My Mom and Dad’s first dog together was a little black and white Shih Tzu named Blake. That was 20 years ago. There were no Internet groups to help to raise a pup as there are now. Mom and Dad made a lot of mistakes with Blake including feeding her so much she was five pounds overweight at her first vet visit.
They loved little Blake very much. When she was a puppy, they taught her all the tricks: sit, stay, come, paw. There was one thing Blake was very stubborn about doing. She did not like to bark. She had a very cute little bark, and my parents loved hearing her little arf.
My parents would hold a treat in front of her and say, “speak! Speak!” After several days, Blake realized what they meant. They wanted her to bark. So she started barking. Our parents were very happy. So she kept barking.
And they grew less happy.
A few months after Blake turned five Foley came to live with them. On the first night, Blake told Foley “I don’t know why but these two really like dogs who bark a lot.” Foley did not want to anger her new parents on her first day she started barking that night, and she did not stop for 13 years.
She did not welcome me with the opened paws that Blake greeted her. She said to me “Look, kid, nothing against you, but I’ve seen them come and go and frankly if you stay or go, well, I got no skin in the game if you know what I mean, but, if you want to impress our parents, bark your simple, little head off.
I did not want to displease them, so I barked. I barked when I heard a noise; I barked I thought I heard a noise, I barked when I saw people, I barked when I saw a dog, I started barking and for eight years I have not stopped barking.
When River Song came to live with us, I told her how much our parents loved the barking. She does well at barking inside the house but sometimes when she walks she forgets to bark. I am very concerned she might not work out. Come on River: Bark more!
I know my parents love our barking. My mom tells me I am driving her crazy.
Crazy with happiness, I bet. Boy, I am sure mom and dad are glad they taught Blake how to bark.