My Dad’s back in training again. After many months of inactivity due to his chronic lumbago, degenerative gout and debilitating premature senility, I decided he was still in need of further training. It was evident to me that he’d either forgotten or chosen to totally ignore the advice given him by his two previous trainers. Personally, I think that given his age and his propensity to slobber like a septuagenarian St Bernard he’s simply untrainable, but I suppose you have to admire his willingness to try.
For myself, I feel sorry for the trainers. The first one I took him to decided to quit the dog training business shortly after meeting him. Highly qualified, she’d only recently left university with an Honours Degree in Dog Behaviour and Training. Having dreamt of working with animals since she was knee-high to a Chihuahua, and committed to being a dog trainer from the age of thirteen, she simply couldn’t take the strain any longer. Poor girl, she was only 24. She moved to Patagonia in South America to work as a gaucho on the open plains of the western Pampas in the foothills of the Andes for a less stressful and demanding way of life!
There was a similar if even more tragic outcome with the second trainer. Suffering from severe depression after months and months of repeating the same old exercises without the slightest sign of improvement, the exasperated and exhausted woman had herself committed to a mental hospital in order to avoid his calls. She has vowed to stay there indefinitely on the strict understanding that when his time comes – and it will – Dad should never be committed to the same psychiatric institution!
Every other trainer within a twenty five mile radius has since blocked his calls. Several have taken on security staff just in case he decides to descend on them unannounced. One has even gone so far as to take out an injunction. Another has offered me free dog treats for life if I promise to keep him away. (You can guess what I said to that request!).
Finally, I found Dad a trainer two counties and three hours drive away. She took pity on him and agreed to help him on the condition that he paid for her Mental Health Indemnity Insurance and agreed to give £10 to charity every time he pees on the carpet or uses the word ‘but’!
I have to say, she is holding up exceptionally well under the not inconsiderable strain. Four training sessions and she still has most of her hair. Okay, she’s not sleeping too well and she has aged considerably, but she tells me she is seeing signs of improvement in that he’s finally worked out which end of the lead to hold even if he still doesn’t get it right every time. Still, as she and I agree – baby steps!
So welcome to the team, Julie Corbin, I wish you luck. Boy are you going to need it!