Dumb dog, why are you following me?
I ain’t got a crumb dog, why won’t you just let me be?

Lula is a smart dog with some serious back story that unfortunately she can’t verbalize to us. How someone would let her get so ridiculously flea infested, so dirty, and so crazily timid makes me really sad. The worst part is she’s one of the lucky ones. I’m still kind of haunted by the pit bull in the kennel next to hers who was freaking out and barking, and when I approached his kennel and let him sniff my hand he sat politely and licked me. I know pit bulls get a bad rap, but I have never been afraid of them. After dog sitting for four of them simultaneously (two rescues of unknown origin) I’ve really learned to love the breed. They are characters of a different order. There’s something so charming about their big heads and their crazy smiles. He is probably not going to make it to a good home.

One of the reasons Louie said it was OK to get a dog was because I told him I’ve won many, many blue ribbons in obedience with my dog Esta. Which, I know what you’re thinking, is actually true and not a gross exageration. I  won our county’s dog show in both obedience and show for 4-H and I went to the State Finals, where Esta was over shadowed by the dogs who weren’t actually better than her, just from bigger programs. (Yes, I was a total country girl nerd. I also showed my horse and our neighbors raised pigs in the 4-H program. My best friend raised a sheep and was so sad when she had to sell her for slaughter she had her grandpa buy it, totally defeating the purpose of the 4-H lesson.) Esta was an amazing dog, a total mutt, and really irreplaceable, and I had all the time in the world to train her. Things I totally forgot as I was struggling with a simple lesson for Lula. Lula and I have been working on her need to rush out of any door in front of me. This morning she managed to make me spill my coffee all over her and her (empty) poo bag, me, my shoes. It was a lesson for me too, never bring the full cup for the walk. Lula’s still operating on fear so it’s going to take a while, but I am a firm believer in the “start early and be consistent” school of thought. It’s tough because I want her to feel safe and part of the pack, but I also don’t want to have to untrain bad habits. She’s already pretty firmly imprinted on me and I’d like her to be a bit more independent in the future, but she’s only been with us for two days. I guess that would be a big sign that I need to take my xanax and let her adjust.

It’s been a long time since I’ve had a dog to work with, so I’m really looking forward to the obedience classes and can’t wait for the manners classes to be mostly learned. I know it takes time, I’m starting to remember the long, long days of trying to get Esta to do a long down stay. She was seriously not interested in laying down for it, and it made me crazy. She would stand for examination like nobody’s business though, stand all damned day if you wanted her to.

So, me and Lula have a long road in front of us, but I think she’s going to surprise me in many ways and hopefully, I’ll be able to surprise her, too.