If They’d Just LISTEN!!

“It’s a puppy. And it’s a boy. And it’s a livestock guardian dog. You can’t expect this to be easy. Male dogs are difficult to house train.”

“He’s driving me crazy. He shits everywhere. If I take my eye off of him for five minutes… I want to kill him.”

“Take him to the pound while he’s still cute and someone might want him, otherwise, train him. You have to take him out and walk him a couple times a day. A tired puppy is a happy puppy and a good puppy.”

“He just sits there.”

“You have to teach him to want to go with you. Take the other dogs.”

“It’s a pain.”

“I don’t know what to say then. A puppy is a 24/7 job but then they grow up and they’re your best friend.”

“Whatever you say.”

I’d been tuned out. OH well…

I’m wise now that I’m 65 and have lived through the puppyhood of several puppies. I’ve paid a lot of (dog) dues. But even so, no one can reap the benefit of my inestimable wisdom because THEY WON’T EFFIN’ LISTEN TO ME.

I was recently having lunch with a great woman, a good friend, some 19 years younger than I, her son’s a high school senior and she said, “Everything would be fine if he’d just LISTEN to me.”

The question is one man’s folly is another man’s sense. Years and years ago I was sitting at the break table in the school where I was teaching. One of my colleagues was talking to me about my aspirations to be a writer. “You’ll never make it,” he said. “It’s really difficult to get anything published. Most people don’t.”

I knew that already. How was it his business if I made it or not? Of course, I wanted to, but I also wanted to teach and I had to earn a living. I thought of writing as a destiny and teaching as the “here and now.”

But he went on. I thought, “A-ha, you are talking to yourself now.” I was up against the “If you don’t try you can’t fail” philosophy and I believe the opposite. Not trying is certain failure. And now that I’m a **famous writer, I know the big deal is writing, not “making it” and that’s NOT sour grapes. My half year of book promotion definitely taught me that.

One man’s folly is another man’s, uh, folly and often folly is the greatest wisdom.

Caveat: I don’t like The Beatles but I love this song. As for tarot, I’m not “into it” but I really love this card. There’s no one I’d rather be than a happy person on a precipice in the mountains with my dog and the sun on my back.



** Famous in my own mind, among my friends who love me and my one surviving aunt who’s read my books (the other hasn’t). I might be famous for my dogs. I think my dogs are cool with my fame, but they think it’s because of my awesome hunting skills because every day — twice — they have food. :O


6 thoughts on “If They’d Just LISTEN!!

  1. Maybe nay sayers should heed the Golden Rule. Constructive criticism, personal experience that can benefit the listener, and any other words of wisdom that are meant to help should be encouraged, but why try to stomp on someone’s dreams? That’s not necessary. And good for you for not letting him discourage you. Like you said, none of his business. P.S. I trained my last boy with a bell, until he figured out that every time he rang it, he got to go outside. Take me out to play. Take me out so I can roll in the grass. Take me out because the sun is shining. That was the end of the bell.

    • Yep. There’s a difference — I think — between saying, “Make the puppy WANT what you want him to do” and “You can never be a writer because most people fail.”

      I haven’t used a bell (good idea!) but a tone of voice that just makes it sound like the thing I’m proposing, “Let’s go PEEE!” is the greatest thing in the world. I realize that must have sounded idiotic to neighbors, but it worked. 🙂

  2. Because I no long feel up to the perils of puppyhood, we adopt older dogs. They need homes too, and become wonderful pals very fast. Gibbs housebroke himself in aweek and rarely puts a paw wrong. He has issues — like not knowing the set of words most pups learn while being trained and socialized — and fearfulness with new people — but he understands tones of voice. The rest will come.

    I always suggest to people they may not really WANT a puppy, especially if they are working full time, don’t have a doggy door (or, for that matter, a fenced yard) … and I know they don’t have the dedication to educating a baby dog. They do not listen. They buy tiny puppies at pet stores knowing nothing about the breed and dump the poor thing as soon as the super-cute-baby isn’t so super cute.

    You can see their eyes glaze over while you are still talking. They don’t want to hear anything that contradicts what they already believe. That’s how we wound up with a Trump presidency and a lot of dogs needing rescue.

    There’s a difference between trying to give advice and information — warning someone — or trying to convince them that the way YOU see the world is the only way. Perhaps the lines gets thin sometimes and we stray across it.

    • I think my friend just vents to me and it’s meaningless. It’s my problem for listening and responding. I should just put the phone on speaker and do something else while he’s talking. 🙂

      The Trump thing still astounds me. I will never understand how people would be convinced by WORDS when so many of the man’s actions absolutely contradict those words. Really, among the few words that ring true are his racist words. The rest, like being for the “little guy” and “bringing jobs back”? Incredible. I never imagined being in a position to HOPE for salvation from the russkis…

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