By our conservative estimates, Teddy has met over three hundred new people since coming home a month ago.
This week alone, Teddy has been to one soccer practice and a game, a field hockey scrimmage, walked all the way up the hill to a high school football game, and attended two of my sections of Writing 101 at Bryn Athyn College.
Several of my students have puppies or dogs at home, and I've been promising to bring Teddy in for show and tell when the weather/class agenda was right. Yesterday, we were conferencing on paper outlines, and working in small groups and the temperature was a perfect 72 degrees, so we set up in the shade with a basket of toys, a water bowl, a whiteboard, and one black wooly-bear caterpillar of a dog.
I joked that this was like the photos on every college brochure--classes held al fresco on tree-studded campuses, but which rarely materialized. In my four years at two colleges, and three years of graduate school, in California no less, we never held class outside.
The main rule was: do not let the little bear chew on you. Before Teddy came home, Hayden and I read things about teaching 'easy mouthing', and then later extinguishing this kind of play, to encourage long term bite inhibition. I am sure it works well for some, but after dealing with so much biting from our previous Newf puppy, and Teddy's future as a therapy dog, redirecting all biting sounded like a better fit for us.
This went beautifully during the first class--students passed toys and distracted him, rolling him and playing with him in a big circle while I reviewed individual outlines and we tackled some grammar basics. Teddy entertained everyone by carrying his water bowl around, half-full and sloshing. He showed off his tricks--sit and lie down--and was pretty tuckered out by the start of the second class.
I was explaining the No Mouthing rule to the next section when Theodorable barked, took a running start at me, and latched on to my upper arm. WITH TEETH. He stayed there. Not biting, not moving, just, you know, trapping my bicep in his mouth and looking up at me with his pooling chocolate eyes.
I had a brief panic that he might not let go, that I'd have to teach with a Teddy attached to me like a little lamprey, but a stern look and he let go, huffed off and lay down like baby Superman, sleeping through most of the second class. Afterwards, a dog-loving student gave him a full body massage to wake him up, and Teddy even walked all the way home, carrying his leash in his mouth. Luckily, we don't live far from the college, and Sampson was waiting to greet us:
The Nighttime is the Right Time...
For sleeping, Teddy Bear! We are making progress on this front. One night this week, Teddy slept all the way until 5 am. When I did walk him out into the darkness, he peed, and wandered down the hill a little, until something made a scary noise in the bushes, and he tucked tail and ran back to the porch, parked himself between my calves, and GROWLED like the brave young man he is becoming.
Our current situation is that Hayden takes him out before a late bedtime. Often, Teddy is too tired to do much and just plops down in the cool grass. Hayden sent me this photo last night with the caption "Take him out to pee, you said"
In return, I do the early mornings. (I'm writing this blog from the living room couch at 4:57am, where I usually move after Teddy's early morning bathroom break.) I give him access to his basket of toys, and he entertains himself until the kid-line for the showers start about 6:15 and it is light enough to let the chickens out.
There was no dog blog for Sampson for week 13, 6 years ago. J had just come home from Central America with dengue fever (part of the impetus for us to develop Hoffman's Natural Bug Spray when we moved there with him a year later!) and a town rallied around us, taking our children and young Sampson under their wings and into their homes so I could cozy up with my husband in a single bed at Holy Redeemer Hospital's ICU "honeymoon suite". You can read that blog post, about our hometown not only picking up our slack, but rallying around a lost boy, here.
Adding Nana to the Hoffmenagerie
J's grandma moved in with us this week, and I had worried Teddy's barking bathroom alarm might disturb her sleep, but she says she doesn't hear him. The best part is, evening walk with Teddy, Sampson, cats and Piper doing cartwheels and splits is the perfect pace for Nana. Last night, we did an easy .3 mile loop--the weather was idyllic and Nana remarked with tears in her eyes that she hadn't had such good company or moved so well all summer. Afterwards, as dusk fell, we sat out on the porch with Teddy and Sampson at our feet, watching the chickens go up to bed and the bats swooping in while the kids trooped inside to finish homework.
In the meantime, we are researching the first phase of Theodorable's formal dog training this week, getting into the swing of life at school and eating up this delicious Indian Summer weather with a fork and spoon.