Friday, September 7, 2012

Piper Bayard Shares: Success Tips From A Drama Dog

Piper would like you to meet Parker.
Morning Readers,

Today I have the pleasure of presenting a post by one of the best blogger friends anyone could have. She's witty, talented and can leap tall buildings in a single bound. She asked me not to mention that last part because then everyone would know she's a super hero, but I was all like,"Piper, they've gotta know sometime...also, it'll explain the tights and cape if they run into you."

I don't know where I'd be in the blogosphere without her. All I know is she's not allowed to stop being my friend...ever. *more nervous laughter...walks away with collar pulled up and sunglasses pulled down*

Take it away, Piper! ....

We got Parker from the Humane Society a couple months back when I had a feeling there was a dog waiting that would be a perfect fit for our family. Parker had been taken back twice because he doesn’t play well with others. He almost completely ignored us during our initial visit, and he was about twenty pounds overweight. Perfect, right? Yes. We saw it that way, too.

Once we got him home, we also discovered he was terrified of everything from the vacuum sweeper to the guinea pig to the staircase. But after three days and two pounds of ham to coax him up the stairs, he relaxed into a self-contained, happy pup that blended well with the family. And the best part? He didn’t seem to shed much at all.

Then came the bait and switch. We got back from our Vancouver Island vacation to find Parker had started to shed while we were away. In fact, it seemed to be his new mission in life.

In a heartbeat I had dog brush in hand and was calling our little fluff factory to the back door. But he would have none of it. Every time I stroked him gently with the dog brush, he yelped and snapped. I couldn’t even pluck away the loose tufts of hair without him acting like I was ripping off appendages.

So I had a bit of a dilemma on my hands. Traumatize the dog, or allow him to coat us and all of our belongings in his tresses?

My daughter, DD, and I decided to take Parker for a walk and contemplate the situation. While I glared at the dog and DD laughed about the matter, she started flipping the rope leash up and down along his hind end, coaxing off chunks of fuzz and leaving his tuchus looking like a topographical map of the Rocky Mountains. Parker was so distracted by all of the sights and smells around him that he didn’t notice.

That made me bold. Every time he stopped to sniff some marvelous delight, I ran forward and started grabbing out handfuls of hair. By the time we finished the walk, it looked like we’d shaved a bear on the path, and Parker didn’t notice or object once. Clearly, when it came to helping him shed, Parker was a drama queen. 

The next day, I took the brush with me on our walk and encouraged Parker to sniff every rock, plant, or animal trace we crossed as I left a trail of dog hair tumbleweeds to mystify joggers through the day.

I decided to push it and took him out on the porch at home and continued my work. Without a walk to distract him, he began yelping and snapping again, but this time, I knew I wasn’t hurting him so I gave him a firm ‘no’ and ignored his fussing. He soon settled down.

Now, Parker still hates brushing, but he tolerates it, and I don’t have to feel like a tribble every time I lie down on the couch. And the best part? After I took charge and told him to knock off the drama, he trusts me more than ever, and the new problem is not tripping as he  walks on my heels all day. 

Success lessons? Some fears are nothing but bad habits, and discipline will save the day when indulgence fails.

What does your pet teach you about success?

All the best to all of you for knowing when to take charge.

Piper Bayard–The Pale Writer of the Apocalypse

Until Next Time, Readers!


  1. Congratulations on Doc Holiday's arrival, Paige!

    It's an honor to be here on your blog today. Many prayers for your speedy recovery and that people around you will let you sleep. :)

  2. And now that you've told the world what I wear to feel inspired when I write, I may get you back by having you babysit my teenagers. I'm sure people will realize when they read this that I'm not a super hero at all. I'm just another writer trying to make enough of a splash to be considered "eccentric" rather than just "odd." :)

  3. Piper--I think you have to be old--or very rich--to be eccentric!

  4. This just solidifies my decision to ignore my kid's pleas about getting a dog ;)

  5. Excellent! i have shedders, also. Two of them. And they don't mind a brushing, but I hate that once I start it never ends. Our Clyde never stops giving up hair to the brush. Hours could go by and I'd still be brushing, waiting for the tide to ebb.

  6. ROFL. Pets definitely have a lot to teach us. I love "some fears are nothing but bad habits." I never thought about it that way but you're right. I'm going to print that on a post it and stick above my computer. Or right on my computer. Wherever I can look at all the time.

  7. @fishducky - I agree. That's why I'm working on both of those. :)

    @Colleen - LOL. Parker's worth it. He's the best doorbell I could ever have, and that means a lot to me.

    @Nicole - It's amazing, isn't it? They're like that magic bean bag from the fairy tale that never runs out of beans, only with hair. It spontaneously generates, and I suspect that hair production is stimulated by brushing.

    @Tony - LOL. They have defenses against that. Like their ability to grow twice as fluffy over night.

    @Sonia - Cool. I have to remind myself of the same thing on a regular basis. Especially when I'm out hiking and see a snake. Just a bad habit.

  8. Hilarious! Neither of my dogs shed, but they do leave hair and we have to shave them periodically. Our rescue dog is hilarious, because we are still discovering her habits (good and bad) over a year after adopting her. It was so different raising the other one from puppyhood. Thanks for the fun post.

    1. It really is different raising one from a puppy. We're still learning who Parker is. Our Daisy, God rest her soul, was 8 weeks when we got her so we didn't miss a minute. The hair is a pain, but they're worth it.

    2. I'm glad Parker found you :) You sound like a great owner!

  9. Wow, Piper, you can leap buildings AND figured out how groom the dog (truly a ginormous undertaking, I know). Impressive and can totally see why Paige is so thankful to have you as a friend :)