Oliver The Great
Our golden retriever, Oliver, is turning three next week, and I’ve been thinking that the dog has matured beautifully. It’s not just his body, which is no longer gangly but sleek and muscular. It’s his behavior.
Oliver is much calmer these days, only demanding to play at 4 a.m. twice a week, tops. And he’s more sophisticated in his choice of playthings, forgoing the duck-on-a-rope in favor of a taupe Dolce and Gabbana sandal.
Oliver’s choosing more adult activities: he’s taken up tennis. He prefers to do this when we’re not home, but I see the evidence: tennis equipment is lovingly arranged in the yard. (The saliva wipes right off Tom’s racket.) And he’s become more helpful around the house. When I returned from the market yesterday, that exuberant body block really accelerated the process of emptying my grocery bags.
He’s also more social than he was a year ago. For instance, he initiates lively conversations with the mailman. He used to be rather shy; it’s lovely to see this new interest in interaction. Sadly, the mailman always seems to be in a hurry, rushing off before Oliver can complete a sentence. But the dog is resilient: he goes merrily off to talk animatedly with the neighbors’ pit bull, through their barbed wire.
In his new, less self-centered maturity, Oliver has shown an increased interest in other animals. When I take him for an on-leash stroll, the sight of a squirrel thrills him. (FYI: ice works really well on a dislocated shoulder.) Also, he very kindly helps gophers establish residence in our back yard with a little communal digging.
I will admit that Oliver needs a little polishing in the manners department. For instance, last night, he should have asked politely before he ate Tom’s pesto turkey burger. But hey, details. It’s taken some tough love, but Oliver has become one heck of a pooch.
Click here for a recipe for Oliver’s, I mean Tom’s pesto turkey burger.