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Richard’s Almanac: And they call it puppy love

A cute (and well trained) puppy is the way to go. STOCK IMAGE
STOCK IMAGE A cute (and well trained) puppy is the way to go.

I was pleased to hear from Senior Center Director Laurie Fanelli last week that she’s getting out of rehab after fracturing her hip. She said she’d be back at her office this week. Great recovery Laurie! You were missed at the Center and everyone’s glad you’re returning.

Laurie recently found herself in a predicament that’s all too common with seniors. She was walking her daughter’s dog when it pulled her down. An accident, and not the pooch’s fault, but a scary situation nonetheless.

We all have to be careful with our four-legged friends. Those who give us unconditional love  are not aware of  some of the limitations of seniors.

We have to be very careful around dogs, particularly large ones. Last Saturday morning when I was at my daughter’s place, her dog jumped up on me and got my pants all muddy. When I responded with a yell, she acted dejected and hid behind my daughter. I felt bad but someone has to raise his voice to her. It’s not the first time she’s done that.

During a visit to Worcester this weekend for dinner at a very dog friendly home, I was jumped on by a medium-sized Australian shepherd. When I made my displeasure known to the dog — who did not seem to care — I was told that he was just trying to get at my eye level and that if I wanted to connect with him I should get down to his eye level. I am not that devoted. But I was in his house after all.

I have dog-sat for my son who has a rather large pitbull mix. A lovely and gentle companion except when I try to walk him and he sees another dog. One time he almost jumped in the window of a slow moving passing car with a barker hanging out of it. Very nerve wracking.

I have had my share of dogs over the years and I have never been very good at training them. I had a Belgian shepherd named Hamlet who always had to get to the other side just to find out what was there. He would chew through doors just to do that. And he would never take care of business in front of anyone. He had to walk into the woods alone to his special spot. I lost him upstate during hunting season.

Then I had an Anatolian shepherd female named Zephyr. Totally incorrigible. I wound up giving her away to someone more sensitive to her needs than I.

My last dog was Hank, a red Siberian Husky. I must say that Hank was loyal and extremely good looking and that was it. He would nip at people who tried to pet him. He had a taste for fresh chickens. I wound up replacing neighbors’ chickens every time Hank would eat a few. And he’d eat the whole bird — feathers and all.

He was arrested by the dog warden on a few occasions and one time I had to claim him from a holding pen at the dump.

I knew one septuagenarian who became wheelchair-bound while walking the family dog who bolted for a rabbit. But there are so many other stories about the great things that man’s best friends do. I know a standard poodle who makes regular visits to elderly patients at a local hospital. I know of a German shepherd who saved a family by waking them up in a fire. The stories go on.

I think that if I were getting another dog, I’d investigate the ones trained by the monks at New Skete in Cambridge, New York. They’re supposed to be the best for behavior.

I’ll see.