Tonight I will be reading an excerpt from Smiley Bird: A memoir of Isis, which begins with “Isis was like those children who misbehave in school because they’re TOO smart.”
What’s Leo’s excuse?
A month ago, I was so proud of my boy for how well he was doing in daycare and school. He was still a little unfocused, but I thought that would improve with the new class.
Not so much. He’s been suspended from daycare until he matures a little and gains impulse control.
He hasn’t been listening to his teachers and he bugs other dogs who don’t want to play with him, even grabbing their collars, which is a serious no-no.
Two weeks ago, I would have been surprised to learn that he was behaving badly at daycare (again), except during our past two Fun and Focus classes, he became very overstimulated and lashed out at the other dogs. I hoped it was just an on-leash problem (he’s on-leash in class, off-leash at daycare), but after receiving this latest information, it’s clear he can’t go back to daycare for a while.
I’m disappointed and discouraged. I feel like a failure. It stings all the more because I’ve been writing this memoir about Isis. I thought we were past this. How did I miss the signs?
Maybe I just overlooked them. For one, I noted in my post a month ago that he countersurfs and pulls stuff off the counter. That’s a lack of impulse control, and a sign he doesn’t listen to me when I tell him to leave it.
Last week, before all this came to light, Leo did a fantastic impersonation of Isis outside Village Books. We had taken Leo and Mia to the park, then ordered food from the cafe downstairs, planning to lay out a towel and eat on the grass. Rob strode off to pick up the food. I stood beside the car, holding both dogs’ leashes and was rummaging around for the water dish when Leo trotted away onto the lawn. His leash had detached from his harness!
Leaving the car door open, I took Mia up to the lawn and called Leo’s name. He ignored me, running up to two tiny children, not even as tall as Leo’s front legs. The children’s eyes and mouths widened, and I called out the phrase that all stupid dog owners say when they’ve lost control of their dogs, “He’s friendly!”
Leo trotted around for a few more minutes, getting close enough to frolic with Mia, but not close enough for me to grab him. Finally, he wandered over to the patio dining area and said hello to a dog that was sitting with his people. I asked the woman with the dog to grab Leo’s collar for me, which she did. No harm done. He didn’t snarl or bark at anyone, or run into traffic, or make anyone cry.
But he blatantly disregarded me. Totally consistent with a dog lacking impulse control who doesn’t listen. So I was humiliated just the same. The familiar shame reading like a page from my memoir about Isis.
Last night, he was more destructive than usual, but for once, I understood why. Whenever we give him a bone, he races around the house looking for a place to bury it. Hilarious, but totally logical, because when he tries to eat something in plain sight, he winds up dropping it at Mia’s feet and she won’t give it back. He’s been known to tuck a bone underneath my pillow. Thoughtful guy.
So yesterday, he discovered the knotted end of an old rawhide and began his prepare-to-bury frenzy. I turned my attention to dishwashing for five minutes, then found him on the bed, surrounded by chunks of foam.
What the hell? Had he torn apart a couch cushion and brought it in here?
Nope, he had been so overzealous in his burying efforts that he dug a hole in our memory foam mattress cover! Fortunately, the part he destroyed is above where our heads go, so we can sleep around the damage.
Oh, my sweet Leo, what are we going to do with you?
Work on your impulse control, that I know for sure.