I haven't posted an update on Benjamin for a while, due to life being just too crazy busy. He will be two years old in April, which I find very hard to believe! I love the age he is at -- still very puppy-ish in some ways, but at least somewhat trained, (if imperfectly), a bit more chilled out than earlier but still loads of fun, and really just the nicest sweetest dog I could ask for. He can be headstrong and willful, and I admit that I have fallen by the wayside a bit in terms of his training, but fortunately his great temperament makes up for many of my lapses. It's not that I don't realize that ongoing training is essential. It's just that I neglected some aspects of my life that were very important to me during his first year, and am now trying to integrate that with working full time and still being a good dog mom.
OK, truth be told (this should probably go in the coffee shop area, but whatever, it's integral to what I'm trying to say) -- I am a martial artist I trained in traditional Japanese karate when I was younger, attained black belt level, left for many years, came back, had to start over and will be re-testing for my black belt 3 weeks from now. Anyone who is even vaguely familiar with the martial arts will know that it can be rather obsessive, and before I got Benjamin I was at the dojo almost every night, and on weekends as well. Work and train, that's all I knew. Then when I got him in June of 2012, I mostly put it on hold and devoted my life to him. It was so worth it! However, I guess I wasn't fully cognizant of how much he would change my life. Anyway, now I am back to training more regularly, and actually leave him alone a couple of evenings a week! He still doesn't like it much, but too bad, buddy, I have a life too, you know!
Also, I should say that I work as a therapist with older adults in a community mental health center, and am able to bring him to work with me every day. He helps me so much in my work! I am fortunate in that it's a rather casual arrangement, in that he is not a certified therapy dog or anything (due to a few lapses in my training of him he might not even pass), but he is such a sweetheart and mostly
very obedient. Everyone just loves him, and he especially is very helpful in drawing out people who are depressed or have difficulty relating to people. In fact, I told my supervisor that B is so helpful that he should get his own paycheck, and he said he'd look into it. Haven't gotten a response yet, though.
Another thing is that just a couple of weeks ago I had to board him for the first time. Traumatic!!! For the both of us, I think, but I know it was torture for me so I can only hope it was not quite as bad for him. My parents are not doing too well and live far away (too far to realistically drive), Benjamin weighs almost 20 pounds, and I went to visit them for 6 days and left him in the care of some very nice people, in their home and with some sweet little dogs for him to play with, but we'd never been apart overnight since I got him!
But we survived it, and the good part was the reunion! I was SO happy to see him again, he wagged his tail like crazy, licked my face like there was no tomorrow, and all was right with the world again! Next time I'm going to try to bring him with me, though.
These are a couple of pictures I took of my little buddy last September, when it was warm and sunny out. They are two of my favorite pics of him. The first one is his Zen Master look, "Just Being". In the second photo, I imagine he is saying "This Stick Just Makes Me Smile!", and I think captures his personality to a T.