Nina is an 8 month-old German Shepherd Dog puppy in the midst of learning her socialization and obedience skills. She sits with us on the front porch at different times of day and night and in all kinds of weather. She takes in everything like a sponge.
Her nose quivers as the breeze carries the neighborhood smells to her. Her ears stand erect and alert. A car or a bicycle goes by and her eyes follow it across her field of vision. She sits obediently on the top step, staring intently as she watches a nanny buckle a child into their car seat. The boys across the street are skateboarding and she watches their maneuvers closely. Many dogs with their people walk by and Nina practices restraint, resisting the urge to go investigate. She’s using all her senses to experience the world in front of her, and that information adds to her confidence as she grows into a good canine citizen.
These porch sitting sessions give me a chance to be observant too. My senses aren’t as acute as hers, of course, and smells and noises from faraway are lost to me. Nonetheless, I’ve enjoyed hours of watching nature, observing a pair of turtledoves build their nest in the sycamore tree in the front yard through successfully hatching their young. More than once, we’ve seen deer walk down the street in the early morning hours. There are skunks, opossums, and raccoons…a reminder that wildlife also shares this urban neighborhood with us.
Nina never seems to tire of watching the coming and goings in the neighborhood and alerts attentively whenever we approach the front door. What will she see and learn about next?