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October 23, 2011

The Education of Murphy's Law

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“He’s just sensitive,” said Karen, Murphy’s breeder.  “He’s a blankety-blank nutcase” said Rick, the breeder of most of the dogs in my kennel.  Of course, it could be that Murphy is both sensitive and a blankety-blank nutcase. 

Nutcase, sensitive, all of the above, or none of the above, one characteristic Murphy definitely has is he stubbornly clings to doing things one particular way.  In this, he’s just like the other two dogs I got from Karen, Daisy and Tempest.   For all of them, if Karen did it a certain way, by God, that’s the way it should be done. 

Tempest still insists I load dogs into dogboxes incorrectly, though she agrees I’m getting close, or at least closer.  She definitely believes I’m an incompetent buffoon for all the things I do wrong, but I feed her, take her on runs, supervise yard time, and even scratch pretty well (scratching is evidently something I actually do similarly to Karen).  So with typical husky cost benefit analysis, I’m okay. 

For Daisy, it’s more of a conflicted relationship (typical female).  She bonded with me pretty early but remains certain I’m doing everything wrong.  Thankfully, she does believe I have her best interest in mind.  And even with my incompetence, most of what I do seems to be working out okay. 

Daisy’s confidence in me did take time, though.  Still, even before this happened I could manipulate Daisy by her big weakness, food.  While she had grave doubts about everything I did, hooking dogs up to their tethers for example, a treat could bring her out from under her platform.  Of course, all that meant was the little gray and white muzzle would breach the platform’s edge, the mouth would grab the treat, and before lightning struck, Daisy would retreat to the safety of the canine under-the-platform world.

 Murphy actually sees most of the same benefits as Temp and Daisy, but any deviation from the norm he knew as a pup raises the specter of a world of destruction in which his life will be a miserable nightmare.  It’s not that he’s actually that sensitive to anything I do.  It’s the fear of the unknown that clearly dominates Murphy’s thoughts.  “It all starts with not feeding on top of my dog house.  Mom did that right.  Rob puts the bowl on the platform.  The inevitable destruction of the kennel and me can’t be far behind. “

Murph has now been here for 4.5 years.  It was last year that I think he finally started realizing I’m not some evil wizard using the ill placement of food bowls as part of my devious plan to destroy the world.  And he is getting yard time and runs, both of which he very much likes.  The sky might not fall after all. 

So with Murphy I have a quirky dog who took a long time to feel comfortable in a new environment, stubbornly held onto things long after any rationale said he should, and started really fitting in when he relaxed.  I know that should remind me of somebody I know.  I just can’t quite figure who.

   
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