Sunday, September 6, 2009

New Tricks

There's an old saying, You can't teach an old dog new tricks. My question is, how old is old? Are you too old after a year, two, three...six...ten, when?
Well, I can definitely say nine is not too old to learn something new for a dog. Of course I have the most brilliant dog on the face of this Earth. We( my husband) found her on the side of the road as an older puppy. How old, we don't know. We already had a dog who was around four years old. Angel became an outside dog, while Esther remained inside. Then the hurricanes of '04 hit. Our yard, resembling a battlefield was no longer safe for Angel to roam freely through. She came inside (we said) until it was safe for her outside again. She never left. I wondered how I was going to house break a four year old dog. No problem. When Esther asked to go out, and she wasn't timid about it, Angel went too. Angel watched Esther and did what Esther did. A four year old dog can learn a new trick.

It is now five years later. Esther is happily chasing cats across the Rainbow Bridge. Angel at age nine no longer has her spokes-dog to ask for what she needs/wants. Angel never asked to go out, for a treat etc. Esther did all the talking.

The first few months without Esther were quiet. I would pass the front door to find Angel quietly standing, facing it. I'd open door, dog would go out. Awhile later I'd notice her standing, facing the door waiting to come in. At mealtime, Esther would bark her head off until you fed them. Angel never asked for her dinner or snacks. A few times we almost forgot to feed the poor thing because we got so tied up in our own endeavors we forgot. She never said a word.

It is now ten months without Esther in the house. What a difference. Angel found her bark. At dinnertime she demands her food and if it isn't to her liking, she leaves it. In the morning, she prances around, nudges us and barks until she gets her new favorite treat, Marrow Bones. Like Lassie used to do, she will walk up to me and bark until I follow her to the door or kitchen depending on what she wants. So I guess nine isn't too old for a dog to learn new tricks. I wonder what Angel will learn at age ten? Until next time, this old dog is going to the library to learn something new and I'm much older than nine.

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