Sunrise with the Worst Disciplinarian in the World

Gorgeous pre-sunrise, right? Yeah.
That's because you can't hear the freaking dog barking. 


Someday, one of my children will make a book or a video about all the smart things I told them when they were growing up. Among them: "Keep trying! The more you do it, the better you'll get at it!" Of course, I don't mention this part: 

IT'S NOT TRUE.

For example, my dumb-ass dog (who I love very very much. I swear). We've been walking every day since like, oh, May—and pretty much every day, he drags me across some of the finest waterfront properties in southern New England. I try doing training thingies I learn from people I meet who are walking well-behaved dogs. (Seriously. I even talk to that Cheerleading Captain #$#@ with the Honor-Roll Huskies now.) Well, all those tricks that the people in whale shorts use with their prancing, non-pulling, freaking Doodles? Those tricks don't work with my dog. Maybe because he was found with his siblings in a cardboard box by the side of some road in Tennessee, I don't know. Young minds with untreated trauma can't learn. I'm a teacher! I get paid to clasp my hands at my heart all day, tilt my head, and say, "Growth mindset, sweetie! Everyone can learn!"

We teachers believe it with kids, but I think it doesn't work on dogs. At least not my dog. He is actually unlearning. He is getting worse. He used to just pull on the leash, prompting salty old guys in pickup trucks to put down their coffee long enough to roll down the windows and ask, "Who's walking WHO?"  More than once, I might add. There are a lot of salty old guys in pickup trucks in this town. 

Now, oh precious now, with man's best frenemy, who is not getting easier to walk? My dog. New this week: he now barks AND walks! Like the whole time. 

Losing.

My.

Ever.

Loving.

Mind.

Maybe not everything parents say is true, but as we climb toward the age when we no longer need to stock up at the feminine care aisle, we begin to recognize our mother's wisdom. When I write my book about the things my mother used to say all the time, I think I'm going to title it with one of her perennials: "GOD DAMNED DOG."


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