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New dog teaching a not-so-old man new tricks

For the last few months, my wife and I had been talking about getting a new dog to keep our old Lab mix Captain company while we were away for work every day and to see if that would make him happier than he had been for a while.

Unfortunately, we ended up having to put Captain down because his body was giving out on him and the vet thought he might have cancer.

That was over a month ago now and, though it still hurts, my wife and I decided a couple of weeks ago that we still wanted to go through with getting a new puppy because we missed having a dog around the house to give us unconditional love like Captain was always so good at giving freely.

So we filled out an application to start the adoption process through Coco’s Heart out of Hudson and picked out a few dogs that we thought would be a good fit for us as we continued to get used to our the new house we had bought last year and who would get good use out of our huge front yard.

If you haven’t been to Coco’s Heart’s website, I advise you not to check them out unless you are serious about adopting a dog, because the dogs on their site are so cute you might just decide that you need a new friend even though you really don’t.

We had that problem for a while ourselves since we liked the organization’s Facebook page, which contained photo after photo of the new and super cute puppies that had sad backstories or were hurt by mean people.

Looking at the site or Facebook made us want a new puppy more and more since we had lost ours so suddenly.

And after a lot of thought, we picked out a puppy named Jewell because she was a little older and was house trained, which was a huge plus.

Once we got through the process of adopting Jewell — whose name had been changed to Eva by her foster mother — we found ourselves with a highly energetic retriever mix (we think she is part boxer or greyhound given her coloring and build) who was used to doing things a certain way with her foster mother and had a lot of habits that my wife and I weren’t keen on letting her getting away with.

One of those habits, which we are still trying to break her of, is getting super excited when my wife or I get home (or anyone else coming back into the room after being gone for a while for that matter) which leads her to jump on you over and over again like she hasn’t seen you for years.

It wouldn’t be as much of an issue if she was a small dog, but she comes up past my knees when she is standing on all fours and has strong back legs that allow her to reach your face with her front paws without jumping at all.

This is also an issue when we are trying to eat supper at our dining room table.

Eva has been doing better with this lately and has learned to calm down much more quickly than she did in the past, but she hasn’t been broken of it completely.

Along with her habit of jumping when we come home, Eva was also used to jumping up onto her old owner’s bed and sleeping with her, which my wife and I don’t want.

She has been getting better about this and has been sleeping through the night in her kennel which we pull into our bedroom every night so she can at least sleep near us. She has gotten a lot better about going to sleep when we do and has even gotten better about letting us sleep until our alarms go off in the morning.

We are hoping that soon we can leave the gate to her kennel open at night and allow her to sleep in her kennel without getting on the bed.

Eventually we would like her to just sleep on the floor on her bed without needing the kennel to keep her off the bed, but we aren’t expecting her to pick that up right away.

I’ve had a dog most of my life and I can’t really imagine not having one for longer than a few months or a year since I’ve come to love having a four-legged friend around who will love me no matter what and who will be there to cuddle with me when I need to be cheered up.

Getting Eva has been my first experience as a married man bringing a new life into a house that I share with my wife and it has been a good experience so far.

Eva still has a little ways to go before she is fully trained and before we break her of a few of her lingering bad habits, but in doing so I feel like my wife and I are becoming more patient and more accepting of a dog still being a puppy even though they look like they are fully grown.

In that way I feel like we are actually learning more from Eva than she is from us and that will be a good thing — as well as something I look forward to — when my wife and I have kids of our own some time in the future. I guess a new dog can teach a not-so-old man new tricks as easily as that not-so-old man can teach her not to jump on the bed.

Jordan Willi
Jordan Willi is a reporter for the New Richmond News. Previously, he worked as a sports reporter at the Worthington Daily Globe in Worthington, Minnesota. He also interned at the Hudson Star Observer for two summers and contributed to the Bison Illustrated sports magazine at North Dakota State University.
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