2017-03-16 / Top News

Good girl! Jessie seems to sense that the family needs less stress

ROOTED IN NAPLES

Anybody else feel the pressure? Spring has sprung and with the early arrival of blooms in the planter comes the crush of everything happening at once and needing attention now that only residents of a seasonal destination can feel. The holidays have nothing on the volume of things on our to-do lists during tourist season (or, thanks to lines of cars and people everywhere, on the time it takes to accomplish even the most mundane of those things). December at least holds the promise of enforced time off to bathe in Christmas sparkle, whereas right now I just want to lie down and take a long winter’s nap until Easter is over.

Along with the fact that traffic should start to lighten soon, there’s another bright spot at our house these days: Our dumb dog Jessie has slowed her roll. Whereas two weeks ago she still required frequent visits to daycare to expel extra energy, now she seems to be happy napping at my side for most of the day while I work.


Good Jessie chews contentedly on something of her own while waiting to properly expel her energy on a walk. 
LINDSEY NESMITH / FLORIDA WEEKLY Good Jessie chews contentedly on something of her own while waiting to properly expel her energy on a walk. LINDSEY NESMITH / FLORIDA WEEKLY This turn of events is weird and sudden, but much appreciated. Jessie has stopped destroying valuables and now sticks to the worthless knick-knacks the kids bring in the house. She can have them. The fruitless barking out the windows has stopped, and she seems content with her morning and evening walks.

Is she growing up or becoming resigned to her fate? Through the mania of her first year, people told us she would calm down after her birthday, and miraculously, she has. It kind of worries me.

The truth is that the last few weeks we’ve been unable to take her to daycare because we can’t find the time in our afternoon schedules to pick her up. Her daily rollerblade runs with James — his trusty method of exhausting her at the end of the day — are on hiatus because he hasn’t found the time yet to replace the wheels she wore out. Even so, visitors can now enter our house in safety without a manic, 40-pound, liver-and-white furred missile launching itself at their waist in greeting.

Is Jessie actually becoming a good girl?

She shows no signs of depression. She still greets us enthusiastically as we wake, with unsuppressed tail wagging and a genuine doggy smile, as if she can’t believe that she woke up and still belongs to us (a questionable fate until recently). As I sit at my desk, I still periodically feel two brown, almost bovine eyes boring into my skull until I give her a thorough neck scratch. The difference is in the details. For example, no one has to bribe or chase her into her crate anymore. In fact, she napped inside it the other day and I forgot to lock it when I left. To my surprise, she was exactly where I left her two hours later, and not a single destroyed or even disturbed item was to be found in the house. For her morning greeting, a full-body snuggle suffices rather than an unauthorized wrestling match as we rise from the sheets.

If she’s not depressed, growth and maturity become Jessie — and none too soon.

As I write this, she’s at my side basking in the sun at 8 a.m. Two weeks ago, she would have been terrorizing the cats, counter-surfing for breakfast remains, patrolling the kids’ rooms for a beloved items to destroy and barking out the window at the neighbor dogs that rise later than 5 a.m. Today, however, if all goes to plan she will occasionally lift her paws to my knees and wag her tail to alert me to the necessity of a potty break. I could not be more grateful for her recent transformation, and as long as she continues to show signs she’s content, I shall remain so as well. ¦

— It took a year, but Lindsey Nesmith might be turning into a dog person.

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