My dog, Playa, is up to no good lately. But it's hard to be mad at her, really.
Playa is the dog that my wife and I adopted about eight years ago in Mexico. Even though she was "born in captivity," she lacked much human socialization until we took her home when she was 4 months old. She's sweet as can be, but she's skittish, too. She's afraid of loud noises, of a pair of jeans on the floor. She nervous around anything but us and other dogs.
Playa also likes to run and dig. She looks like a little greyhound or a whippet (though DNA testing didn't prove that to be true), and she's gradually destroyed our backyard. We understand that she needs the stimulation and sent her to Doggy Daycare for most of her life, but eventually hoping to reclaim a small area that's not pockmarked with yellow spots and deep holes, my dad and I built a fence extension last spring.
At first, it worked. Playa stayed clear of the fence and did her business of digging and destroying on the other part of the yard that we basically surrendered to her. Then, one day, we found her inside the yard again. How did she get there? The vertical slats are no more than eight inches apart, and while Playa is very slender, she's still a 40-pound dog.
So I watched from inside one day as she gingerly slipped through the fence, pooped, then turned around. Secretly, I admired her for conquering her fear and adapting to her environment.
But outwardly, I was annoyed. So we bought something called "deer fencing," which is supposed to be visual a barrier to keep animals out of your gardens and your yards. I stapled it to the slats of the fence, and again, Playa was stumped.
That lasted for about a week. Now, Playa has figured out that she can burst through the mesh without much effort. I re-staple it back, then a day later, she busts through again.
I suppose my next step will be chicken wire or something similarly ugly. That is, until Playa learns how to pick up a wire cutter and snip her way through that, too.
I can't really be angry, though, that I have a smart, tenacious dog, that at almost 9 years old, is confronting her fears and literally taking them head on. Come to think of it, I think I'll give her an extra squiggle on the head and a treat tonight. I just won't tell her why.
As a self-employed, first-time parent, I'm the first to admit how much I have to learn these days. Maybe my dog using a metaphor to teach me a lesson ...
No Talkbacks for this article.
Post your comment/review now
Disclaimer: Please note that Facebook comments are posted through Facebook and cannot be approved, edited or declined by OnMilwaukee.com. The opinions expressed in Facebook comments do not necessarily reflect those of OnMilwaukee.com or its staff.
Recent Articles & Blogs by Andy Tarnoff
Published Jan. 6, 2015
I remember back in college, I came to the realization that several different versions existed of me. Those different versions of me continue to this day, but nowhere are they more pronounced than on social media. I embraced Twitter long before Facebook and Instagram, but now active on all three, you'll experience a totally different Andy Tarnoff if you only look in one place.
Published Dec. 30, 2014
These year-end lists are always fun to write, because they are so open-ended. So bear with me if I skip the regular categories and think outside the box a little for this one.
Published Dec. 29, 2014
As you can imagine, it's not easy being a four-season bike shop in a state where it's possible to see snow on the ground for eight months out of the year. But Steve Whitford, co-owner of South Shore Cyclery in Cudahy, says he knows no other way.
Published Dec. 22, 2014
I remember vividly how hard school was. Not just the homework, but the routine of waking up early, navigating its social intricacies. Granted, my daughter is only in K5, but still, she works hard - so I like to reward her with plenty of family fun when seasonal school vacations come around.
Published Dec. 17, 2014
Yesterday, I walked around Packard Avenue in Cudahy for the first time in a long time. I mean, I drive through or around Cudahy all the time, but yesterday was different. I stopped to smell the roses. Every real Milwaukeeans should pay a visit to downtown Cudahy every now and then. It's like a window into our past, and it's still alive and kicking today.
Published Dec. 11, 2014
We all had a good laugh when the word spilled that Scott Walker substituted "Molotov" for "Mazel Tov" in his Hanukkah letter to Frank Gimbel. But you know that Gov. Walker didn't write that letter, right? He didn't even sign it.
Published Dec. 2, 2014
Black Friday and Cyber Monday were good fun, but Giving Tuesday is all about giving back to our community. It's a relatively new concept, but several Milwaukee nonprofits participate, including Discovery World, UPAF and Pathfinders. One local organization, Penfield Children's Center, is making Giving Tuesday work through crowdsourcing.
Published Dec. 1, 2014
I'm going to beat the Milwaukee winter. I will not be cold again. I will laugh in the face of Snowmageddon. I will be toasty warm when the temperatures drop well below zero. Here's how.
Published Nov. 18, 2014
Take it for what its worth, but Playboy Magazine has Blue's Egg as one of its 101 best breakfasts in America (don't worry, the link is reasonably safe for work). The restaurant at 317 N. 76th St. came in 21st place out of 23 Midwest selections, just behind Mickie's Dairy Bar in Madison.
Published Nov. 11, 2014
Can you imagine how social media would've melted down exactly 101 years ago? Nov. 11, 2013 was the end of the "Big Blow," the "Freshwater Fury" or the "White Hurricane," a hurricane-force blizzard that killed more than 250 people and and destroyed 19 ships.