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My pup, the dog school graduate

The Baltimore Sun

Teddy Bean celebrated one of those life moments this weekend: He graduated from dog school.

My pup, the graduate!

I'm not gonna lie, I'm a little emotional about it. This was actually his second go-round at getting a proper education. Not long after I adopted him two years ago, I signed him up for the All-Star Canine class at Maryland SPCA. He did his best -- but for a puppy mill rescue who had only just begun to trust me enough to take treats from my hand, it was too soon. I'm not sure he learned anything -- except maybe that the staff there has extraordinary reserves of patience.

And that was fine with me. He was becoming a happy boy, a playful dog -- a real DOG-dog.... something that anyone who saw him those first weeks after the rescue had serious doubts they would ever see. So what did I care if he sat or heeled or whistled dixie? I had one of the sweetiest, gentlest dogs I'd ever known. Who needed "down" on command?

And then I started thinking about it. Because it was two years after the rescue -- and Teddy in so many ways was an entirely different pup -- maybe he now had it in him. And maybe, maybe, if he could understand a few more things in our language, it would illuminate the world for him in a new way.

So I signed him up for basic obedience at You Silly Dog. This second chance at dog school wouldn't be about making him a better dog. I could hardly imagine a better dog. It was, at the very least, something we could do together on a Sunday morning.

Long story short -- Bean not only could do it... he hit most of it right out of the park. He's a natural at "down." He excels at sit -- dropping his fuzzy butt to the ground every chance he gets. And his stay? You should see that stay. Championship quality.

This weekend his teacher sent him home with a little diploma and some dog treats. I think he might have been a little bit proud. I certainly was.

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