On January 7, 2014, we brought you the Pilot Episode of “Growing Up Gomez”, a series in which Laura documented the journey she and her partner, Jamie, took to tame a beast of a dog they had nicknamed The Barbarian. Over 8 episodes, Laura has chronicled the ups and downs of bringing a new dog into the family and hopefully, has helped others see themselves in that journey. From the low points to the high points, from the “can this be done?” moments, to the “a-ha!” moments, watching this family evolve and the barbarian become a proper dog has been at times hilarious and at times very eye-opening. There is so much we take for granted when adopting a new dog and we are so grateful to Laura for opening up and sharing their story, because I think it’s one in which many of us share, but, not many of us talk about. (And, I am sure there’s another blog post in that statement alone.) Gomez has completed his training and we’ll be wrapping up the series, so here’s a synopsis of their journey before we round things out with what I am sure will be a hilarious tear-jerker that provides us with even more insight into how Laura, Jamie, Asha and Gomez came to live as a family in harmony. (No pressure, Laura.)
Laura makes initial contact with Your Pit Bull and You asking about possible “from rags to riches” training success stories. Despite her increasing anxiety and tentative grasp on reality, Laura manages to come across as mentally stable and with it enough that YPBY’s fearless leader Lori Nanan asks her if she might want to write a column for the site. A series is born.
Laura recounts the time Gomez managed to find a giant, dead rat. A rat he has zero interest in relinquishing despite the desperate pleas from his moms who were frantically trying to get it away from him. Laura comes up with a possible solution for which she has no plan B. Will it work?
Laura explains how Gomez ended up becoming a part of the family in the first place. Also discussed therein: second dog struggles, Section IV, Article III of the Gay Agenda and whether or not socking your dog upside the head with a bag of his own waste is a component of force-free training (spoiler alert: it isn’t).
Laura recalls how she found her way to force free training and Gomez starts going to school. Also discussed are the different learning styles of Asha and Gomez and how much the two of them are like Lisa and Bart Simpson.
Laura reveals her crush on Patricia McConnell and we look at Gomez’s training progress. Also discussed is the fact that no adoption process is truly complete without at least one crisis of confidence, a half dozen freak outs and an existential crisis. This post also includes some action footage of Asha and Gomez ruining the paint job on our baseboards with their Buster Cube slamming.
Gomez decides to show just how far we have to go on impulse control issues by initiating a not-so-fun-for-humans game. We also meet Virginia, the old lady next door who absolutely thinks her lesbian neighbors are as crazy as their pit bulls are dangerous. She’s only right about the first part, of course.
Introducing Asha! This episode focuses on how we ended up with Gomez’s sister and how this small, gross dog stole our hearts. This post also reveals how Jamie became a dog person and how it’s really all her fault in the first place that Asha came to live with us.
Extinction bursting all over the place! We discuss how the “unlearning” of previously learned behaviors can make training a heck of a lot more challenging. We also explore why playing games with human-decided rules is the way to go when your dog is terrible at coming up with good play ideas on his or her own.
Bonus, behind-the scene director’s commentary: Though it’s blurry, you can totally see a bra strap and a pair of underwear on the bed behind Asha’s head. Laura’s thrilled that she didn’t notice this until the picture was on the internet for all to see. But we’re all friends here, right?
We’re introduced to Laura’s previous dog, a rescue greyhound named Emma. Also discussed is the adjustment of going from a dog that came with actual paperwork to one who’s past is a complete mystery. Laura admits that she spent a lot of time coming up with all manner of scenarios about Gomez and Asha’s pasts, and talks about why she doesn’t really do it anymore.
Gomez shows his softer side and Laura contemplates hiring a crime scene clean up company to take care of the back yard when this horrid Michigan winter finally thaws.
Hopefully, you will be properly enticed to read these posts in their entirety, if you haven’t already. Because, if you haven’t, you are totally missing out. What we have found through the course of the series is that people seem to be going back and reading the posts that came before, and this makes us extremely happy. The goal of this series was to help people see themselves and their dogs, to relate to the struggles and the joys and to have a laugh or two along the way.
Gomez is one lucky boy and we consider ourselves to be very lucky to have had the honor to share this part of his journey. Laura promised to pop back in from time to time to share more of their story and we look forward to continuing to see this family grow!
And, stay tuned for the Final Episode next week!