I remember how, when my daughter was younger, I'd worry about how she'd stack up with other kids in this, that, or the other endeavor. I don't know if I was being inappropriately competitive, investing too much of my ego in whatever she was doing, or just being a garden-variety worrywart mom. In any case, though, I thought those days were long behind me, now that Julie has become an adult in whom her dad and I take inordinate pride.
I was wrong.
This time, though, my maternal worry wasn't about Julie; it was about Allie. Let me explain.
Julie, Stan and I are planning to go on a short vacation later this summer, so yesterday I made reservations to board Allie at her usual home-away-from-home. The place is great, because Allie gets to participate in doggie day care during the day, and eat food brought from home. Most important of all, though, is that someone is on the premises 24/7--which is not the case with many boarding facilities for pets.
The problem was that because Allie hadn't been there for nearly two years (we've been staying pretty close to home lately), she needed to have a new behavioral evaluation to make sure she still behaved appropriately with the other dogs. This prospect worried me, because while Allie loved frolicking with doggie buddies when she was younger, she's become much less interested in canine companionship as she's aged. And in fact, if she decides that another dog has breached doggie etiquette, she lets the other dog know that's the case in no uncertain terms.
So, I approached Allie's impending evaluation with a certain amount of trepidation. I even talked to her about it. Please, I implored her, be patient with the other puppies. Cut them a little slack; after all, older dogs did the same for you when you were a gangly pup.
We got to the boarding facility, and the young woman in charge welcomed Allie enthusiastically. She told me the procedure wouldn't take long, because Allie was already in their records. At her suggestion, I unclipped Allie's leash, and the girl brought out another Golden Retriever: a bouncy 10-month-old named Lucy.
I held my breath.
Lucy dashed madly around Allie, trying to encourage her to play--and, hallelujah, Allie deigned to play with the youngster. "Oh wow," said the young woman. "She's so much more tolerant than other dogs her age are. She's absolutely awesome."
I was so proud.