“cowboys…love..little warm puppies, and girls of the night”

from: “Mamas don’t let your babies grow up to be cowboys.”

St. Francis of Assisi loved nature and all its creatures.  He talked to the birds and the animals.  The original animal whisperer.

My last dog died about two and a half years ago, and as I have, with all my former dogs, swore “no more dogs.”  But once you have a dog and then don’t, there is an empty space in your universe.  My new puppy was a gift from my Son, daughter-in-law and grandkids.  So selecting and collecting him were two major special events that included all of us, and it was huge fun.  Naming him was also a collective affair. I had developed a list of names that appealed to me, and everyone in the family had a vote to name this little Silver Lab.  Silver-Otto was dismissed immediately, and the consensus was Oliver Gabriel aka Oli.

The decision to get another dog was not made lightly since he will require a significant investment of time and money for 10-15 years.  My son assured me that Oli will have a good home should I fall off the twig and Oli is still around.  Oli is a rambunctious little guy full of energy and since he is only three months old in the training stages.  I admit that St. Francis would be welcome to tame this “ferocious wolf” as he did according to legend.  Even in his short life, Oli has a definite personality, emerging traits, and a limited vocabulary.  He loves a fire in the wood stove and gets as close as he can to the warmth.  When I say “lunch” or “dinner” he does his Snoopy dance, ears and tail flying, all the way to his food dish.

I have been reading many dog training books.  One that is very good is “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Puppies” by M. A. Gorman.  His opening paragraph is “Once you have experienced life with dogs, it is very hard to go back to life without them.  It can be done, of course, but dogs, especially puppies, have a way of changing your soul.”

You know that the dog loves you un-conditionally and is always happy to see you.  He is content that you are his human.  Raising a puppy requires lots of patience and constant vigilance.  Oli moves fast.  He is underfoot most of the time, or chewing the furniture, curtains, shoes, etc.   Correcting him firmly and consistently in a serious tone of voice will get the message across.  So will lots of praise and a pleasant voice tone to let him know is his doing well and that I care.  He will begin to feel secure and to trust.

From a Pets 10 Commandments:  “Give me time to understand what you want from me.  Place your trust in me.  It is crucial to my well-being.”

Requirements for a dog through various life stages are different just as they are for human beings.  Caring for and protecting him are the owner’s responsibility.  Life is more joyful with a dog in it.  He will be a great companion and an understanding friend, and that companionship and friendship are to work both ways.

“O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console,

To be understood, as to understand,

To be loved, as to love.”                  From Prayer of St. Francis

Francis understood that we need to love God’s creatures and to spend time with them because it is through his creations that God communicates to us.

Article by Judy Struna