I got Bentley almost exactly a year ago. He was a project. Part of a plot, a plan, a scheme. One that mostly failed. See, I didn’t want a little dog. I wanted a big dog. But mom would flip if I brought home a big dog. She didn’t want a dog. But she hadn’t wanted a cat either, all those years ago. But she caved in and let me get the cat. And when I moved out 10 years later, she not-entirely-jokingly said that I should get a new cat and let her keep my cat.
So my plan was to get a cute, small, fluffy dog. Not my type at all. Get mom to fall in love with it. Prove I could train said dog. Perhaps even start a side business walking or training dogs. Mom would fall in love with the little yappy dog, and I could get myself the bigger dog I’d always wanted. Well, it didn’t quite work.
Turns out, I’m not patient enough to work with animals. Bentley knows quite a few commands, and he’s a super quick learner. But that’s a tribute to his smarts, not in any way indicative of me as a dog trainer. If he gets loose, there’s no getting him back; he doesn’t come when called, and he still pulls like mad on the leash when he sees another dog or something to chase. (SQUIRREL!)
But my mom *has* fallen in love with the dog. And my dad is starting to as well. And it turns out having a smaller dog isn’t so bad. Bentley can still run up to 4 miles with me. And I have no doubts he’d be able to keep up pretty much all day on a hike if I wanted to take him backpacking. He’s plenty of fun, without taking up plenty of space. Plus, being part Poodle, he doesn’t shed.
And recently, Bentley took me on a bit of an adventure. We went to the park for a hike. I wasn’t feeling well, so instead of making him “walk nice” by my side, I let him lead and choose where he felt like going. And we got lost.
And it was awesome. We had a fantastic hike. Normally I don’t notice much because the area we hike is one I’ve been going to all my life. I know it like the back of my hand. But Bentley showed me new trails I’d never been on before. New areas off the main trails where there wasn’t another soul. Just me, my dog, and the trees.
I guess it wasn’t such a failed project after all. It’s just that the project was me, not the dog.