Disclaimer, Warning, Attention

These are words in the English language that are sometimes ignored, just like the Agree Box that we check after we were supposed to read the disclaimer and agreement page before downloading software.  It seems like we are bombarded with things that require your attention a few levels deeper than your average daily activity.  Who wants to stop and read a warning, or disclaimer?  I know I don’t.  I’ll take my chances I usually shrug while I sit at my computer.  I’ve got several web browser tabs open, as well as Excel, Word and Email.  I’m not slowing down for something that ultimately doesn’t effect me.  I don’t change my working path for anything, unless it’s about the new dog. That special cute puppy who has decided to enthusiastically tear apart something special, something I love, or anything – JUST ANYTHING – of value.  McDermott cannot be ignored.

My puppy sits under my desk while I work, if he’s not busying himself with destruction.  I look down at his face, and he looks at mine, then nothing.  No acknowledgement from either of us.  I’m still thinking about my Excel sheet, and McDermott, undoubtedly, is thinking about his next “victim.”  We look away and keep working – me on the budget, him I assume on a rug in the next room that looks delicious. He has so many targets in one day, that there really is no guessing what will be ruined next.  We try to protect shoes by putting them up high or, closing closet doors to evade roaming sharp baby teeth.  This doesn’t help.  As I finish work, and look down at the floor in my office, he is chewing a plant.  All my efforts to puppy-proof my house and the plant gets wasted.  I’m done guessing.  I’ll have to play a measured game of defense, while taking deep calming breaths.

Here is a Disclaimer that should be read by anyone getting a puppy: “Please be aware that this cute little furry creature is not what it appears to be, AND has the ability to destroy everyday common house items including, but not limited to, blankets, pillows, socks, plants, table legs, wall baseboards, shoes, boots, remote controls, bed spreads, couches, newspapers, and computers.   We knew that a puppy would be a challenge, but there’s no puppy like McDermott.   He has a bed full of chewy toys to satisfy is biting instinct, but instead he savors fine shoe leather and well-constructed snow boots.

Warning: if you take your eyes off him at any point of the day, you’re a sucker.  And, he knows it.  This is where the crate comes in handy…or is SUPPOSED to come in handy.  This wonderful cushy little secluded paradise (as some owners describe it) is his bane.  He absolutely hates the crate and therefor for a long time, I hated the crate.  Not anymore.  I use the crate like an over exhausted mom, getting a break from her kids.  In he goes if I need a break from removing couch fabric from his mouth, or when he gets an attitude that causes him to bite me freely.  The crate is my best friend.  All that is required is a treat and a little covert planning.

Attention is the calming factor that can’t be ignored.  If McDermott is getting enough attention, life is good.  There is a clear correlation between belly scratches and the level of strewn objects throughout the house.  However, even with attention this little creature gets a look in his eyes that says, “what can I get into?… what can I tear apart?”  We know that following this calm period, there will be demolition of some kind.  You can bet on it.

Bottom line is, we are going to see McDermott through this very difficult stage.  After all, Scout our beloved Hound went through a similar stage and he turned out to be an amazing dog.  I guess we ought to give McDermott the same chance.  Sure, we’ll be shoeless, and have half a couch to sit on.  OK, we can always sand down the teeth marks on the baseboards and re-stain them.  Hey, I never liked that shirt that’s now in shreds.  Why not buy more plants? With a firm hand, an open heart and a butt-load of patience we should bring McDermott to full maturity, preferably alive.  After all, between us, we’ve raised 4 children (none of which have pets today). How hard could a dog be?

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