Tuesday, March 26, 2013

An Adventurous Little Life....For A Dog

     Lots of my customers and friends will be traveling in the next few weeks.  It’s a popular time to ditch Maine for warmer climates and a healthy dose of adventure to banish the winter blues we’ve all been plagued with.   One customer just returned from France and another from Panama.  A couple will be headed to Ireland next week for a 10-day adventure.  Yet another is heading out for a week of sailing off St. Thomas.  I have a friend getting ready to depart for Dubai, Egypt and the Maldives, too.  My list of adventure-seekers is topped by a final couple who will be flying to Japan with an older men’s (40+) hockey team sponsored by Yosaku to play some hockey and have some fun.  Wow, right?  I’m totally jealous and would love to crawl into ANY of their suitcases and come along.  

Related to that last adventure mentioned, I also have a school dog who will get to have an adventure all his own while his parents travel to Japan.  Marty the Chihuahua Mix will be staying at a fraternity house at the University of Pennsylvania, where his (human) brother, Reid, is a sophomore!  Yep, it’s true.  Marty’s owners own a fish brokering business and Marty’s hopping on a truck headed toward the Philly area with one of their trusted employees and will be delivered into the waiting arms of their son to spend a week hanging with the boys.  Oh my!

A couple of months ago, my customers, Dick and Dore Doughty, traveled to Philadelphia with their dog, Marty, to visit their son, Reid.  When they returned, they told me how much Reid and his friends enjoyed having a dog in the house at Kappa Sigma.  Marty made quite an impression on them.  They were really good to him and wanted him to stay for the rest of the semester.  At breakfast on their final morning in Philadelphia, Reid had a presentation to make to his parents, hoping to convince the Doughtys that he and his friends could be responsible care providers for Marty.  The Kappa Sig brothers had researched available vet care, dog parks and dog day cares where Marty could socialize with dog pals.  They had worked out a plan for Marty’s exercise, feeding and other needs and they were all willing to pitch in.  Amazing!

Of course, Dick and Dore high-tailed it out of there before Reid could even finish the presentation.  The thought of leaving their baby in a FRAT house?!  No way!  We’re all thinking back to our own college days and remembering what went on in those houses, aren’t we?  Ironically, this dog Marty....he’s THE life of the party here at DWD every single Tuesday without fail.  When I write the progress report for the day, I always credit Marty for exercising the entire class.  He is such a party animal, always stirring things up and goading the whole pack into chasing him round and round the playground.  My photo albums on my photography site are filled to brimming with images of Marty’s antics each week.  Truly, if dogs had frat parties, Marty would be the one wearing a lampshade and dancing like a crazy person by the middle of the evening.    And if a poker game started, he’d be the dealer and he’d a have a cigar hanging from his mouth while telling lie upon lie.  He’d be known campus-wide as THE dog to party with.  You’d always know there’d be a good time to be had wherever Marty was.  And the girl dogs would swoon in his wake.  So....it’s kind of hilarious that this whole adventure is happening to THIS dog, right?  Wait til the other dogs in Marty’s class find out....

Since his parents have come back from that road trip to Philly, Reid hasn’t let up.  In fact, there’s talk about adopting a pup in need of rescue this spring so that Reid can train him this summer (and I can have the pup here at DWD of course) and then bring him back to the frat house to live permanently in the fall.  Of course if this plan DOES happen, I’ve offered to fly to Philly for a weekend to work with the frat brothers on dog training, proper socialization, etc.  That would be TOO FUN and my son (recent college grad) would be horrified to learn of it!  But anyway...my point is that these young men are SERIOUS about wanting a house dog at school.  It makes a ton of sense in terms of the benefits of having a pet around in stressful times.  Dogs are known to be soothing and comforting.  Caring for them can take your mind off your struggles and stressors.  And, truth be told, this is a pretty upscale college and this particular fraternity is across the street from the prestigious Wharton Business School, I’m told.  I'm sure there are parties and good times, but maybe this could benefit both dog and frat boys?  And I totally love how earnest these young men are about providing a good home and solid training for a pup.  With good supervision and coaching, this could actually work!

      In the meantime, they’ve been granted a “trial run” with Mr. Marty Fancypants next week.  I cannot wait to hear the stories about how it went.  I wonder if Marty will become famous on campus.  I’m imagining him wearing a bandana and playing frisbee on the quad with the guys, attracting all the cute girls for cuddling and kissing (he loves to give kisses).  Back at the frat house, I’m also imagining him wandering from room to room, hopping up on everyone’s beds to greet them in the morning, getting into a little mischief in the yard.  He loves to dig, boys...so keep an eye on him!  Ahhh....if dogs could talk, Marty would have so many stories to tell on his return to quiet, small town life, huh?   

I’m pretty impressed and excited that Dore and Dick have decided to give Reid this opportunity to take care of Marty for the week.  They were hesitant, but Reid was persistent.  He made his case, dotted his i’s and crossed his t’s and did a thorough, responsible job of convincing his parents that he could take good care of their precious bundle on a college campus and in a house full of guys.  Reid and the other Kappa Sigs will have the chance to experience all that goes into looking after the needs of a young dog while managing their school work and social lives, which should give them the “real life” taste of dog ownership necessary before making a bigger commitment to bring a dog into the house in the fall.  It’s a win/win opportunity, if you ask me.  Can’t wait to report back on how this all falls out.  I hope Marty has packed his sunglasses and his toga.  And I hope the boys take lots of photos!!