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 March 4, 2015
When Brewers fans talk to me about Spring Training, I always see the same look in their eyes. "I've always wanted to do that," they say wistfully, like Arizona exists in some far-away land, where you sit right next to the field and talk to the players in between in innings. Well, actually, most of that's true. Except for the far-away land part.
Published Feb. 18, 2015
Doctors are very clear with their warnings that alcohol will not warm you up in the dead of winter. So, obviously, unless you have a Saint Bernard with a little flask of brandy, you should not drink to thaw yourself out during these subzero temperatures in Milwaukee right now. You may, however, drink to take your mind off winter. And it being Bar Month, we tracked down some excellent cocktail recipes from our sponsor brands.
Published Feb. 18, 2015
Karen Leahy, a CPA and Milwaukee native, doesn't really talk about her other career - something she's been doing straight through since the '80s. "I'd rather be known for brains than beauty," says Leahy, who is also a successful part-time model. "I should have been a boy," she says, nuzzling her dog in her chic Downtown condo. "I like cars, sports and sex."
Published Feb. 9, 2015
As we trudge through another winter, thinking we've got it the worst - and we hear about it the most on TV - industry insiders say that's not quite right. Everyone, everywhere complains about their city's weather and its weather coverage. Yet for the most part, every TV station reports on it the same way. Here's an in-depth look at the changing face of Milwaukee weather.
Published Feb. 3, 2015
There aren't many bars in Milwaukee where no money changes hands, you don't order your own drinks and all of the imbibing goes on in the middle of the day. But that's the world of Lisa Semerad, a bartender at the Miller Inn, the last stop on the Miller Brewery Tour at 4251 W. State St. Her customers are always in a great mood, and for Semerad, Miller is a family tradition. No wonder she loves her job.
Published Feb. 3, 2015
I remember helping a friend out in college after his grandmother died, and one of our tasks was going through her old photos and deciding what to keep and what to toss. This was a really sad task, and I felt like I was intruding on someone's life, throwing away memories that meant nothing to me. What will it be like for our generation?
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.