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Column

Life with Lenny

The newest member of our family, Lenny our golden retriever, has been with us for about three and a half months and oh, what an eventful time it has been. After having a dog for 12 years, it was easy to forget the “puppy stage” and all that comes with it, but Lenny wasn’t going to hold back in reminding us what it means to have a puppy.

When we first got Homer 12 years ago, I was in the middle of wedding planning, I had just graduated from college and we were building our first house. There was a lot going on and I think some of the training fell to my parents because we still lived with them until after the wedding. My mom will confirm that fact and I have to assume Homer wasn’t just the perfect puppy, never having any accidents, once we moved into the new house.

With Lenny, all of the training is on us. We tried to hang bells on the door so he could tell us when he needed out but they turned into a toy and eventually were taken down due to the frequent music we were hearing. We did notice he went over by the door when he needed out, but if we weren’t there within seconds, we would be too late. He also found favorite spots to do his business including our front room and the girls’ bedroom. New flooring is in our future as soon as we get through this accident phase. In the meantime, I am stocked up on cleaning spray.

One thing I do remember about Homer at this age is how much energy he had. Lenny is living up to that and as soon as I walk in the door he is ready to go. Thankfully, he is a fairly good listener so we can go to the backyard for him to run and fetch and he doesn’t wander off. He is quite skilled at fetching and sticks are his favorite. We can go rounds and rounds in the yard until he gets tired and lays down to rest.

Inside, we are working on laying down the rules, which is not going very well. I will never be good at disciplining animals and Lenny is benefiting from that fact. We are trying really hard to get him to stop jumping on us but time will tell if our method is working.

The girls just love Lenny, most of the time, and play with him more than I expected. They even wrestle around with him and I love hearing the giggles as they get kisses slobbered all over their faces.

What may be my favorite relationship to watch is between Lenny and the cats. Moe and Carl were not impressed when we brought a new dog home. They were fine with Homer, who never bothered them and were even happier being the only two pets in the house.

Lenny runs, jumps, pounces and tries to play any time the cats come around, much to their displeasure. When he was smaller, they had quite a few places they could go where he couldn’t reach them. Now, he can jump up on the couch and beds and is tall enough to perch with his front legs on the counter and tables, which we are trying to discourage, giving the cats fewer places of refuge.

Don’t think the cats are taking all of this lying down. Carl has been the most vocal in his opposition, hissing at Lenny and batting at him when he gets to close. Moe likes the chase so he typically takes off down the hallway to get past the gate and to safety.

While sometimes it seems like it has been way more than three months with Lenny and other times it was like we got him yesterday, our whole family is happy he is with us. He is going to be a great dog and I can’t wait to see what tricks and personality traits come out as he gets older. I am a little nervous for our Christmas tree this year, though.

Contact Jamee A. Pierson at jpierson@newtondailynews.com

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