Back to School Redux

My kids went back to school this week. The second year I’ve had to juggle one in each of the three schools — oldest a junior in h.s., middle a middle school 8th grader, and the youngest is now top dog in elementary as a proud 5th grader.

It’s my 12th and last fall at the elementary school and I feel almost wistful as I see the little kindergartners heading towards the lovely brick building with shiny new shoes, fresh haircuts, fancy backpacks and proud parents with digital cameras posing the kids in front of the developing upgraded playground.

I had the pleasure yesterday of taking a lovely country drive to meet up with Bree Arnett and a gaggle of doodles at her country home. The pups of various doodle heritage and ages I met had a rip roaring great time and seem to love visitors, a testament to their temperament and social nature. They all also seemed particularly fond of their human “mom”, Bree. Each pup has obviously developed a connection from her careful nurture despite the multiple other tasks including running a hectic household and parenting her own three kids (I know from that score!) as well keeping up with the daunting task of carefully screening the developing progeny to ensure ongoing health and temperament of the different doodles she’s producing. As the pups mature and they are adopted out to loving homes, a little piece of Bree’s heart tugs as the pups she’s connected to head out for new adventures, much like the kids entering the brick building to embark on the beginning of a more formal public education.

Like these kids, the pups need to be socialized, exposed to the environmental sights, sounds, surfaces and scents of their future homes and communities, so they can stroll off with others in their future who might have to care for them — vets, groomers, house sitters, dog walkers, boarding facilities, doggy day care, friends homes and yards. In the case of service and therapy dogs, especially those who will be performing function in public, that early socialization is so critical to their future success.

So if you’re starting the fall with the pitter patter of paws skittering across your floors, be sure to get out and about and if you can, sign up for puppy classes that use positive methods and make sure there is time each class for puppy play!