Getting To Know You

All relationships have to go through a period of adjustment.  Sort of like the first year of my marriage, when I discovered that my husband not only snored in his sleep, but also had a habit of sleepwalking around the apartment in the middle of the night.  (I woke up to find him fast asleep under the dining room table more than once.)  Or when he realized that the number of meals I actually knew how to cook was rather limited, and had to tell me that even though he loved my beef stroganoff, he’d rather not have it for dinner three nights a week.  Learning to live with someone new always brings a few surprises.

fullsizeoutput_4ff5So it’s probably only natural that I’m still learning a few things about our new dog, Finn.  He’s a Patterdale Terrier mix, and like most terriers, he’s very loving, energetic and determined.  But I’m still waiting to see some sign of the usual terrier intelligence.  He’s not stupid, but if he was human, he’d be a solid “C” student, even with his very best effort.

I have a mental image of my little dog sitting at a school desk,  muttering to himself while working on his math assignment:  “Two plus two?  Okay, that must be four.  Yeah, four.  Now for two plus three.  That’s got to be six.  But what about two plus four?  What could that be?  This is so hard!  Is it time for recess yet?”

Luckily, Finn is a sweet guy who seems to want nothing more than to be with us.  We can usually hear him barking madly when we leave the house, but by the time we return, he’s always curled up in his crate, fast asleep.  He loves to chase the squirrels and rabbits in our back yard, and plays endlessly with his squeaky toys when he’s inside.  He’s slowly (very slowly) learning the ways of our household, and seems quite pleased with himself whenever he earns our praise.

fullsizeoutput_4ff3Finn adores our grandson and is very patient with him, even though our grandson is a toddler who is still learning how to be gentle with dogs.  It probably helps that our grandson is still learning to feed himself and about half of his food ends up on the floor around his high chair.  Finn has figured out that toddlers are an excellent source of extra food, and makes it a point to be nearby whenever the little guy is eating at our house.

I’m still in the process of discovering exactly who Finn is, and what he needs from me.  Sometimes I have to remind myself to be patient when he makes mistakes, such as the other morning when I came downstairs to find him sitting on the kitchen table, calmly looking out the window.  I have to remind myself of how long it took our other dogs to settle into our household routines and learn our household rules, and remember to cut Finn a little slack.

And I’m still keeping an open mind when it comes to Finn’s intelligence.  He does know “sit” and how to come when called, and he never potties inside.  He’s learned that good things come to those who sit underneath high chairs.  But most important of all, he’s figured out how to make us love him and forgive his occasional misdeeds.  Which probably means that he’s just as smart as he needs to be.

86 thoughts on “Getting To Know You

  1. Finn is a cutie. I can just visualize him sitting on the dining room table gazing out the window. What a picture that would’ve made. It’s these nuggets of memories that stick long after they are gone. Precious times.

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  2. Aw, Ann, this is just delightful! And such a good reminder for all of us about the care and feeding of all relationships – and especially the four-footed kind. Your pup sounds sweet. I’m thinking you’re well matched.

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    • Thanks! He is very sweet, just still a little bit of a puppy and I’m a bit rusty on my puppy skills. But we already love him and know he is a good dog. And as you say, all relationships need nurturing and the rewards are so worth it!

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  3. Good boy, Finn! We are in such a similar place, Ann! We have our two grandkids here every day (ages 3 1/2 and 1 1/2) and our two pups, one of whom is a terrier, like Finn. They are all so special and so wonderful! Sometimes my best moments come when I catch one of the pups playing with one of the grands!

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    • Then you do understand exactly! Finn is still a little new to our household, so he and my grandson are still learning how to interact. But they are doing so well already, and I know they’re going to be good buddies as they grow together. Thanks for the comment!

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    • You’re right, he will! We just lived with Lucy (our old dog we had for 16 years) for so long that we forgot what it was like when she was young and first came home with us. Honestly, Finn is already so much better behaved than she was at that stage!

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    • Yes, he is! And he’s still very young…they thought he was two, but I think he’s much closer to one. But we will have a good time together, and he’ll probably keep me kind of young too!

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  4. I loved the line “..just as smart as he needs to be.” I’d take a solid “C” dog that was gentle and house broken over a genius dog that had a bad attitude and was destructive! Sounds like Finn will be a fine addition to the family!

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    • Me, too! It’s just a change to go from a very old and very smart dog to a young dog that is only moderately bright. But all I have to do is remind myself how our very smart dog acted when she was also very young, and then I realize that Finn is actually quite easy by comparison.

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  5. He sounds adorable! We once had a cat who, I’m convinced, was a genius of the feline world. The next one was not, shall we say, the sharpest* knife in the box, but we loved them both just the same (and they both caused hours of amusement in their different ways).

    *Her teeth and claws were the sharpest things about her.

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    • I loved that last line!!! But at least something about her was sharp, right? And yes, we love Finn as much as we loved Lucy, even though they are very different dogs. I just have to remember that dogs are individuals who need to be valued for themselves, just like people!

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    • I think toddler’s habit of tossing the food they don’t want (and even some of the food they do want that doesn’t quite make it into their mouths) on the floor has cemented many a dog/child relationship. In his defense, Finn seemed to like our grandson even before he discovered the food thing, which is good.

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  6. And I’m still keeping an open mind when it comes to Finn’s intelligence. He does know “sit” and how to come when called, and he never potties inside. He’s learned that good things come to those who sit underneath high chairs.

    I’d say Finn pretty much has the business of being a dog down cold. Beyond that – everything is glitter. 🙂

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  7. Sounds like he may be smarter than you originally thought even though he may never set the world on fire. Funny how dogs learn very quickly where to sit when there are toddlers in the house..:)

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    • Yes, I think they have an unerring instinct where food is concerned! Sort of like how they come running whenever they hear the refrigerator door open, too. And honestly, some of what makes me think Finn isn’t all that bright is how stubborn he can be, so I may actually be wrong about that. Stubborness is often mistaken for stupidity, even in humans! LOL!

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  8. What a good boy! It’s great when you learn that your new dog is good with kids, that’s always a little scary at first. Mistakes become a lot more forgivable after that. Glad to hear Finn is fitting in!

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    • Yes, after Stanley, I was really worried about how he and my grandson would do. But Finn is so patient with him and the only real problem is that he likes him too much…I’d rather Finn didn’t lick him in the face and lick his binkies. But I just keep wiping his face and washing those binkies, and counting myself lucky that is the only problem I’m having with them!

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  9. I read this in the middle of the night and meant to comment, so sorry I’m late to the party. Your pup sounds like he’s going to be a fantastic dog. My dog Cali was a terrible puppy, but has evolved into the best dog and is even doing a little therapy work now. I often tell her that she’s the definition of GOOD and I really mean it.

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  10. Oh my goodness! This post hit close to home as my daughter, son-in-law, granddaughter, and their puppy stayed with us for a week..last week. The dog did some naughty things, to say the least, but stole our hearts all the same. Small puppies and children do get a lot of wiggle room when it comes to matters of the heart. As you so aptly convey in your post, love trumps all!

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    • Yes, it’s a good thing they are so darned cute, because that makes us forgive a lot! And the good thing is that they do grow up and become better behaved eventually. Finn isn’t a puppy anymore, but he is very young, and probably in his doggie “teenage” years. Honestly, when I have both him and my grandson in the room together, it feels as if I’m taking care of twins!

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  11. So enjoyed reading this post, it made me smile and chuckle quite a few times in recognition and amusement. The fact that Finn is good with your grandson is pretty huge as toddlers and little kids tend to be unpredictable and many dogs could and do react negatively. So that’s a huge plus in his favor, in addition to his cuteness.

    Finding Finn on the kitchen table reminded me of when we took a trip to Paris and came home with some very beautiful, expensive artisanal home made aged cheese that were wrapped in dried leaves. We left it on the counter overnight as this type of French cheese is not supposed to be refrigerated. In the morning no sign of the cheese ~ only dried leaves on the floor and a very guilty looking Aussie (smart as a 7 year old)!!

    Peta

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    • Oh, yes, I think most dogs firmly believe that if food is left where they can get to it (even if that means climbing on a table or counter) then it is absolutely theirs! I have a friend whose dog took a five-pound bag of powdered sugar upstairs into her bedroom and then shook it. She said she had powdered sugar EVERYWHERE in that room and it took her hours to clean it up!
      As for Finn and my grandson, yes his tolerance of him (and affection for him) is a huge gift. Of course I never leave the two of them unattended, but honestly, it is so good to know that Finn is good with little kids!

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  12. Hi Ann, I am sure you have seen the movie “Best in Show”. Finn might not win the trophy, but he sure looks like a wonderful companion. With his cute little derriere; Yes, God loves the terrier.

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  13. Aww, your post made me both smile and laugh at the same time. Finn and Harry would get along sooo well. But I have to admit, like you, it took me awhile to adjust to his somewhat dopey personality after having a very intelligent Blue Heeler for 15 years. However, I imagine much like Finn, Harry is gentle, funny, lovable and great with all people and dogs alike and sometimes that’s all we need. Enjoy getting to know him. 😊

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    • Thanks, Miriam! We are enjoying getting to know him, and with every passing day, I find myself more accepting of his own, unique gifts. I think dogs like Lucy and your Blue Heeler tend to make us set the bar a little too high sometimes. But we love Finn and he loves us…and as you say, that’s all that counts!

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  14. Hey, as long as you’ve got “sit” and “come” and potty-training handled, that’s the really important stuff. And Finn loves your grandson. All the rest is a matter of filling in details.

    I’m so glad your Finn is working out so well. My Finn has figured out how to raise a German Shepherd puppy, so I’m going to call mine a success story, too. 🙂

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  15. Finn sounds like a real sweetheart! And there’s nothing wrong with a solid C – I had those in all my maths classes as well. 😊
    And knowing where the food comes from – your grandson – is a sign for cleverness all in its own. 😉

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    • Yes, I’m thinking that Finn is going to be one of those who are more practical than smart, but that actually will probably serve him well. (And although I did manage to get B’s in my high school math classes, I actually had to take what was commonly referred to as “Baby Math” when I got to college. That was on the recommendation of the Intro to Calculus professor, after I was in his class for only three weeks. He told me I wasn’t ready for his class!)

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  16. If he comes back when called and doesn’t mess inside and most important is gentle with your grandson, that’s all really great. I had rescued greyhounds and they regularly disappeared on me, very stressful. And him sitting on the kitchen table is a cute image, cats do it just not usually dogs!

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    • Oh, that must have been horribly stressful! I had a dog run away once when I was dog-sitting, and I felt so guilty, even though there was nothing I could have done differently. But you’re right, in all the important ways, Finn is just fine!

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      • Once, we took my dog to the heath and let him off the lead. Some other greyhounds arrived and they all went mad, ran around in circles around the pond, and then vanished. We called and looked for ages, then decided to go home and wait by the phone; he had a disc on his collar with my home number on and it was before mobile phones.
        We opened the door to home and there he was! The woman who walked him while I was out all day at college had happened to be passing by the heath on a bus and saw my dog standing in the middle of the road. She yelled, ‘Stop the bus, that’s my friend’s dog!’ She happened to have a spare lead on her, and had her keys to my place on her, and so walked him home!
        It was really a kind of miracle.
        She was very judgemental about my dog being out on the road but at the time we didn’t know what else to do, there was just me and my small son. Anyway it ended well!

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