gets here Friday.

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