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Brooklyn Rebellion Dogs: Does Tilopa Know What Year It Is?


A blogumn by Shante Paradigm
Tilo - Day One

Tilo - Day One

2008 has been quite an enjoyable ride. At the end of 2007, I was so relieved to go to the New Year, I didn’t really contemplate much except I wanted to be fully-engaged in 2008. Well. One way to do that is to adopt/rescue a puppy. Oh Tilopa!

He really is the joy of my life, and like any other child, also a great source of pain. Tilo’s one of those dogs who is totally filled with life and personality. He, like his mom, is totally strong-willed and terribly sensitive. Sometimes this combination makes him volatile, although not violent. I have a dog who barks and then realizes, “no wait, I like you!” He’s learning, just like me.

I have the good books that talk to me about what I do and how I can help him even more, he has an incredible trainer (who trains both of us), and a great deal of love, affection and discipline form me. When I look at how far this dog has come in the almost-five months we’ve been a team, I do tear up and my heart wells. Tilo (pronounced TEE-LOW, full name, TEE-LOW-PAH), has aided me in finding creative and patient solutions to chewing, incessant barking, lunging (at dogs, joggers, bikers, and the dreaded skateboarders), his fixation and fear of brown men, and his love of waiting until I am asleep to get into my bed.

T isn’t perfect, but he sleeps in his bed inside of his crate with the door open!!! He’s there right how. Or, he’ll lay on his blankets which are near my desk (and the heater). Although I still harbor some sadness for the murderous destruction of my cute, defenseless Ugg flip-flops, my little guy rarely chews anything anymore. For all that he destroyed in the first few months (two of his beds, a set of my sheets, a yoga mat, three pairs of shoes, a hoodie, a shirt, etc), he’s given me access to a full heart that loves unconditionally.

Tilo - This December

Tilo - This December

Learning to lovingly and firmly modify or eradicate certain troubling behavior has meant no quick fixes, manipulative or abusive ways of relating to him. It’s meant countless time outs, realizing he isn’t ready for a cage kennel, or to stay at another person’s home (sorry Nikki!), or that he does NOT like Huskies (for now), or that he CAN learn to be friendly to strange men under the right circumstances. I’ve had to let go of my own ego, embarrassment, bravado and will around this dog. All I can do is create the most favorable conditions in and out of the house and pay attention.

So, we like to go to Fort Greene Park a lot for him to run around and play with his dog friends. We’ve been staying away from the Park as he’s about to go to pet camp whilst I’m on vacation in sunny SoFla and they require minimum contact with dogs the week before admittance. He’ll get his own room ( a converted horse stall), to play with dogs on a 500-acre spot of land. I doubt he will want to come home. Anywho, we’ve been doing lots of leash-walks which are sometimes quite trying for me, as Tilo likes to bark at dogs (even his friends) before he realizes it/he/they are okay. But today, when we met up with Crush, a neighborhood Pit Bull puppy, he was on his best behavior. When Crush was being all puppy and jumpy and cute, Tilo responded in kind, but also growled a little and let him know that paws to the face aren’t cool. My little guy had been a bit of a bear earlier in the day, barking and jumping at some dog friends, but just 5 or so hours later, it seemed he had integrated some things ( I hope) and like me, learning what works and what doesn’t.

So does he know that it’s 2008? That it’s about to be 2009? I doubt it. However, I know how much the last 5 months with this dog has softened me and helped me heal from the loss of a relationship with my exes’ dog. Tilopa gives me his all everyday. he doesn’t hold a thing back whether for “good” or “bad,” he let’s me know how much me taking the time to search the Internet has forever changed his life.

I love you Tilopa Obama Smalls.