I have talked about my dad a lot, but for those of you who don’t know…
He has had Rheumatoid Arthritis since age 38 and also had a kidney transplant 4 years ago. He is a very slender guy as well, topping out at 143 pounds that one month, with his clothes on, 11 years ago.
When we are playing around with the girls I am apt to yell, “STOP! He will snap like a twig!” because I am sure he will.
He is a delicate fleur, my dad.
My parents used to have a dog, Strider, who was also a White German Shepherd, like our puppy Jack.
Strider was better than Lassie, she was so highly trained. My parents did all of the training themselves.
If Strider had a paw off of her bed, my dad would make a “Tsk Tsk” sound and the paw would go back on the bed.
My dad ALWAYS made Strider follow his commands. ALWAYS.
After Strider died my dad was so sad and he never got another dog… well, except for Strider #2 which was a gigantic mistake and she had to be given away.
Strider #2??? The poor dog didn’t have a chance in hell.
So… 7 years ago when I got Emma, my golden retriever, one would think that my dad would follow the rules about training. Understanding how imperative it is and all…
No! No! My dad would let Emma do whatever she wanted.
He would beg me to let him take her for walks, but when I saw that he let her run amok and jump on fellow neighbors, I never let him walk her again until he could learn to say “NO!”
“But, I can’t say No,” he would say.
So when we got Jack last year, again, my dad begged me to let him walk her.
However, I had been seriously training Super Jack for months and months in and out of class. He was highly trained and I didn’t want dad to ruin it.
So I said we would walk him together so I could see if dad made Jack heel.
He did, so I let them out for their first walk together alone last summer.
They walked around the pond behind our house. I climbed on top of our swing set tower to try to take a peek, but I couldn’t see anything.
When they came back I asked if he made Jack heel.
“Oh Yes.” My dad said with glee. “He did great.”
The next day was my birthday party. Mom called in the morning and asked me if I could bring over the 2 canes (don’t ask me why I have 2 canes laying around).
Dad could NOT walk at all. His hips hurt so bad.
“PUT HIM ON THE PHONE NOW!” I said.
“I don’t think he is going to talk to you right now.” said mom.
“Then I am coming over!”
And I did.
I marched those canes right up their deck to find my father lying on the sofa looking sheepish.
Me: So why can’t you walk today, eh?
Dad: Jack might have pulled on the leash a little bit.
Me: Did you tell him to heel?
Dad: He wants to be free and roam.
Me: Did YOU tell HIM to HEEL?
Dad: No. I couldn’t.
Dad did not make it the 20 yards to our house that day for my party. It took him 3 days to walk again.
He finally did really snap like a twig, but he learned an important lesson because of it, The Fool.
This winter I started letting dad walk Jack again only this time he is actually making Jack heel.
However, knowing that Jack has changed into some sort of Lion Dog with his newfound hatred of all other dogs, dad still wants to walk him.
He came bouncing over here the other day like an 8 year old boy with a shit-eating grin on his face. “Can I take Jack for a walk it is going to be a nice week?”
Here is what I see happening if I say “YES”:
I see Jack growling and going nuts if he encounters another dog.
I see my dad’s arm flying off of his body. Dad is lying on the side of the road in pain unable to move.
The other dog is dead.
Jack is lost.
I get sued by the other dog’s owners and we lose our house and have to move in with my parents.
Heaven help us all.