Friday, April 30, 2010

Adventures in Dog Raising

Having braved two elementary school years with a gray front tooth (a byproduct of older sibling babysitting and a brick fireplace), I vowed that my future children would never be “that” kid in class. Good news for them is that I have a practice child in the form of one Huck Flynn. Bad news for Huck Flynn is that I have a practice child in the form of one Huck Flynn.

Because I’m selfish and bypassed several Humane Societies to fetch my AKC-certified pup from a breeder, I had two months to prepare for Huck’s arrival. I used that time wisely—scouring the Interwebs to coordinate matching collar/leash sets and spamming friends and family to solicit name suggestions. Slightly more responsibly, I also scouted local dog parks. Goldendoodles and Spaniels? Sweet, I’ll be back in a few weeks. Chihuahuas and Pitbulls? Hey, maybs I’ll see you at PetSmart.

I bookmarked online training guides and nursed dreams of a dog who would catch footballs, deliver the AJC in the morning and greet me with a Yuengling after work.

One magical Sunday, I brought my protégé canine home. One magical Sunday, a then six-pound Huck became my master, and visions of Superdog died a quick death.

As week night trips to the dog park confirm, my plan to raise the star quarterback equivalent of a canine son has failed miserably.

This dog park, little more than a half dirt/half grass field sandwiched among houses, is 101 Dalmations meets The Breakfast Club. Sadie, a Lab mix, is the park's star cheerleader. She finds a stick and instantly the stick is elevated to squirrel status. Quinn, a fellow Vizsla, is the class president. He says little, is perfectly coiffed and wears the canine equivalent of an ascot tie: a seasonal bandana. Jack, a Golden Retriever, is the class clown, buddy-buddy with both dogs and owners. Kira, a Rhodesian Ridgeback and persistent observer, is the newspaper editor—the canine Tina Fey.

And then there’s Huck. Jury's still out as to whether he’s best personified as a mathlete, or a trenchcoat-wearing fan of dragon mysteries. When not eating dirt or swallowing sticks, he's sniffing tree bases. On occasion, a heated game of tug-of-war will break out, and he'll bark at the participants. Great, a tattletale of a trenchcoat-wearing mathlete.

Either he needs a dad, or I need to lay off clothing him in acid-washed denim vests for Merry Hucking Christmas cards.


  1. i just love to read these! You always deliver.

  2. Awww, Bella didn't even get a shout out. Don't worry, I wont tell her:)