An open letter to my puppy:

Dearest Tesla,

Tesla3I realize that being a 7-month old Golden Retriever, the chances that you will both read and properly comprehend this letter are slim; but at this point I’ve run out of ideas for communicating with you and am pretty much willing to try anything.
So please consider this an intervention and a place where we can talk openly and share our feelings without screaming or throwing poop like usual.

Basically Tesla, what I’m trying to say is that your recent behaviour has been less than acceptable.
Not that your track record is anything to brag about.

I know it’s not completely your fault, and I have to share some of the blame. I acknowledge that naming you Tesla was a mistake. It placed unrealistic expectations on you. Ones you couldn’t possibly live up to. You have to know though, I never expected you to speak 8 languages or invent a new type of electricity. I just expected that it would take you less than 4 tries to pass the 1st grade of puppy school.

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Tesla dear, no matter how much you chase it, your tail will still always be there.

I know you tried though, so there’s no hard feelings about puppy school. Sitting on command can be hard, especially when you get distracted by your own tail every 8 seconds. We can’t all be academically smart, I respect that. You’re more about street smarts.
Rather than being ‘friendly’ or ‘obedient’, your teacher described you as being ‘unique’ and ‘having a quirky temperament’. There’s nothing wrong with that. Individuality is something to be proud of.

What’s more Tesla, it’s obvious you’re a social butterfly and a natural born leader. You used puppy school as a place to socialise and master your escaping skills.
You quickly realised that you were the common denominator, the puppy everyone else compared their puppies to. I think when you realised this, you really upped your game. You no longer just ignored a command, you learnt to do the exact opposite. ‘Sit’ meant ‘run away’. ‘Shake’ meant ‘eat your own poop’. The other ‘parents’ were so proud of their puppies when they saw you. I admit this was a little disheartening and embarrassing for me, but I knew you were just doing the other puppies a favour.

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Also, how is this a comfortable sleeping position?

Still, I think we should talk about another one of your ‘quirks’ that became apparent in puppy school; your distaste for sharing. I’m an only-child too, so I understand how hard the concept of ‘sharing’ can be, but sometimes it’s a necessary evil.
Tesla, why is it that every time we give you a new toy to play with, you run off, dig a hole the size of a small European country and then bury the toy? I know I initially found this behaviour endearing (and it did wonders to accelerate your digging skills) but now it’s becoming a little annoying. The yard looks like a large family of wild badgers inhabit it and every time we want to play a game with you, like fetch, we have to buy a new ball.

Speaking of fetch, what part of that game don’t you understand exactly? The idea is that I repeatedly throw the ball and you repeatedly run off and and bring it back to me. I know you understand the principle concept as the first time I throw the ball you manage to bring it back. So why is it that the second time I throw it you just sit there with a look that says “You threw it, you go get it?”

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You used to be so little and innocent…what happened?

These are all little things though, and I can live with you never learning to fetch and even with your desire to spend your days digging to China in the yard. What I can’t live with is some of the bigger ‘incidents’ you caused.

Need I remind you of the morning poop incident? That time when you did a poop on your puppy pad, then proceeded to roll you body in said poop, and then made it your mission to touch every surface in the house with your poop covered body? Do you really think I had nothing better to do than clean the entire house and bathe you that morning? And did you really think I didn’t have better things to do the second time you did the same thing!?

Now, I think we should also talk about the wooden stairs you systematically ripped up and ate (how is still beyond me!) And the countless pillows, blankets, flowers and brooms that have all gone to heaven due to your teething (all whilst your numerous teething toys remain buried in the yard). That being said, I still think the 8 piece dining set that you single-handedly turned into splinters is to date, your biggest achievement.

But despite all your exploits Tesla, you and your cute puppy dog eyes have a power over me. You suffocate the life out of me, yet I still love you.

Tesla Thus Tesla, I’m sorry I yelled at you when you ate my socks. I didn’t mean the things I said, it’s just that they were my last pair of uneaten socks.
It’s unfair that you’ve learned how to open a draw but not to sit on command.

I’m sorry I threatened to take you back to the store when you woke me up at 3am for the seventh consecutive night because you’re scared of a possum. It’s not like I would ever actually go through with it –  you were very expensive and I can’t get a refund.

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Just your typical play session with a watering can.

I’m sorry for actually enquiring if I could get a refund.

I’m sorry for punishing you when you stole and ate the steak I had defrosting on the kitchen counter. It’s just that that was my dinner, not yours.

I’m even more sorry for yelling at you when you vomited that steak up. But I still would have been less upset if you chose to vomit it outside rather than on the carpet.

I’m sorry I put you on a stringent diet when the lady in the park called you fat. It’s not your fault you’re big boned.

And I’m really sorry I googled “puppy + sedative”. Twice.
You’ve got to understand that you’ve grown so much that you can’t jump around and go crazy like you could when you were little. Now when you jump on me, it literally knocks me over and it hurts.

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Tesla, I know you’re currently hellbent on destroying as much property as you can, but I really hope you outgrow this stage soon. Or at least stay as cute as you are so I forgive all the death and destruction you cause.

Sincerely,

The hand that feeds you.

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12 thoughts on “An open letter to my puppy:

  1. Tears are literally rolling down my face! I have three fur-kidz at home and, my oh my, can I EVER relate! Still, for all the times I growl in frustration because one of them has scratched even more gouges in the carpet… or used my bed for as their own personal octagon to pummel their favorite toys (or each other)… or dunked their entire face into the bowl of water and then used my arms and pants as a napkin… or caused my legs to cramp up from blood loss because, even though the bed is kingsize, they must sleep on top of me… they know all they have to do is give me that sweet, innocent, eyes-as-big-as-the-full-moon, with the ever-so-slight tilt of the head look and I melt.

    • Three!? I have one and am at breaking point! Three is amazing!
      What type and how old are they?

      I’m very glad you can relate to my story; knowing others have suffered at the destruction of our ‘fur-kidz’ makes me feel better. I just have to keep reminding myself that he’s only a puppy and he’ll get better (that, and realistically I’m running out of furniture he can destroy…)

  2. My yellow lab once ate 5 bars of soap and had to have her stomach pumped, she also jumped out of a second floor window and had to have her leg physically pinned back together! … We may never know why, but I feel your pain!

    • Note to self: Keep soap away from the puppy.

      I don’t want to capitalise on the pain your pup has caused you but knowing we’re on the same boat definitely makes me feel better.

      Before I got Tesla, all I got told about/read was how wonderful and great companions dogs make. Whilst that is true (and I definitely don’t regret having him) I feel that maybe knowing the subsequent landscaping and outdoor furniture bill would have also been beneficial…

      • Oh no completely feel the same! They told me Angel (don’t even ask about the name, not my idea) would calm down after a couple of years, she’s six, she hasn’t!
        They’re gorgeous but she never does what she’s told and goes mental for sticks, ruining clothes and giving various bruises, rips and cuts when she gets hold of brambles/branches, you’re not alone!

  3. I love my dog, he’s wonderful, but like yours he’s…got his own personality. He’s five years old, by the way, so his “quirks” are permanent.

    He doesn’t understand the concept of fetch–sometimes he fetches, other times he just looks at me like “okay, and you want me to do what…?”. I’d say there’s a 75% chance he won’t fetch whatever toy I’m tossing.

    Thankfully, living in a hard wood floor condo he has no place to dig and bury his toys. I don’t let him leave the house with them, other than his ball and he doesn’t seem to want to give that to anyone else, but won’t bury it. He does, however, expect me to carry it when he’s not.

    With a smaller breed (pekingese) I was able to use cat toy tricks to get him to play, this was both good and bad. We have a small, stuffed, squeak toy on the end of a shoe string that, as a puppy he found incredibly entertaining but would tire after a few moments of play. Now that he’s five, he still wants to play, but after 20 minutes I’m exhausted running through the condo (he’s bigger and I still try to keep it from his jaws, that’s the game–don’t do this if you live in an area where people walk ferrets on leashes by the by, it makes things challenging), whereas he just never seems to get bored playing with the bunny. He brings it to me, squeezing it in his jaws to make it squeak as he presses it against my leg, just to let me know he wants to play, of course. For the fifth time in the last 5 minutes as I try to make breakfast.

    This is just a trick I’ve used to get dogs to learn how to sit, no idea if it will work for you. Get a treat, then hold it so Tesla can smell it, but not get to it. Then hold it over the top of his nose so he has to tilt his head back to continue sniffing/seeing the treat. Move it backwards along the head. The dog will often times sit because they can’t bear to let the treat out of their site and it’s easier than walking backward. If he doesn’t sit, you may need to use your other hand. As the dog sits, say “SIT” in a commanding voice and, when their butt touches the ground, wait 2 seconds, then give them the treat and praise them. I got my dog to “sit” after just three tries with this. Sometimes he obeys, other times he ignores me just to prove he can and doesn’t need to listen. But if he sees the treat or bit of food, 9 times out of 10 he’ll plop his butt down fast.

    Good luck with Tesla 🙂

  4. I may have just read this aloud to my dog, substituting names and some of the incidents for others.
    I feel it may have been a wasted reading because once I finished reading it, he huffed and rolled in the opposite direction.

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