Back to Dog School

by Torry Martin

Dear B. Log,

I’m about to start my first day of etiquette school at Willow Manners and good ol’ Sam is embarking on his first day of dog obedience school.

I tried to train Sam at home first. While he mastered “sit” and “stay,” he still barks constantly and chews the furniture.

I guess my neighbor Miss Willow got tired of Sam “fetching” stuff out of her yard. She even offered to let me attend her school of manners for free if I’d just pay for Sam’s obedience training! Plus, she said she’d have cupcakes and tea.

But a funny thing happened this morning. When Sam and I woke up, we were both having second thoughts. I think Sam was more nervous than I was, though, ‘cause he was hiding under the bed with his favorite teddy bear in his mouth. I crawled beside him and tried to talk him through it.

“C’mon, buddy,” I said, “don’t be such a scaredy-cat.” (I forgot he doesn’t like to be called anything cat-related, so he growled.)

“Oops. Sorry ‘bout the cat thing. Anyway, I know the thought of leaving home and going to school is a little scary, but don’t worry. You’re just as smart as all of the other dogs—in fact, probably even smarter because you were home-schooled first.” Sam’s tail wagged.

“Plus, you like to fetch, so you and the other dogs could start a ball team.” Sam’s expression said he was warming up to the idea.

“Seriously, you’d make a great catcher. No one can field a grounder like you.” He looked at me with big brown eyes, and I continued to reassure him.

“You can even take your teddy bear, so you won’t feel alone. I’ll put him in your backpack and strap it on like when we go hiking. None of the other dogs will even know your teddy bear is in there. Whaddya think?” Sam licked my face, so I knew it was time to seal the deal.

“And ya know what? They hand out Yummy-Tummy Dog Treats for good behavior!”

Sam dashed out from under the bed and started barking at the door, ready to go. I grabbed his backpack and teddy bear, and we were off. I never felt more proud of Sam than today when I dropped him off at school.

Now I’m back home with just an hour before my own manners classes begin. Just between us, I’m a little scared. I mean, what if no one likes me, or I’m not as smart as the other students or—uh, oh!—my flashlight just went out, and it’s kind of dark under my bed.

I better go. I don’t want to be late for my first day of school. I think I’ll take my pocket Bible to remind myself that God goes everywhere with me, and I’m never alone. I’ll let you know how it goes.

P.S. I hope Miss Willow gives out extra cupcakes for good behavior!

This article first appeared in the September 2010 issue of Focus on the Family Clubhouse magazine. Copyright © 2010 by Torry Martin. Used by permission. Illustration © Gary Locke.