The World According to Claire

Claire—she is amazing. Alert, spunky, playful and ready to play or sleep at a moment’s notice.

Len wants her to experience new things. He says, “Come on, we’re going to take her for a walk.” He grabs her leash, and off we go. I worry, because we haven’t reread the chapter on loose-leash training, and I want to do it “right.” But I also want Len to be involved with Claire, so I give in, and off we go.

“She follows you like a duckling,” Len says with surprise. “Keep walking ahead of us.” And so I do, and from time to time I call her name, and when she comes racing to me I click and give her a treat.

Len is amazed, but I think he is also sad. “She’s your dog,” he says. What he doesn’t say is, “There is no room for me.” That makes me sad. I feel like when I was in high school and I was voted class president, but my older sister was only voted secretary or something. And my younger sister was also voted class president. At first it was great, we were all excited at the honors, but then it shifted. Somehow being class president was different than being just an officer, so the whole thing just wasn’t talked about. I don’t know if this was from my mother or from my head. All I know is that something good became something bad. Wherever it came from, it is still firmly in place. If I have something special, I feel guilty that the other people I love don’t have it, also. That old tape clicked in on our walk, and I could feel my stomach clench into a knot.

After walking and running on grass, pine needles, gravel, tar and cement, Claire even tried climbing some low steps before we returned home.

Claire was tired but very content. We plopped down on the couch to watch a video on raising a puppy the clicker way. Claire snuggled down between us and fell asleep with Len’s hand on her little body. The video was funny and informative. Watching people train puppies makes you realize how we are all bumbling through it with a bit of a plan and lots of patience. Claire loves the clicker. She gradually learned that the sound means a treat, and whenever she hears it she looks up ready for a tasty tidbit.

As we sat on the couch together, I felt so happy. It was one of the 10 best moments of my life! I love Claire, and I love Len. There is such joy in seeing the world through her eyes. She has such delight in life. I love when we are all together, a small family. I love watching Len hold Claire or laugh at her antics. I hope I can stay out of the way, so that they can really get to know each other!

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