Point of View: Beside Ourselves

O’en knew the drill

O’en, our cream-colored golden retriever who doesn’t retrieve, but who is as handsome as all get-out, has taken great strides forward.

Frankly, we had begun not to take Matty Posnick, ARF’s trainer, all that seriously when he would say not to worry, that O’en, who had until fairly recently treated training sessions as mixers requiring him to work the room, would come around. 

Mary’s thrown her back out a couple of times in trying to restrain him. He loves everyone equally and fervently, and is as strong as an ox.

A half-trained dog would have been all right with me, yet, as I say, he’s made great strides of late, to such an extent that we’re thinking that one day we might be able to put the leash aside, knowing he’ll be responsive to verbal commands. I see Bill Fleming’s golden retriever walking along beside him and, though usually I’m not, I’m envious.

I hadn’t been to training for a while, leaving that (among myriad other things) to Mary, and so even though she’d told me he’d improved markedly in the past couple of weeks, I was unprepared yesterday for what greeted my eyes in the Wainscott Farms greenhouse — an ever-attentive O’en, regal-looking as always, but also, wonderful to tell, utterly undistracted by all the distractions. 

There were at least a dozen dogs in the class, an intermediate one that O’en had had to repeat. One barked incessantly and a couple, German shepherds, were, frankly, a bit scary. But O’en was serene, staying, paws crossed idly in front of him, when he was asked to stay, fixing Mary with soulful stares when asked to “watch,” and coming neatly around to heel when Mary moved her left leg backward before clicking her heels together and lowering a treat.

Matty was right! All of a sudden, it had clicked. O’en knew the drill. 

Mary, who more than once in the past year had thought seriously, the steep fee notwithstanding, of sending him “to the monks,” is beside herself. 

As am I. As is O’en. As are all three of us.