My people were originally educators who became librarians. Learning and books are important to them. Being a kennel dog, I wasn’t exposed to books or higher education. My people have tried to educate me. I have taken a class in basic dog manners (I did so-so) and some vocational training in scent work. One of my people told me school is really about learning how to learn. I like learning. I’ve learned so much, sometimes just by watching my people.
My people, for example, like to read their books before going to bed. They said it helps them relax. I guess people get stressed out just like dogs. I know if it rains a lot (I don’t like rain) and I can’t go for long walks, I start to get all nervous and stressed. I become restless and can’t seem to relax. I’ve noticed people can get like that too if it rains a lot. During a recent rainy stretch, I carefully observed my people to see how they would cope. I found that they read more when it rains! Reading helped them to be less nervous and restless. So when they had to go to work and I got really nervous being all alone, I remembered about reading.
I thought it was a brilliant idea – I’d read! We have loads of books – I just had to find the right relaxing book. I paced from one book case to another. I browsed our book shelves. I didn’t know which book to pick. I started to get nervous that I would never find the relaxing book. The more nervous I got the more stressed I became. I had to choose something fast! That’s when I had my second brilliant idea. I knew my people were reading relaxing books – I would simply borrow one of theirs!
Not being a reader, I didn’t realize that books are heavy. I had already decided that I was going to read in the living room, which meant that I had to carry the book from the bedroom night table to my sofa. It was a struggle! Apparently the more pages a book has the harder it is to carry – but I was pumped – I was going to read and relax! I managed to drag the book into the living room, but I just couldn’t manage to get the book up on to my sofa. I wasn’t about to be deterred – so I grabbed some pillows and decided I’d just read on the floor.
That’s when I encountered my second problem – I didn’t know how to open the book to get at the words. I tried to rest my paw on it thinking it had a secret latch or something, but it wouldn’t open. I started to get even more nervous – what if I could never get to the words? What if I would never be able to relax? I started to panic! I sat and tried to think about how my people opened their books. I knew they used their paws but how? Then I remembered – they grabbed their books by the corners and pulled the cover back! I took my paw and tried to do the same thing – but the book just slide across the floor. I tried and tried to open it like my people did – but I just couldn’t do it. That’s when I remembered I wasn’t a person – I had to do this the canine way!
Empowered, I put one paw on the cover and gently grabbed the cover with my teeth. The next thing I knew, however, I had the corner of the book in my mouth – I swear I was gentle – but apparently I was more stressed out than I thought! OMG! I had just chewed off the corner of a book! My people were going to kill me! What gave me the idea that reading was a good idea? Reading is stressful! I had to think…I was exhausted…I couldn’t think…I needed to just sit on the sofa and close my eyes, after that I’d know what to do.
The next thing I knew my person was standing in the living room looking down at me. OMG! I had fallen asleep. People aren’t very observant, maybe my person wouldn’t notice the book. Just to be sure, I jumped off the sofa, ran to my person and gave them a wet canine kiss (that always works to distract them!). It didn’t work – my person was holding the book looking at the missing corner. My person said nothing – that’s not a good sign. Breaking my people’s book was probably the worst thing I’d ever done. I went into the bedroom to pack my toys -I was going back to the shelter. My people would never forgive me.
But they did! My people are so understanding. They knew I hadn’t meant to hurt the book. I think they were probably happy that I even attempted to read. All parents should be like my people – they should encourage their children (or canines) to read and not get upset with them if they have a hard time when they first try to read by themselves. This experience has taught me that reading is hard work for a canine – next time I’ll take my nap first.