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Column: Teaching Mickey the dog lessons about life

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You know, I don’t mind losing my position as the one and only dog of the family. It doesn’t bother me much that I will be sharing the ear scratching, the belly rubbing and treat time with a young pup. However, if I am to be a mentor to this new addition to our pack, a few ground rules must be understood.

First off, she needs to calm down a little. No, make that calm down a lot.

Sydney the Dog, here, writing this week’s column for my human, who apparently is off chasing through the woods after Mickey, the new dog in town. In her case, the name “Mickey” reminds me not so much of that universally loved cartoon mouse and theme park entrepreneur as of the 1980s pop song “Mickey” with the lyrics: “Oh, Mickey you’re so fine, you’re so fine you blow my mind ....”


Blowing our minds, indeed.

Mickey is a hurricane on four legs.

Mickey came to us by way of my human’s brother. He was concerned that such an energetic dog was living a cramped existence in a condo in Indianapolis. His stepdaughter had acquired Mickey without perhaps thinking it through. Isn’t that the way it goes sometimes, especially when you are young? Having an animal around seems like a good idea, but when you are a single 20-something out and about, finding the time to give attention to a living creature who was made for running and fetching can be a real effort.

His brother suggested to the girl that perhaps Mickey would be happier living down here in the country. He had cleared it with my humans, who assured him it would be fine. She considered that for a time and eventually came to realize that sometimes loving something means setting it free. So that’s how Mickey wound up here at my formerly peaceful abode.

It hasn’t been all that bad, I guess. We had to establish early on who was the Alpha Dog (me), and we had some issues over whose food bowl was whose. But for the most part, we have worked things out. To be honest, I appreciate her boundless energy, and maybe I’m even a bit envious. She likes to run which takes the pressure off me.

Oh, I will chase the occasional interloping squirrel, but mostly my running days are behind me. When my human opens the front door, she springs outside, while I slowly and with great effort creak my way upright onto shaky legs and hobble down the hall. When did it happen that I could no longer move like she now does?

She loves to fetch. My human will throw a stick or ball, and she will chase and retrieve it until he gets tired of the game, and then she will yap until he throws it a few more times to placate her. He pulled a clump of weeds one day from the garden and tossed it to the side, whereupon she raced over, grabbed it and brought it back to lay at his feet thinking she had done a great thing. She’s young; she’ll learn.

She also likes swimming in the pond. Combine that with fetching sticks and you’ve got hours of entertainment for both the humans and for Mickey. I prefer to sit on the bank chewing some treasure I found in the wood, so those trips to the pond work out for all of us.

When Mickey first came here, she could not stop moving. She ran everywhere; she sniffed everything; she investigated every sound in the woods. Ah, impetuous youth with the need for action. It may be my imagination or maybe just my hope, but I think I have noticed a more relaxed manner about her in the last week or so. She has figured out that a long nap on the grass in the sun can be a good thing.

Sometimes with age comes wisdom. She’s young; she’ll learn.

Norman Knight, a retired Clark-Pleasant Middle School teacher, writes this weekly column for the Daily Journal. Send comments to letters@dailyjournal.net.

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