The adorable little boy in this photo with my three dogs Zack, Frank, and Dan is now a grown man serving in the Army Reserves with two children of his own. A was my neighbor's child and a somewhat troubled little boy. He had very few friends growing up and when I moved into the neighborhood he started hanging around with me, first causing trouble then gradually straightening out. A's mother worked a night shift and his father was not that involved with his upbringing. So, this mischievous little boy was my constant companion.
A didn't have a lot of respect for living things--plant or animal. I worked in my yard planting flowers and he thought nothing of pulling them up. I solved this problem by teaching him to plant and take care of the garden. He got so interested that he saved his allowance to buy a small tree for his yard. We went to the nursery and he was so disappointed to see the size of red maple that he was able to buy for $20.00. As I recall he told the nurseryman how disappointed he was!
Even more troubling was his treatment of animals. I observed him with his own dog doing some cruel things so didn't trust him with my three unless I was around. I have always heard that a child's mis-treatment of animals is a sign of psychological problems or, at the very least, lack of education. So we worked on how to care for animals as well. As you can see from the photo above, he came to love the dogs.
As a teenager A became involved with the fringe. He and his friends wore the dark clothes, body piercings, and black rocker makeup. One Saturday evening he came to my door dressed for a Marilyn Manson concert. Except he needed an accessory that only I had--a pinch collar! He wanted to borrow one of the dogs' collars to complete his concert outfit. This was in pre-Dog Whisperer training days, so, unfortunately, he had several options to choose from. Now I would never consider putting a pinch collar on my dog when a simple slip collar and the right energy gets so much better results. Kind of the same with A--sometimes dogs and small boys just need to be re-directed.
I'll bet most of you will have to think hard to come up with a comparable request! Now be sure to check out what is going to be a really Fun Monday and I'll catch up with you when I get home from my travels.