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 Oct. 28, 2014
I really didn't have any hope left after 25 days. As we entered the fourth week without our sweet, kind, missing cat, Jabie, I was beginning to come to peace with the reality that I'd never see her again. Then, yesterday, less than four blocks from home, a woman called my wife and said she had cajoled a black cat into her basement. My wife bolted home from work and immediately recognized Jabie coming up the stairs. Just to be sure, she took her to the closest vet to scan her microchip. And it came back as a match from Elmbrook Humane Society.
Published Oct. 22, 2014
Apple's new killer app, Apple Pay, may indeed someday change global commerce for good. That day isn't here yet, however. Three days after launch, my experiences with the NFC-based payment / tap to pay system show that Apple Pay is still very, very beta. At this point, you may find yourself using it barely at all.
Published Oct. 21, 2014
Mazen Muna, the owner of the Dogg Haus group of restaurants, shared his plans today to launch PhantomBar this spring at 780 N. Jefferson St. in Cathedral Square. The bar is under the umbrella of his new 12AM Management Group, which Muna says he founded to house "the new wave of businesses being added to the portfolio."
Published Oct. 16, 2014
Well before the Chinese eCommerce company Alibaba began making IPO rumblings in America, I was familiar with its offerings. I'd never bought anything from it ... until this month.
Published Oct. 8, 2014
Once upon a time, I figured that the magnificent, serene and beautiful Door County is a place only to be enjoyed by adults. Maybe my priorities have changed, though, because even after 20 years of visits, only recently did I come to the conclusion that kids could fall in love with this magical retreat, too. Turns out I was right. After the summer rush died down, we took our daughter up to Door County for the first time this weekend. It was a wonderful journey.
Published Oct. 7, 2014
Just about a week ago, our sweet little cat, Jabie, disappeared from our Bay View home. Maybe one of us left the patio door open a bit, I'm not sure. But after hours upon hours of walking the neighborhood, taping up posters and talking to every stranger we see, she's still nowhere to be found.
Published Sept. 27, 2014
I've been lucky enough to see the Dandy Warhols live several times over the last few years. But each time, I've had to travel to Chicago or Madison to hear them, which is a small sacrifice for one of my favorite bands over the last 15-plus years. So the opportunity to see the Dandys at Turner Hall was a welcome one, and as usual, provided for a great venue to see the Portland-based band Saturday night.
Published Sept. 23, 2014
Sunday morning, we headed to Mequon to pick apples, although not to Barthel's. On a friend's tip, we visit R-Apples (Roesch Farm), right next door at 12422 Farmdale Rd. What a wonderful, low-key experience. Not only was it peaceful and quiet, we picked apples and pears of many different varieties. Then we headed to their vegetable garden, and picked peppers and raspberries.
Published Sept. 20, 2014
I've had a full day now to play with the brand new iPhone 6. Like most pieces of new technology, it's a mixed bag. iPhones aren't new to me - I've owned every one but the first model, and I use mine nonstop as both a work and personal device. This model is different in many ways, but as usual, the biggest story here is the software, not the hardware.
Published Sept. 16, 2014
Entering play tonight, the Brewers are 1.5 games out of the playoff picture. Right now, all of Milwaukee should be very excited about the Brewers, starting with me. Yet, for some reason, we're not.