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Chikis: An Apt Pupil

From de S.P.A

By Harry Burrus

Every day Chikis is the first dog I walk and the last dog to which I say, “See you tomorrow.” When I approach her casita, I’m smiling because I see her looking at me, tail wagging, standing, excited to greet me—we’re in sync. I attach the leash to her collar and she is out the door fast, unless I first say, “sit,” which she does, and then we embark on our adventure.

My brother in-law, a philosophy professor, says he meditates daily to control stress in his life. While there are many different approaches to meditation, one of the simplest and best is to go for a walk. When I walk with Chikis, I enter a calming state characteristic of meditation. I relish the quiet power of harmony our walk produces. During this soothing state, Chikis is absorbing nature, its smells, and is eager to please me and keen to learn. We can be walking along and I let go of the leash and, for a moment or two, Chikis continues until it hits her that we are no longer connected. Then she spins around, runs to my side, and sits. This is a result of her learning the command “by me.” When she is off leash, I call her and say, “by me,” and pat my right side and she zooms to sit next to me. Another skill she has acquired is, without being on the leash, she will walk with me, staying close to my side, heeling. When I tell her to sit or say, “down,” she has added an element of her own, which always amuses me. I call her, “Chikis, sit. Chikis, down.” She gets down and then rolls over on her back, enlisting a body rub. Cracks me up!

While Chikis may learn a few things from me, I learn much more from her. I see her eagerness to please and willingness to learn, demonstrating to me how, if you want to do something and you enthusiastically go after it, you can do it. I follow her example and apply her attitude to things I want to accomplish. I learn from my student. One day I proudly wanted to show another volunteer a few things Chikis had learned. Chikis was off leash, and I said, “by me.” Naturally, this volunteer was impressed by Chikis’ instant obedience, and rightly so. She wanted to try it. “Please, by all means,” I said, confident of my student’s abilities. So, once again Chikis is off leash and this person said, “by me.” Chikis promptly raced to my side and sat.

Although she is my good buddy, I would be happy for her to find a wonderful home. Small/medium sized, about five years old, she has been an SPA resident way too long. Please let me introduce you to her at the SPA, Monday-Saturday, between 11 and 2, Los Pinos 7.


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