Last week Cleveland channel 19 identified me as an expert. They sent a crew to my office to tape one segment and then I went to the studio to tape another segment. They assume and I assumed I knew what I was talking about. Benji may have changed that perception.
Benji is the now 5 month old puppy I got when he was 2 months old. I have had dogs my whole life. Because I had horses and spent so much time in the barn, often we had 3, 4, and 5 dogs at a time. I had puppies, rescues, and adult dogs. We had mid-size dogs but mostly big dogs like the two litter mates that were shepherd-mastiff mixes or the German Shepherds that were supposed to have become dogs for the blind. There were dogs we went and got on purpose and there were the dogs that somehow found our front door and there was the dog I brought home from the Amish.
There were two things all the dogs had in common. I started taking my dogs to obedience school when I was about five and I insisted the family poodle went to school. This desire to get outside help continued with most of my dogs. On one hand I sought outside help for all of my dogs. For me really, to provide accountability. On the other hand, I really thought I knew dogs and what to do with most training challenges. Then I met Benji.
Benji is a lion in a fluff body. While he looks like a stuffed animal, he will stand in front of you and swallow a mouse whole. He will go outside to pee, only to come in the house to relieve himself. He will fool his teachers into thinking he is brilliant only to go deaf when in public. He will whine in a screechy-nails-to-the-chalkboard kind of way, while he quickly learns that treats are rewarded for getting quiet not staying quiet. He quickly learned that “get in your bag” doesn’t mean he has to stay in his bag.
My trials and tribulations with the now 13 pound Benji reminds me of what we all don’t know. We grow and we age and we gain experience and expertise: we know more or we should know more. But what about what we don’t know? Do we continue to not know things, to learn and seek help?
The doggy behaviorist my vet referred me to was so busy it would have taken me months to get in without begging. In order to make that call to the canine therapist, you have to be willing to admit what you don’t know in addition to cultivating the expert, know everything status we have worked so hard to advance.