Friday, October 19, 2007

Couper Goes To Kindergarten - Pre-Ramble

Couper turned 5 on October 1st. As with all 5 year olds, Saturday, he starts Kindergarten (Don’t give me this 5=35 garbage. He has been on Earth 5 years. He is starting school Saturday. School for 5 year olds is Kindergarten. School for 35 year olds is DMV driving school or night MBA classes. Kindergarten is much cuter. We’re using Kindergarten.)

OK, really, he is going to Behavior Training at Petsmart. After going to the vet last Saturday for shots, we promised Couper that we would take him to Petsmart. As Couper’s Mommy was at the front counter trying to make an exchange, I took Couper around the store. As is his nature, Couper barked and growled at anybody in his way. As we rounded the corner into the toy aisle, a woman, a child, a dog, and a Petsmart employee were the target of his wrath. The Petsmart employee quickly came over to try to calm him down. Before I could notice her “Training Staff” shirt, we were in a discussion about Training Classes and looking at class schedules. I was well into my highly successful, “Do you have a brochure” brush-off routine, when Couper’s Mommy came by, and almost immediately signed him up. To her credit, she did pay for the class. We all show up every Saturday at 10AM for the next eight weeks. So much for waking up to College Football at (or preferably after) 9.

Disclaimer: As this promises to be a running series about Couper in Petsmart Training (barring this being too much work or something), let me explain that I am not now, nor have I ever been an employee at Petsmart. I do not knowingly own any Petsmart stock (God knows what is in my 401K mutual funds. Am I supposed to know what is in them??? Is this kind of information is even available??? I think not.). Had we been walking around Petco and been accosted by one of their trainers, we would be going there. If Petsmart turns Couper into an angel, I will praise them. If they turn him into a devil, a neurotic shell of his former self, or flunk him, I will rip them. To demonstrate, here is a pre-ramble praise and rip of Petsmart: Petsmart's toys rule. Petsmart's food sucks.

We are Couper’s 3rd house. His first two houses (not counting where he was born) gave up on him before he was 11 months old. Although all we know about his first 11 months is a little about the second house, our theory is that he was never properly socialized as a puppy. He has always been very protective of his Mommy and his Big Buddy. When people come to the house, we generally hand them a toy to throw so that Couper will accept them. Once the initial aggression is over, Couper will be OK and play with the visitors. This is a little bit difficult when the visitors are plumbers and cable guys. It is also more difficult on walks. Being cute as hell, people (especially kids) want to come up and pet him. Usually they kind of laugh off his growl, bark, and lunging as he is small (not to mention a “wiener dog”). It is not practical to give strangers toys to calm Couper down, so we usually just say something and quickly pull away. Going to the dog park is out. So, if kindergarten works, it will be great.

Of course, as a veteran watcher of the “Dog Whisperer”, I am sure that the class will not only be about Couper’s problems. Maybe it is my inner Woody Allen, but I am a bit concerned that everything will be my fault. Who plays with the dog anytime anywhere? Me. On the sofa? Me. At the table? Me. While sleeping? Me. In the shower? Me. On the toilet? Me. Who started enhancing his dinner with yummies? Me. Who rubs his hiney while he eats? Me. Who let him sleep in the bed? Me. Who gives neck scratches and belly rubs on demand? Me. Who (fill in the blank)? Me.

The way I see it, there are two inevitable scenarios:

1. I am sharing a prison cell with Ron Mexico.

2. Couper is taken away, sent back to his original owner, a girl in a hospital, beforehand, we give him a farewell dinner with all his friends where everybody starts crying hysterically and somewhere in an alternate universe some child is watching this in a movie theater with his sister and he starts crying hysterically and she has to take him outside and whup him back into shape.

I am not going to sleep well tonight.

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