Teaching An Old Dog New Tricks

By Sarah Horton

Everyone who has a pet dog knows how canines are full or surprises. My latest experience with our new dog was the biggest surprise we could imagine.

In the beginning of 2020, I was studying abroad in Rome, Italy. I was waiting to get a FaceTime call from my mom to catch up and tell her about the amazing things I was doing. But when I answered, I realized she had exciting news of her own. She flipped the camera to reveal a dog. Not a puppy, but a full grown dog. It goes without saying that I was shocked and slightly confused. I mean, when I left home only a month prior, we only had one dog (though I love Zeus, he is not a part of this story).

Artful is a retired Fox Hound from the Radnor Hunt, which was founded in Radnor, Pennsylvania in 1883. The Radnor Hunt is the oldest continuously active fox hunt in the United States, recognized by the Masters of Foxhounds Association of America. Living close to Radnor Hunt, my mom took my nephew, Mason, to see the race tracks. Before she knew it, my mom was being told that there was an older dog in need of adoption. My family already had one dog, and had said goodbye to another one only a few years prior, so we weren’t looking to take on another furry friend. But when Mason saw Artful and immediately referred to her as “my big dog,” my mom couldn’t resist.

So Artful came home with us and we had plenty of time to get acquainted during the craziness that was quarantine. Having been a working dog, she didn’t know what it meant to be house trained. She had spent the first eight years of her life living in a kennel on the Radnor Hunt grounds and hadn’t lived in a real house before. So the adjustment to coming home with us was a big one for Artful. But she took it like a champ and we spent all of March and April teaching her how to be a house pet.

From learning how to sit and lay down on command, to not going to the bathroom in the house, we covered a lot of ground. We spent the majority of our quarantine going on long walks and meeting new faces (on zoom, of course). Artful and I learned a lot from each other over the past year. She taught me to be patient and thoughtful, while I taught her how to be a house pet. Looking back on our adoption of Artful, I couldn’t be more thankful to have her in my life. And I’m here to tell you that you most definitely can teach an old dog new tricks.

Since starting my internship at Vizion Group PR, I quickly learned that I would have the opportunity to work on the National Dog Show. Being an avid dog lover, this thrilled me. Recalling the time I spent training and loving Artful, I have been so appreciative of the time that I have gotten to spend with her. If you are in the Oaks area, make sure to stop by the dog show on November 20th and 21st. Also, tune into The National Dog Show on NBC Thanksgiving Day, I know Artful and I will be!

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