Doggy Style

My first day at puppy training

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Trainer: Okay, let’s all gather into a circle with our gorgeous pups. I’d like us to introduce ourselves first, then our fabulous little doggies. And maybe share with the group what you hope to get out of this class.

Participant 1: Hi. I’m Miles. I’m here with my wife Kitty. [Miles glares at Kitty until she steps forward and stands next to him.] Our dog’s name is Lara. She’s a purebred Afghan Hound. We had her bred last April. She comes from a distinguished bloodline. Two of her relatives have been national champions. We’ve had several dogs of this breed in the past. It’s a superior breed. [Miles looks to Kitty and smiles.] We think so. [Lara squats down and pees on the floor].

Trainer: Your Best in Show winner is peeing on my floor. Cleaning supplies are across the room. Kitty hustles to the cleaning station].

Miles: We’re in this class because it’s a prerequisite for the dog handling class. We feel we have a future Best in Show winner here.

Participant 2: Name’s Jack. Dog is Killer. Pitbull mix. A little aggressive so keep your dogs away. At least until he settles in. I’m in the class because it’s required as part of my probation. It’s a long story. I was accused of running a dog-fighting ring. It’s complete bullshit. I guess everybody who owns a Pitty is a criminal.

Trainer: All righty. Thank you for sharing, Jack.

Participant 3: Hi Everyone. I’m Mary Francis Pallard. Dy mog. I’m sorry, I’m so nervous. I don’t get out much. My husband died three years ago. It’s been lonely. I don’t have many opportunities to socialize. My dog’s name is Mr. Pickles. He’s a Dachshund. He’s such a sweetie. And he’s dashing. Just look at that face. I call him the Dashing Dachshund. (She giggles nervously). I’m hoping that Mr. Pickles meets some new friends in the class. And me too.

[Killer lunges toward Mr. Pickles and bites him on the nose, shaking him from side to side. Mary screams. Killer drops Mr. Pickles and struts back to his owner’s side.]

Participant 4 [Ignores the puppy fight and starts talking]: Good evening. I’m Elizabeth. This is my Labradoodle, Bailey. He’s hypoallergenic and non shedding. My son, Cornelius, has severe allergies. We had to rehome our Collie because Cornelius couldn’t tolerate the allergens and all of the hair. He spent two days in the hospital last year because of a severe reaction to our Collie’s hair. You may not know this but it’s actually not the hair itself. The allergies are caused by something called dander. For those of you who don’t have hypoallergenic dogs, which by looking around is most of you, it’s really important to maintain the correct Ph balance of their hair. And if you need a great allergist, I would highly recommend Dr. William Frazier. He’s outstanding. And he’s right over the hill in Cranston.

Trainer: Ma’am. Your dog is taking a dump. You know where the cleaning supplies are.

Participant 5: I’m Mike. This is Bonnie. Cocker Spaniel. She’s a fucking nut. I didn’t want to get a dog but my wife insisted. Her fat, lazy cat died in June. She said she couldn’t have another cat, so we rescued Bonnie. It’s been a nightmare. Piss and shit all over the house. It’s like living in a chicken coup. [He turns to Elizabeth]. You think your son has allergies? Try living in my fucking house for a day. You ever inhaled piss and shit. It fucking burns. I stopped for McDonald’s on the way here and all I could smell and taste was dog piss. You know what. Fuck it. I’m outta here. [Mike storms toward the exit with Bonnie dragging behind him].

Participant 6: We appear to have some energy in the room tonight. Anyway. Hello. I’m Patricia. My friends from my Bible study class call me Patty. You know what they say, “the shorter your name, the closer you are to Jesus.” This is my husband Arthur. We belong to the Trinity of Christ church. We’re always looking for new members. We have an open house this coming Tuesday from 7 to 8 pm. I’ll be baking my famous seven layer bars.

Trainer: Can we get to your dog, please?

Patty [Glaring at the trainer]: This is our little angel, Abiel, which means, “My Father is God”. [Patty picks up Abiel and shows her to the participants. Abiel is sporting a sequined jean jacket. A pink bow rests on her head. Abiel looks like a contestant on Toddlers and Tiaras]. She’s a sweet, adorable Pomeranian. I know Jesus sent her to us. I just know it. We’re hoping to share Abiel’s love of life with the other dogs here tonight.

Me: I’m sorry. This is puppy training, right? [A few participants nod]. Okay, because for a minute there I thought I was in rehab.

[Jack laughs].

I’m David. This is my Jack Russell Terrier, Wiki. She’s a puppy. She pees. She poops. She plays. She’s 12 weeks old. I haven’t thought about this in more detail. I’m here because I’d like for Wiki to be able to sit. Lay down. And come when I call her. That’s it.

Patty: That doesn’t seem very ambitious.

Me: Let’s get some perspective here. Wiki’s not looking to make friends or explore theology. She has no interest in bathing in Argon oil or wearing doggy Uggs. She won’t have her own calendar or a line of grain-free doggy treats. She wants to run into the field across the street and kill rabbits. And the only reason she’s not there right now is because I have a firm grip on her leash. That’s what she was designed to do and I’m sure that’s what Jesus would want for her.

Patty: Someone woke up in the wrong place today.

Me: You mean, Arthur?

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