by Maria Geraci
I admit it. All my dogs have been doggie school dropouts.
This trend started early on in my pet owning career. My first dog was an Irish Terrier named Chico. Not very Gaelic sounding, but hey, when you grow up in a Cuban American household, your pets have names like Pepe and Paco (yes, that's the name of my parent's current Schnauzer).
Chico was a sweet dog, but totally unmanageable. I think this is because my sister and I (who were 9 and 10 at the time) were in charge of his early training. We begged and begged and begged our mom for a dog who refused until she finally got tired of our begging.
"Okay, but you two are in charge of training him, feeding him, and cleaning up after him."
"Yay!" we squealed.
In our defense, we tried to train the dog. We really did. My mom even enrolled Chico in a 6 week obedience course. But hey, it was summer and there was swim team and sleep overs and day trips to the beach, so Chico's training took a shabby back seat to our summer fun.
End result? We didn't reinforce the stuff Chico was supposed to be learning in the obedience course (stuff like: Sit, Chico, Sit! and Stop, Chico, stop!). At the graduation day ceremony when all the other dogs, were sitting and stopping, Chico was sniffing the orange cones and yep... you guessed it, even baptized one.
This was just the beginning of our family humiliation at Chico's hands. Or rather, paws.
Later in life, Chico even became famous at my high school for his bad dog ways. He was a notorious leg humper, which, trust me, is only funny in the movies. He ran away every chance he got (not sure why, when he practically ruled the roost at our home). We would comb the neighborhood, calling his name loudly, and the neighbors would shake their heads. "That Chico! Has he run away again?"
He would always come back, hours later, his fur matted and his eyes shining brightly.
"What does he do when he runs away?" My mother asked, "roll in the woods?"
But without doubt, his worst bad dog moment came my senior year in high school. When our basketball team won a big district game, I was in charge of making a cake for the team and presenting it to them at a pep rally. It took me all afternoon to make that cake. I iced it carefully, then sat it in the middle of the dining room table so that a certain someone (who had already become famous for tipping over pies) wouldn't stretch his snout to take a lick. Ha! I guess the moral here was if you want something bad enough, you'll find a way to get it, because somehow Chico managed to jump onto that dining room table and devour half the cake before I even knew what was happening. By that time, it was too late to make another cake.
The next day at the pep rally, my humiliated seventeen-year-old self went up to the mike to present the basketball team their "cake." Instead I had to admit, "the dog ate my cake."
It was settled. Chico was now officially a legend.
Maria Geraci writes contemporary romance and women’s fiction with a happy ending. The Portland Book Review called her novel, The Boyfriend of the Month Club, “immensely sexy, immensely satisfying and humorous.” Her fourth novel, A Girl Like You, will be released August, 2012 by Berkley, Penguin USA. For more information, please visit her website at www.mariageraci.com