Our beloved Golden Retriever turned one this week! In Hawai’i, the first birthday for kids is a big deal and usually involve parties with scores of friends. My wife and I are those type of dorky dog parents who celebrate such occasions for our pet knowing we will get eye rolls. To celebrate, we dressed her up with a lei and a kids birthday hat. We bought the fancy treats at the fancy dog store and gave them away to all the dog park dogs during our nightly play outing. During her annual vet visit, at sixty pounds she has a clean bill of health. Looking back at the past few years, our family has had some tough breaks, and I can’t help to think that she was brought into our lives by some type of divine intervention.
When things were really bad, I would often practice the Narasimha mantra. I felt this mantra gave me protection and wisdom to solve impossible dilemmas. At a time when my health was declining and there was a lot of tension, this golden dog manifested out of seemingly nowhere and had encompassed almost all aspects of my family’s life. Shortly after her arrival, my health improved and the tension decreased. Even when she was non-potty trained puppy, she was still brought immense joy to us. Could this be a manifestation of Narasimha’s good will? Let’s just say I still practice the mantra daily.
After thirteen weeks, our puppy obedience class is over. The class started off with nine dogs and finished with six. Through the course our dogs learned how to heel (walk beside you without tugging the leash), sit, lie down, stay, stand, and recall. They also learned how to socialize with other dogs.
In last week’s final test we were nervous. All that training, all those hours of teaching Kinako how to sit and stay, came to the final moment. I was standing waiting for the judge to start the exam, and Kinako immediately grabbed her leash in her mouth and started dragging me through the course. I could sense the points being docked as she would not let go of the leash and growled at me for resisting her. But what I really heard was the chuckling of the other dog owners. It must have been a funny sight.
The next portion of the test went no better. All of the dog candidates lined up and were asked to sit for two minutes. If your dog got up, you had to leave the ring. After five seconds, Kinako was the first one up! The walk of shame ensued as I led her out. The other dog’s owners were kind and had a sense of humor, stating that Kinako led me through a nice course and that I performed well at her command.
This week was the graduation ceremony. After all that mayhem she still got the pass. In a strange way it reminded me of getting my Junior Intermediate I certification. The important lesson is not to quit, no matter how badly you think you did. We are often our worst critics. As for Kinako, she was just happy to do puppy things with her fellow puppy friends.