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Brooklyn Rebellion Dogs: Longing for a Puppy


a blogumn by Shante Paradigm

I’ve always loved dogs. Even after being bitten and chased by a few growing up. I love their energy, their enthusiasm, their athleticism, the sheer power they have to constantly amaze me. I’m also a cat lover and would have one, if I had more space so the cat could hide from my dog, Mr. Tilo.

I saw an adorable puppy on the Q train the other day. His owner had just adopted him and had him in a cloth green earth bag (generous and earth-friendly). The owner was a young brown man of African-Latin descent, boyishly handsome and quietly enduring me and a number of other women cooing over his sweet pup. The puppy was a Rottweiler mix, who whimpered, whined, peeked his head out of the bag, and played grrr-tug with the bag’s handles. My heart simply melted.

tilosnowI , of course, thought of my own beautiful baby boy at home and how I missed seeing him grow up. I know I missed out on a lot more late nights, potty training and so forth, but I also missed out on being able to give him a stable diet of love, affection, discipline and care. Instead, Tilo, from what I can cobble together from his records, the opinion of the vet and my trainer, was abandoned and abused (and possible used as a fighting dog) as a youngster. However, he is somehow still a genuine love-muffin. He definitely has serious triggers that I am addressing with the help of professionals, but he also has a strong sense of boundaries that I continue to enforce with consistent correction.

I also had to come to a place where I felt comfortable with the method of training and correction I use. I am not one for “alpha roles,” but even if i were, Tilo has aggressive tendencies and that could escalate if he feels in danger. I am learning that unlike my homeboy Foucault, discipline and punishment, do not go hand in hand.

We’ve been getting a tremendous amount of snow by NYC standards. Tilo is in dog heaven.

I am totally proud when I see how exuberantly he plays with the other dogs on the dog park, or when he skips along the street in the snow. I feel less and less sad about missing his puppyhood, because I love him in his adolescence, even on days when I turn my eyes up to the sky in supplication for strength. He’s my guy!!! His brilliance, generosity and eagerness to please, as well as his really sharp intelligence, help to mollify my concern about his socialization challenges.

He’s gone from barking at and jumping on visitors, to being the kissing bandit. The same in the park: he waits for his opportunity–a dropped glove or hat–and there he is, sticking his tongue in someones face. I’ve worked hard, but he’s also worked really hard to adjust to my world of schedules and crates and commands and rules and a bed that isn’t my soft fluffy one. I look at him and think, could I be this well-adjusted if I had been left tied on 33rd street in Queens? We’ve only been together just under 5 months and he completely trusts me and loves me. I am still asking friends of decades if they love me. LOL.

Right now, he’s calmly chewing on his bone. He likes to hold his toys between his two paws (it’s a pretty hilarious sight), and when I turn and look at him, his liquid brown eyes are open, soft and just this side of mischievous. He is totally my boy.


Photo Credit: Shante Paradigm