Is “Happy New Year” Still Acceptable?

Happy New Year! Can I still be saying that on the 17th?

Wolf and I have been away for the last two weeks on a little adventure. We drove one of our cars across the country so we’ll have one less thing to deal with during the move in March. We crossed something like ten states in five days on the road. Five…long…days. Then I stayed in Pennsylvania for an extra week, getting to know a little about the area where we’ll be relocating, and trying to find a place for us to live.

It is no picnic finding a rental place that allows dogs, let me tell you. Yes, even extremely well-behaved dogs! I suppose I can understand a landlord’s prerogative in that; you don’t necessarily know your tenants or their pets. If it were me, though, I’d be much more inclined to allow dogs than, say, cats. After all, I’ve never had to replace the living room carpet because of a dog.

We have some good leads and will see how it goes. I’d just like to have an address, and a square-footage count, so I can start thinking more strategically about what to take with us and what to get rid of before the move.

Meanwhile, my boys were with puppy sitters the last two weeks. Truman stayed with his favorite adoring “aunties,” and got to play with some very energetic one-year-old golden retriever girls AND his favorite career-changed goldendoodle. Sometimes when I pick him up from Auntie Georgia’s house, I’m not entirely convinced he wants to leave.

Jethro was staying with a family in my puppy raiser group who just turned in their dog — also a male yellow Lab — for formal training. So that was good for both the snuggly dog and the people who miss having one to snuggle. They brought him back to me last night, and I swear he bulked up! Can’t wait to weigh him at the school on Tuesday and find out how much he’s gained.

From the sound of it, Jethro got lots of love and attention and training time (his first lesson: how to distinguish between puppy toys and children’s toys — apparently a LEGO sacrificed itself in the endeavor). They took him to restaurants several times, where he was apparently very well behaved; and to my puppy group meeting, where they said his obedience was quite good. He responds very well to verbal correction, which is a terrific trait.

I forget sometimes what a high standard we hold our dogs to. When someone says that he was very well behaved in a public place, I always think, “Well of COURSE he was!” And then I remember that he’s just five, five and a half months old. We forget. But people who aren’t used to service dogs in training often marvel at what our little puppies can do. Know anybody else who’d take a five month old pup to the office, or to a restaurant, and expect obedience?

And doesn’t it make you smile when someone says, “I didn’t even realize there was a dog here”…? What a gift these dogs are, for their eventual partners and for us. What a privilege to raise them, to teach them, to be proud of them and to love them long after they’re no longer ours.

It’s a new year. There’s excitement ahead. Welcome, 2011.

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4 responses to “Is “Happy New Year” Still Acceptable?

  1. Do you know, I forgot about that one! “I didn’t know there was a dog here.” When we raised Uma (back in 1991, if you can believe it), we took her to this one restaurant and they were reluctant at first to let us in but we explained the whole thing very patiently and they finally said, “okay but if anyone complains, out you go.” Of course, no one did complain and she lay under the table as good as gold. We stayed longer than most people but when we finally left, the manager came over and said he was sorry for doubting us and how he’d been amazed that she had been so good. “You’d never know there was a dog under that table!” he said.

    Good for you (and everyone else!).

  2. Kimberly & guide dog Abby

    I LOVE hearing “I didn’t know there was a dog here!” I always respond “Good, then my dog did it’s job and was almost invisible.”

  3. Sorry Jenny, I gotta defend the cats. I’ve never had to replace living room carpet because of cats, but we did have to replace carpet, drywall, insulation, clothes, shoes, and library books because of our dog… Granted, your boys are a gazillion times better behaved than Kobi ever was!! In fact, didn’t we just hear “I didn’t know there was a dog under there!” at Starbucks last week?

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