at the Water's Edge

Living life and learning all I can along the way!

Happy Puppy OR A Dog and His Dinh

It's true. I've been slacking on the blog. Part of it may or may not be due to the fact that we got our first family pet a few months ago. Tom and I had discussed getting a dog over the years, but somehow this winter it suddenly became a reality. We found a ~10 month old dog at the SPCA shelter that we decided almost as soon as we saw him that he belonged with us. He's a medium-sized shepherd mix of some sort. He was laying down in his cage, giving the best "puppy dog eyes" he could, while the rest of the dogs in the shelter were jumping up and down barking. He just looked so sad in there. My reaction was, "I just want you to be Happy...Happy." -- a line from one of our favorite movies, Happy Gilmore.  And thus (after two days of considering other options), his name was established.  So, without further ado, let me introduce you to the newest member of our family: Happy Gilmore Symons

Tom & Happy bonding time, shortly after we got him.

Happy LOVES car rides. 
Taking lessons from Teddy Roosevelt
Happy's second bed that I still haven't finished making...
Happy! Ridin' the wheelbarrow? You're acting like a dang fool!
Swinging at Grammy and Poppy's house
We've had a lot of fun with him so far.  He's a great dog and he is very smart, but he's still working on his manners. We did 6 weeks of beginner dog training classes with him and really learned a lot. What we didn't realize is that the classes are not really to train the dog, but to train the owners on how to train the dog! It involves lots of positive reinforcement and telling him what *to* do rather than just always telling him what *not* to do (e.g. instead of, "Happy! No! Don't eat mom's cat!!" -- it becomes, "Happy! Leave it! Lay down. Good boy! Have a treat [not the cat]!").  He really has come a long way in his training, but we still need to work on his social skills and his ability to pay attention to us in busy areas with lots of distractions.  

He's not done training yet, but he's well on his way!

We took up up north with us this past weekend and let him off his leash in the "wild" for the first time.  It was a safe place, practically on a small island/peninsula jutting out into Lake Michigan -- so there wasn't really a way for him to run away easily.  He did great! And apparently loves to swim.

Family road trip!!
Exploring Tahquamenon Falls
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Happy's first swim in Lake Michigan

Getting Nerdy: Our Ka-Tet

Tom and I read through the Dark Tower series by Stephen King over the past year, and we picked up some new lingo.  In these stories, the word "ka-tet"  is used to describe a group that is bound together by fate.  We decided with a third member (yes, animals can be included in a ka-tet -- in King's story, Oy is an animal joined in the Ka-tet of 19 with Roland, Eddie, Susannah and Jake), we are now officially a ka-tet. 

Each ka-tet has a leader, just as, for dogs, each pack has a leader.  We decided right away that Tom should be the "pack leader" for Happy -- since we know we don't want the dog taking over that role! Tom gave me a questionable look when I tried calling him "Daddy" to Happy, and we quickly decided that his rightful title was "Dinh" -- which is the name for the leader of the Ka-tet and also means "father". Happy loves his Dinh.

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If Tom is Dinh, what does that make me? Mrs. Dinh, I suppose.  Happy has done a great job training with me. I've been able to teach him lots of tricks and also work on his manners. He listens to me well, and he loves me, too. 

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But, when he's choosing a lap to crawl into after dinner, it's usually his Dinh's. *Sigh* Oh well. The two of them are so cute together. We are looking forward to bringing Happy on some adventures this summer, and when he can't come with, his "grandparents" are very excited to doggy-sit!

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Hi there! My name is Dana and I live in West Michigan with my husband, Tom and our dog Copernicus. I created this space as a place to share the things I learn along this journey I call life. I work in marketing and I'm a sort of Jane of All Trades, interested in all things nature, gardening, cooking, exploring and learning new things. This blog is a conglomeration of my interests, hobbies, life and life lessons. Thanks for stopping by!