Sheba and I have just got back from our walk. It is the night before Halloween. I can tell you that we are not in love with the occasion. We are not fond of coffin lids opening and closing, bloody severed limbs hanging from trees and yards full of gravestones and skeletons. We find it all gruesome, especially late in the afternoon on a cloudy day. Sheba was vocal in her opinions, bringing the homeowners to their windows. I pretended to admonish her. I can do without trick or treaters ringing the doorbells, upsetting Sheba.

I’m sounding like an old sour bag. I admit it. I am old and humourless. Generally our types are quite responsible – to a fault. I tried very hard to do right by Sheba by taking her to puppy classes. We took one at PetSmart in the beginning. I was clueless about what to look for in a class or trainer. But we were in the right age group class. Most of the puppies were lap dogs except for the Bernese Mountain dog and Sheba. The Bernese was so big and calm that once it sat, it sat. Sheba was the only shit disturber. She was a barker and a squirmer. I had my hands and arms full of her.

We attracted alot of attention from the trainer, of course. She took Sheba from me and said, “It pains me to watch you”. I thought it wasn’t very nice at all. Most of the time, she uses the calm obedient ones to demonstrate. She said she could get any puppy to walk without pulling. But she wouldn’t take Sheba. That is until my classmates started chanting: Take Sheba! Take Sheba! They could see that I was really struggling with her. She had to take Sheba then. By the time she was done, her face was all red and sweaty. It made me smile a very big smile.

We did finished all the classes but both of us were traumatized by the experience. Sheba threw up in the car home one evening. Another evening she bolted into the store for our class. She pulled so hard, she choked on the collar and pooped right in the middle of the store. I was almost in tears. It was another classmate that came to my aid. She was a dog breeder. She was in the class so her puppy could get so socialization. I found her more helpful than the trainer. Clearly she was not the right one for us. I could not subject myself to take another class ever after.

We’ve been muddling along on our own for all these years. She is not perfectly trained or obedient. But she does not go on furniture at home or at the sitter’s. Except when she was puppy, she does not chew or destroy anything. She’ll go after any food left on the floor but she does not surf tables. She is perfectly house trained. She can sit, shake a paw and crawl. That’s pretty good, don’t you think? It’s good enough for me.