9/06/2011

Solo Time


My doggie lost his privileges. We picked him up from boarding school, better known as doggie camp and the usual report card accompanied him. Unlike past stays when we received a stellar report, this report card one was loaded with comments about his apparent need to dominate members of the opposite sex. In fact, he was indiscriminate in his tastes. I chose to think my dog embraces diversity.

This type of behavior by Charley was strongly dealt with when he was in obedience training years ago when he was just a young pup. Even then, he had this overwhelming urge to let everyone know in the class who was boss. And it most definitely, most evenings was not the person holding the leash. Unless the leash holder was the top trainer leading the class, who whipped the collar with no mercy. She could snap that chain with her wrist and bring our 100 lb lab to his knees screaming, in doggie language, “Uncle!” But as soon as the leash was handed to us, the best we could do was throw Cheerios at him! This was our feeble attempt to get him to listen to our commands of “No humping Charley” followed by “We do not sniff other dogs butts Charley!” No amount of Cheerios in the course of the evening seemed to dissuade him from this beastly behavior and make him act like a boy we could be proud of.

Fast forward to today. We pay extra to have Charley attend Pal Time when we go out of town and board him. We want him to have play time with other dogs so that he does not spend 24/7 in a cage when he is use to having the run of our house. The only other time he gets out of the cage is to urinate if he was not granted play time. Granted we always request the suite for Charley. I mean he is worthy of deluxe accommodations, naturally, because of his large stature. Hence his cage is a mere 8 x 8 foot cage, larger than some prison cells, I dare say, complete with TV in the cell block tuned in and playing to the Animal Channel for his viewing enjoyment during his stay. He even has a doggie bed. Unfortunately, the doggie bed is made for more of a doggie about the size of a cocker spaniel, thus, it only accommodates Charley’s head and possibly his front paw.

In the past, Charley has gotten to enjoy Pal Time every day. We have the bills to proof it! He spends a few hours with a few other dogs his size just playing out in the fenced area wearing himself and the other canines out. This is his social hour and the time for him and the other dogs to network and make connections, and build friendships. Charley has made several along the way. His trainers have been good about keeping us posted on his friendships that have developed during his stays there. We have received comments on the report cards such as , Charley and Peter the Poodle hit it off real well this visit or Charley and the Golden Retriever Lucky had a gay ole time indicating this lab was possibly male also.

Imagine our surprise then, when this week, after four years of visits there, things have permanently changed, and not for the better! He was picked up and the report card that accompanied our dog/child was a bad report. It felt like our son flunked a grade after making straight A’s all the way through. It came with no warning. There was no change in his behavior either,preceding this report to indicate a change was coming. He was not acting moody, depressed,or more barky. But yet, right there on the report, in pen was clearly written, “Charley is no longer allowed to attend Pal Time during his stays here at My Second Home.” Not a word was said when he was picked up to us. We were simply told here is good old Charley and here is your bill and we loved having him. Perhaps they were concerned Charley would be embarrassed if behavior issues were addressed in the lobby with other parents in the area to overhear and other play mates of his But, I would have preferred some advance notice, a parent/trainer conference would have been nice!

Forgo the formalities, the time of subtleties is gone. The verbiage on the report was not left to the imagination at all! It painted a very clear picture. Our dog had routinely, during Pal Time, insisted on trying to mount all his other play mates. This was considered unacceptable behavior. In fact, I think it might possibly be grounds for sexual harassment of the other guests. Forget the fact these are dogs, humping is not allowed. It was stated that our dog could get hurt by humping other dogs. Somehow our 100 lb dog might hurt himself doing what dogs do naturally. Apparently, even with the one on one trainers that are assigned to each dog that boards, restraining Charley from this behavior is too hard to do. On the good side, there was no mention of him trying to mount any 2 legged characters in the camp. God knows how that would have turned out or what would have been stated on his report card had that occurred. Charley could have been banished for life from doggie camp! Imagine his disappointment!


So it is with deep regret that we are faced with yet another setback in our life with Charley, he has been barred from Pal Time at My Second Home now. He is only permitted Solo Time where he can get out and roam the grounds all on his own but with no one to play with. I am disappointed for him because I know he will lonely and will wonder why he is being ostracized like Rudolph at camp. I am disappointed for the other doggies also for their loss because he is a loveable dog that I think other dogs will miss playing with because he is a character. No longer will there be a chance for their report cards to say what probably many have said in the past, “Made a great friend with a lab named Charley this stay.”
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