Author: Sharon Mathers–Shared by Jeannine Kerr
From August 2002 issue of NCOTC On Lead
There is a deadly disease stalking your dog, a hideous,
stealthy thing just waiting its chance to steal your
beloved friend. It is not a new disease, or one for which
there are inoculations. The disease is called “Trust”.
You knew before you ever took your puppy home that it
could not be trusted. The breeder who provided you
with this precious animal warned you, drummed it into
your head. Puppies steal off counters, destroy anything
expensive, chase cats, take forever to house train, and
must never be allowed off lead!
When the big day finally arrived, heeding the sage
advice of the breeder, you escorted your puppy to his
new home, properly collared and tagged, the lead held
tightly in your hand.
At home the house was “puppy-proofed”. Everything of
value was stored in the spare bedroom, garbage stowed
on top of the refrigerator, cats separated, and a gate
placed across the living room to keep at least one part of
the house puddle free. All windows and doors had been
properly secured, and sign placed in all strategic points
reminding all to “Close the door!”
Soon it becomes second nature to make sure the door
closes nine tenths of a second after it was opened and
that it is really latched. “Don’t let the dog out” is your
second most verbalized expression. (The first is “No!”)
You worry and fuss constantly, terrified that your darling
will get out and disaster will surely follow. Your friends
comment about who you love most, your family or the
dog. You know that to relax your vigil for a moment
might lose him to you forever.
And so the weeks and months pass, with your puppy
becoming more civilized every day, and the seeds of
trust are planted. It seems that each new day brings
less destruction, less breakage. Almost before you
know it, your gangly, slurpy puppy has turned into an
elegant, dignified friend.
Now that he is a more reliable, sedate companion, you
take him more places. No longer does he chew the
steering wheel when left in the car. And darned if that
cake wasn’t still on the counter this morning. And, oh
yes, wasn’t that the cat he was sleeping with so cozily on
your pillow last night?
At this point you are beginning to become infected, the
disease is spreading its roots deep into your mind.
And then one of your friends suggest obedience classes,
and, after a time you even let him run loose from the car
into the house when you get home. Why not, he always
runs straight to the door, dancing a frenzy of joy and
waits to be let in. And, remember he comes every time
he is called. You know he is the exception that
disproves the rule. (And sometimes late at night you
even let him slip out the front door to go potty and then
right back in.)
Years pass—it is hard to remember why you ever
worried so much when he was a puppy. He would never
think of running out the door left open while you bring in
the packages from the car. It would be beneath his
dignity to jump out the window of the car while you run
into the convenience store. And when you take him for
those wonderful long walks at dawn, it only takes one
whistle to send him racing back to you in a burst of
speed when the walk comes too close to the highway.
(He still gets in the garbage, but nobody is perfect!)
This is the time the disease has waited for so patiently.
Sometimes it only has to wait a year or two, but often it
takes much longer. He spies the neighbor dog across
the street, and suddenly forgets everything he ever knew
about not slipping out doors, jumping out windows or
coming when called due to traffic. Perhaps it was only a
paper fluttering in the breeze, or even just the sheer joy
Stopped in an instant. Stilled forever—Your heart is
broken at the sight of his still, beautiful body. The
disease is trust. The final outcome, hit by a car.
Every morning my dog bounced around off lead
exploring. Every morning for seven years he came back
when he was called. He was perfectly obedient,
perfectly trustworthy. He died fourteen hours after being
hit by a car.
Please do not risk your friend and your heart. Save the
trust for things that do not matter.
Please read this every year on your puppy’s
birthday, lest we forget.
From Samoyed Update Volume 4, Issue 5