In this little chapter in the book I got the other day about the monks training their dogs it speaks about myths surrounding different dog subjects, such as discipline, breeds, and where a dog is supposed to live or not supposed to live.
I’ve always been one in the past to say, “I would never get a dog if I lived in the city. Poor dog.” And I’d usually be met with agreement.
I had a couple dogs growing up, but they weren’t really my dogs, more like my mom’s, and they weren’t in my life for a long period of time. Either we weren’t allowed one where we lived, so we were fosters, or in one case, when we had a house, our Great Dane, Levi, had to be put down at 18 months due to a rare bone disease. My experience with dogs has been limited.
So my very first dog when I became an adult was this little runt pit bull, who I named LB June. The funny thing is is that I am terrified of dogs, so my best friend, Robin G, thought it was hilarious when I took LB June in. She, LB June, I consider a rescue. She was living in our neighbor’s apartment along with the whole litter that was being raised to fight, and they would use her as a little bait dog. I offered them $100.00 and took her away from there. The day I got her they had to get her out of the closet where they had to lock her up to keep her siblings from attacking her.
But, even though I lived in an apartment, and then a house with a yard and a doggie door, I realized that I also had a car. I would take LB with me everywhere, especially to the dog beach in Edmonds, or other places that were out of walking reach or bus routes. She could also ride in the car just to ride.
I now live in the city. Downtown. Talking about the armpit downtown, which I mean fully embedded. Up a huge hill to the grocery store. Huge downhill to the bus, which means a big hill back home. Nearest QFC is about a mile. Not bad if you drive. I also live in a small apartment. No car. Just shoe leather express or metro. I just have to put in a lot more effort.
I remember when I answered an ad for a puppy that was an Australian Shepard/Collie that they really thought I was a great candidate to take on such an animal, except they were worried that I would get overwhelmed by not having a yard, and living in the concrete jungle with such an active dog. I happened to find Charley on Craigslist (!!) about the same time I talked to them, so I answered, “That’s ok. I’ve found a puppy but thank you for your kind advice,” Something like that. I actually kind of felt a bit cocky. Like, people thought I don’t know how to handle an active dog? I want an active dog! LB June was a firecracker.
So I thought.
I wish today that I could write back to them and tell them they were right, and I apologize for my snappiness. I have my hands full. 100%. No joke. I’ve clocked it many times and our average travel is about 6-7 miles total.
I want to tell everybody whoever decides to get an Australian Shepard/Border/Cattle dog that it takes a lot of work. It takes a lot of work even if living in the country with a bunch of sheep. They are super scary smart, and super scary active. They are part machine, as well. Part cyborg.
Back to the book by the Monks of New Skete, the chapter begins with, “Is it impossible to own a dog in a large American city? Apparently the answer is not, as thousands do just that.” It goes on saying that it is possible for that breed to live a happy life in an urban setting, but, it goes on, it takes a lot of dedication, work and money. I feel I am doing my best with Charley.
It sucks because whenever we do get a chance to be out in the “country” I can see she comes to life. Her eyes light up and her grin is from floppy ear to floppy ear.
I have to admit I can’t stand that I have to keep her on a leash. She is not made for the city. She listens very well, but I do realize that some people are scared of dogs, and some don’t like dogs. I sometimes don’t like the social aspect of having a dog around other dog owners, or even around people. I can never tell if somebody is a dog lover, or absolutely despises them. It’s a weird relationship I think. I approach each one with trepidation. I don’t know. Some people are really protective, others are easy going. And I am always hoping Charley will be on her best behavior. Dog=owner. Right?
This morning we took a bus to peaceful Wallingford at 6 a.m. in the morning just so we could walk around the neighborhood to the park free from cars and people. She loved it. I love it when she loves it. We went to 2 parks before the sun came up, headed back around 8 and got home around 9:30 a.m. I was hoping I knocked out her morning walk, and possibly her afternoon walk.
But no, after a short little nap she is up and ready to go. So here we go. Don’t know where, but I’m sure it will turn into another adventure.
See, dogs like Charley can live in the city. Just make sure to get a nice pair of sneakers, a couple balls and some frisbees. It makes for one happy pup. That is what the Monks of New Skete say. I believe them.
But I am still going to find a way to move to the country and buy some sheep. How fun that would be!