The second of our spring Mush Puppy birthdays is upon us, this time our honorary MP Pip. So I suppose we might as well continue making 2016 the Year of Telling MPs’ Stories.
The first dog I got as an adult was a retired racing greyhound named Desire. She was a really fantastic dog in a lot of ways, but in particular she came into my life at a time when I was really lost and helped me put some things back together.
She and I, and later my husband, navigated all the changes of young adulthood together; school, graduation, first “real” job, marriage, first house. I can’t recommend these retired racers enough, but when she died I couldn’t bear the thought of having another dog too like her so I started looking on Petfinder for the most un-greyhound like dog I could find.
I found Pip.
That was 2005, and like all the dogs I’ve had in my life I’ve learned many lessons from Pip over the years. Though incredibly sweet and cuddly with people he knows, he’s shy and wary of people he doesn’t know and has taught me a tremendous amount about advocating for your shy dog. He came to me a severe resource guarder, and we slowly but steadily transformed that from a bite risk to a “listening to Pip complain” risk. When Squash was a teenager, Pip’s fun policing escalated to an attack and he taught me an enormous amount about repairing dog/dog relationships: Desensitization, counter-conditioning, management, and rebuilding trust. And he’s the very best bed warmer on a cold winter day.
We’ve come a long way together and we’re both 11 years older since we first met. He’s not drivey; we don’t mush or play agility or disc or any other sport. But he’s the dog who quietly sleeps at my feet at the end of the day, still loves to hike and swim, sleeps in and takes naps like a champ, and can always calm and quiet my heart and soul. So I hope there are many more Pip days to come.