Apologies in advance for some of my audience as this story is slightly – um – colorful. Not long after I got Piper – which was about 11 years ago – I was living in Raleigh and got the chance to be an assistant for a great dog trainer. He was one of those rare individuals who was as talented with the dogs as the people. He was a former police dog trainer and while he had tons of knowledge – he was also very down to earth and practical in his instruction. I learned so much from him and in fact – he’s the one who helped me find Vega. I wonder if he had any idea how much Vega would teach me. Or maybe he did.
At the start of each class Gary would pick one student to demonstrate the week’s homework and you never knew who he would pick – so everyone practiced. I think this was maybe the second week of a basic manners class, so he picked this couple and their lab puppy to demonstrate “sit.” Well – they nervously walked to the middle of the room and just as they got there – their puppy started the dreaded squat for a poop pose. And well – if that wasn’t embarrassing enough – he just kept straining there. The nervous chuckles started from the others in the class. But Gary didn’t miss a beat – seeing that the owners were mortified – he quickly stepped out there with them – looked down at their puppy squatting there trying to poop and said, “No, I said – SIT.” Ah – well. Then everyone laughed. And laughed. The awkwardness was over – well almost.
While everyone laughed – I grabbed a poop bag and helped the poor pup out. Which was a good thing because from the looks of it, he had eaten quite a bit of string and we might have been there all night waiting on him.
Every time I think of this story – I still laugh out loud. And it reminds me that no matter how much things stink – laughing helps.