Yesterday, I shared a New Year’s letter I’d written to our Border Collie, Bilbo and today, I’d like to share the sequel: Lady’s New Year’s Resolutions.
Lady is a 3 year old Border Collie x King Charles Cavalier. We adopted her just over a year ago when Bilbo started slowing down. She’s a gorgeous medium-sized black dog with patches of white on her chest and paws, which disappear when the lights go out and you can only hear her exuberant tail whacking the floor in the darkness.
Lady at Ocean Beach, NSW.
Nobody’s perfect and while I haven’t quite sat down and had a good hard look at my own bad habits which should be eliminated poste haste, I have sorted out the dogs instead…a perfectly acceptable procrastination technique, don’t you agree?!!
So without further circuitous ramblings and preambles, here’s my letter to Lady…
Letter to Lady
5th January, 2016.
Happy New Year!
Yesterday, Bilbo received his list of New Year’s Resolutions. So, today it’s your turn.
Before we get started, let me say how much we’ve loved having you here. That even though we haven’t had you since you were a pup, that we love you very much and adore those big brown puppy dog eyes and your enthusiastic whack of the tail. You’re absolutely fabulous!
However, as I explained to Bilbo, we humans have a bit of a tradition of reinventing ourselves in the New Year. After all, a new year is like a clean slate. You start all over from scratch and all your past crimes have been forgotten. Indeed, at 12.01 AM every January 1st, we humans receive brand new DNA with all the wrinkles ironed out.
Isn’t that incredible?!!!
However, the unfortunate truth is that the magic wears off very, very quickly. So, if you don’t grab hold of these changes with both hands and simply let them go, you end up right back where you started with your swag of bad habits.
I know this is complex thinking, especially for a “dog of little brain”. However, we’ve actually realised that you’re a hell of a lot smarter than we thought. That Indeed, you’ve been outsmarting us!
We now have it on good authority that blank stare of yours is all an elaborate charade. That all this supposed ignorance and void of grey matter has indeed been a gala performance. That we should actually be congratulating you for taking out the Academy Award for “Best New Talent”, instead of holding such low expectations of your abilities.
I knew it! Lady reading Geoff Le Pard’s: “My Father & Other Liars.”
So, we’re slowly coming to appreciate that there have been certain “benefits” for flying so low beneath the radar and we’re onto you. No more excuses!
Lady, you’ve been sprung!
That’s right. We’ve now seen through those huge, brown puppy dog eyes.
So…there will be no more “I didn’t know I wasn’t allowed up on the kitchen table” , “I didn’t know that was your pie” OR “I didn’t know I wasn’t allowed to jump upon a chair, then onto a table and jump over the fence”.
Instead, you’ll be a good dog!
It’s all very well to be a free spirit but you’re a dog. You can have a certain amount of free spirit off the lead at the beach but the rest of the time, you’ll have to use your imagination. That’s the space in between your ears and as long as you don’t get any ideas about flying, it could also include the sky.
Lady out walking in the clouds at Palm Beach.
Anyway, I digress.
Lady, as you’re unaccustomed to making New Year’s Resolutions and following things through, I thought I’d give you a little bit of encouragement.
So, without any further preambles, here’s your list of resolutions.
Well, it’s not exactly a list. More of a “chat”.
Lady’s New Year’s Resolutions
This might come as news to you but you’re actually a Working Dog. At least, that’s what it says on your registration papers.
A working dog “is a canine working animal, i.e., a type of dog that is not merely a pet but learns and performs tasks to assist and/or entertain its human companions, or a breed of such origin. In Australia and New Zealand, a working dog is one which has been trained to work livestock, irrespective of its breeding.”…Wikipaedia.
“Livestock” does NOT include fleas.
However, it could well include the kids.
So, we thought you could round up the kids, herding them away from their electronics and directing them towards the dishwasher, cleaning their rooms, making their beds, taking out the bin and even cooking dinner for the family.
I’ve been trying to pull this off for some years now but I don’t have your superior Working Dog genes. I’m not so sure about nipping the kids on the ankles but that would certainly get them moving!
I know subtlety isn’t your strength and I should be more direct, instead of taking a philosophical approach. So:
Lady = Working Dog + Backyard Dog.
That means you don’t wander all over the suburb looking for stray rabbits and sheep. You stay home unless you’re INVITED to go out.
I know you consider yourself a free-spirited hippy but you need to adjust your aspirations. I know we humans think we can become anything we like but your options are a little more restricted. Unfortunately, it’s not a dog’s world.
So, this means no more Houdini routines. You are NOT allowed out the front door UNLESS you’re on a lead or in the car.
That’s enough of that grumbling and complaining. There’s no point getting upset with me and making complaints to management. I don’t make the rules but I will pay the fines if you break them. Trust me, they’re pretty hefty and they’ll be coming straight out of your dog food allowance. So if you don’t want to starve to death, you’ll behave.
Besides, staying out of trouble is what we humans call “enlightened self-interest”!
If you go wondering off, you could easily get run over by a car. Of course, we don’t want you to get hurt or end up taking an express trip up to the pearly gates. That’s why we have a fences and a gate. It’s not to stop you from dreaming and expressing your inner dog. They’re to keep you safe.
Moreover, I don’t think we’ve ever told you about the evil Dog Catcher. The Dog Catcher rounds up stray, naughty dogs and takes them up to the doggy jail up on the hill. It’s not very nice up there. You’ll soon feel very lonely without your family and Bilbo to snuggle up to and you wouldn’t like the cold, concrete floor without your blanket either. Moreover, there wouldn’t be any of those cakes, biscuits and pies you keep stealing. No runs along the beach either!
So, you could say, Lady, that a life of crime doesn’t pay!
No More Food Theft!
Speaking of crime, Lady, you and I both know you can be quite the scallywag stealing food. Granted, you have improved out of sight since you came. You’ve even stopped jumping up onto the kitchen table.
However, somehow along the way, you’ve taught Bilbo your dreaded food thievery and turned him into something of a Fagan and partner in crime. He never used to steal food and used to be such a good dog! So, I would appreciate it if you could please undo this mischief so we can have the old Bilbo back.
I appreciate that you dogs can’t always distinguish between humans and dogs. That somehow through association, you believe you are human. However, as much as we love you and make you one of the family, we can not change your DNA. You are still dogs and as much as we can’t suddenly grow a fur coat, four legs and a tail and start barking, you can’t walk on two legs wearing clothes and reading the newspaper.
Humph! I know what you mean. I can also forget that you’re not human and I feel a bit sad as well… especially as dog years aren’t the same as human years…
However, we won’t go into that!
What this does mean, however, is that you can’t help yourself to our food. That there’s human food and dog food and never the twain shall mean. Unless, of course, I’m surreptitiously feeding you scraps under the table while Dad’s not looking.
By the way, Lady, being on a more restrictive diet could be a good thing. I know I could lose some weight myself and I know how much I also hate the F word that ends in T and might just happen to have an A in the middle. That said, you have filled out quite significantly since you moved in. It’s not that I’m one to throw stones but there are some things only a mother can say!
I know this letter has already turned into something of a manifesto. Sorry! Should have kept it short and sweet, especially as you even have trouble grasping simple concepts like what to do with a tennis ball.
Lady & Miss NYE 2015
However, having gone through some of the areas where you could use a bit of refinement, I wanted to thank you for being such a lovable, cuddly, enthusiastic dog whose mad whacking of the tail whenever you ever hear us, makes us feel so loved and appreciated. You are such a beautiful, happy dog!
Our intrepid seafarer: Lady out on a kayak adventure.
So, here’s a list of the things you do really well:
- Play with the kids and keep them feeling loved and entertained.
- Affectionate, loving and heart-warming.
- Cheer us up!
- Good on the lead and gave Bilbo a few lessons!
- Showed Bilbo that it won’t kill him if he gets his paws wet and that it’s fun to go for a bit of a swim at the beach.
- Good furry lap and foot warmer.
- You’re a great watch dog without being over-zealous like someone else we know around here.(By the way, perhaps you could have a little word in his ear about toning it down a bit. He must be giving himself dreadful headaches with all that barking!)
- I’ve never seen anybody skin and eat a rabbit like you did but I should remind you that you’re not on the farm anymore and we city folk aren’t used to eating such critters unless there’s a knife and fork.
So, Lady we wish you a very Happy New Year and every success in reaching your goals.
Lots and lots of love,
Mummy on behalf of our family.
PS In case you are wondering what happened to the kids, Mister is away at Scout camp and Miss is at her grandparents’. This is your opportunity for quality time.
PPS: I haven’t mentioned your reaction to the fire works on New Year’s Eve. I hope by now you’ve realised that it wasn’t the end of the world and they were just nasty noises. Nothing to worry about.