Getting a new dog is like getting anything brand-new. You bring it home and for a while — days, weeks, months — it becomes your entire world. Such was the case with Cassie. When we first brought her home her separation anxiety was so bad that she would follow me into the bathroom, refusing to wait on the other side of the door. And of course there were the classes we took and the initial obedience training that meant focused time working together each day.

But time marches on and suddenly I look at Cassie and see not a nervous rescue dog. Not a puppy or a doggy teenager but a grown-up dog who is secure because she knows we love her and she has a forever home. We can leave her loose in the house while we are gone without worries about coming home to find accidents or something chewed up that we wished we had put out of her reach. It’s nice having this new and more mature relationship with her. Oh, we still play the back and forth game to open the doors when she rings the bell but life is a bit calmer because she is less needy.

Or is she? Just because she’s not in our face begging for attention doesn’t mean she isn’t needy. When the handyman was here working I ran Cassie through her tricks and she hesitated at a few of them. I tried to remember the last time I worked on them with her but couldn’t. If I want her to be at the top of her game I can’t just assume that she will remember (or be inclined) to perform tricks she learned 2 years ago but hasn’t been asked to do in months. I need to revisit them regularly. Daily, even just for a few minutes, is all it takes.

Isn’t it the same thing with writing? We’ve written before so we assume that we can do it again. And we can. But if we aren’t paying attention to our writing self on a daily basis we are going to have to expect to be a little rusty each time we sit back down at the computer.

I’m putting playtime with Cassie back on my to-do list. Right after I take a look at my work-in-progress.