Project OOK arrived as a package an year ago – what is it, what is it? Asked everyone. Let us see Oh my gosh! To our surprise when we opened the door there was a little brown puppy gazing up from a hamper box, tucked inside were toys, a blanket, a food bowl and his record book – in short everything owned by the little Ginger-Nut.
Thus started project O-O-K. The task of raising Kodi with only a little help coming from my boys was not an easy one. You think making a Toastmasters Ice Breaker speech is challenging? Well try potty training a 6 week old puppy. You think completing the CL manual is a painfully long affair – Okay then take this leash and trying training project OOK. To walk Kodi down the street is like taking a vacuum cleaner. His breed been Cocker Spaniel makes him a fantastic sniffer dog – he recognizes everything by his long snout. Having droopy ears with lots of brown curls makes him able to sweep the road as he goes about smelling every nook, under the bush and over it.
You think its been so long since I made a speech and so what’s happening to your ACS- you seem to ask. We all get stuck in work, in traffic, in arguments isn’t it true? We even lose track of our goals when tasks not meant to be done by you, gets loaded on your back only because you are able and willing– soon these tasks are consuming all of your time and the goals you set in January are now setting on the far horizon – distanced by other commitments.
Soon Kodi consumed all of my time everything else became secondary.
Project OOK was assigned to Toastmaster Ruveen when he completed his ALs and wanted something to do with his time. But being a boy enjoying the last shreds of his teens he soon forgot his assignment and the task fell on to me.
As the club President knows very well I take on these tasks – like if a Frisbee was thrown in any direction, I would be the one catching it without a second thought. It’s a natural tendency. Unexplained! And everybody just loves it.
By December end project OOK became my pet project and I started smothering yet another dog. Another dog? I hear you ask. Yes I have raised two dogs before and honestly both had tragic deaths – my darling Taffiana (a long sausage dog) I imagine to be a princess died of a cancer at the age of 9 years and feisty golden retriever, Snowy died in a car accident at the age of 1. Not only is my pets risk prone the entire process of raising a dog is edged with risks. This (broken foot) is ample proof. Ah I see my son laughing because their up-bringing was not too different, either.
As a young mother I literally juggled – raising kids, a career and housekeeping – Ruveen has a mark on his brow and Chevin has one on his temple. Neither happened on the same day – or for the same reasons. But in general it was because they were allowed to venture on their own without supervision.
As with my sons I wanted my dog also to feel loved and valued rather than be a trophy of a well groomed and behaved individual. I didn’t want to lead them by command and control; instead I wanted their behavior to come naturally as possible.
Errors are plenty during the learning curve -Kodi’s still been potty trained with gentle NOs, and sometimes an exasperated OH NO You Didn’t Do IT! In the evenings I say OOK lets go for a walk and he takes surveillance to the next level. On and off Kodi gets admonished when he steals ornaments, soft toys and underwear!
But let me tell you what really works well for the dogs – a good evaluation and positive feedback. Dogs need to be told they are appreciated and their mistakes need to be pointed out gently. NO and STOP are good words to bring order. But hey boy come here let me give you a good belly rub, and how are you doing today are better motivators than harsh words or threatening moods.
Like one veteran toastmaster said at the Division Conference last Sunday – you need to RESPOND to the communication.
Needless to say while both my boys are busy with their lives, my parents are getting old and siblings are occupied – there were times I could not find a friend to help me. I would scroll down my contact list on the phone that seemed alive and buzzing with calls just days ago– after my injury the calls dwindled and it was a trial to find a friend – who had time to lend a hand.
I turned to project OOK now 10 times its original size, feisty and fury, with a bark that could be heard a mile away. Yet on that day lying beside me quietly, as if he too had taken my sedatives -willing to share my agony was Kodi. The dog did not move from my sick bed – sighing with drooping ears, prodding a wet nose into my hands begging to be petted – Kodi kept company through long nights and lonely days.
Undoubtedly a dog is man’s best friend. That package which arrived on an October morning our Ginger-Nut boy otherwise known as Kodi was initially named Bullet. He is all of that his names imply and more. He has taught me love, patience and tolerance.
Yes boy come here now – you deserve a rub-a dub and roll out – a very good doggie you are!