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Training puppies

I thought that Freddie and Nicky, my two little dachshund babies, were sleeping through the night until I realized that they had merely learned to sneak off the bed and sneak back up again after making their deposits in the nether regions of the living room.They had already learned that going OUTside was good but were unclear on the concept that pooping inside was not. And they had definitely learned that if they woke me up I was for sure going to carry them out in the cold, making unpleasant noises and blocking their way back in. Subterfuge suited their purposes.Friends had suggested special training pads, and when I inquired at Rocky Mountain Pet Shop the proprietor said, “Oh, you mean WEE WEE pads,” and brought out a packet of seven for $7.79. Blue plastic on the bottom, white cottony material on the face, they looked like the pads we put on my mother’s bed in her declining years.I once had a destructive spaniel mix named Mingus, who distinguished himself by ripping through a down-filled sofa, completely filling our 8 by 33 house trailer with feathers, which burst out like a cumulus cloud when we opened the door.Hold that image when picturing what Nicky and Freddie managed to do to their first and last Wee Wee pad.Subterfuge on my part was in order. Since I get up myself in the night for similar reasons, I’m now forcing myself not to go back to bed but to wake the puppies up and put them outside – ready or not. They are too sleepy to protest, and in the morning they’re as warm in the bed as two baked sweet potatoes fresh from the oven, and there are no surprises in the living room.These twins are so different that, although I am vehemently pro-choice, they reinforce my theory that abortion is murder, that the whoness of babies and puppies precedes birth in ways that no amount of nurture will change. Nicky is bigger, more timid except in play and carries a perpetually worried expression, his brow wrinkled, perhaps paying attention to the news on NPR.Freddie is fearless and adventurous, half dachshund and half rhesus monkey, who one day when I took out the trash panicked and climbed my back gate like a ladder, seeking egress 3 feet off the ground since I’d sealed off the lower levels with wire mesh.A born ringleader and escape artist, Freddie’s life mission is to burrow under the side fence and get into the neighboring yard where, admittedly, the grass is greener, and from which they can easily get out onto Highway 82.After a couple of heart-stopping episodes when I was suddenly aware of the sound of silence and flew, oxygen off, out the back and front doors calling to them in vain and finally (“thank God,” and “I’m going to kill you!” battling in my mind) seeing their little black blobs on the green grass next door, new subterfuge was in order until the fence-fixers arrived.I set up a water trap by putting the hose on that side of the house and running the sprinkler full blast. Seeing that it was pouring rain in their escape area and being averse to getting drenched, the babies (little bee-bees) stayed in the backyard, looking for new diversions such as breaking into the storage shed through a tear in the screen door.Su Lum is a longtime local who is barely keeping up. Her column appears every Wednesday in The Aspen Times.


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