As some of our readers might remember, we once had a Flickr account where we posted 1000’s of photographs of many events and activities.  One of our favorite activities that we posted was grown-up—themed fantasies that we created.  This magazine article is just that.  😀 

We are traveling with our pet, Julie.  As all pet-owners know, pets are a pleasure and a responsibility.  In this article, we chronicle the training and care of Julie.

The Rake

The day is just getting started, so it’s time for some chores.  First things first, let’s clean the back porch.

There is always more work to do around the ol' homestead.

There is always more work to do around the ol’ homestead.

I begin raking the leaves as my pet relaxes after a long night of sleeping and lounging about.

I just had an idea!

I just had an idea!

Julie knows this look and thinks, “He’s got something in mind for me. But is it work or play??”

Come, pet!

Come, pet!

I beckon my pet, and she acts catty.  As in, cat-like.  As in, “Yes, that’s my name, but are you really talking to me?”

She gets the message.

She gets the message.

With a little encouragement, Julie understands that she is supposed to rake the porch.  Such a good pet!

Well!

Well!

Although I admire her enthusiasm, this will have to wait until later.  Right now, she needs to clean the porch.

Such a good pet!

Such a good pet!

Now that she understands, Julie is happy to be part of our morning chores.

This leaf-blower will come in handy.

This leaf-blower will come in handy.

As Julie is raking, I remember that we have a leaf-blower. 

My pet is pleased.

My pet is pleased.

Julie is one happy pet. But, she doesn’t really understand what the leaf-blower is for…

My pet is NOT pleased.

My pet is NOT pleased.

“No, my pet.  Keep raking. The leaf-blower is not for you.”

It's a bit windy in Texas today.

It’s a bit windy in Texas today.

Yup.  The leaf-blower is for me.  😎 

And the wind is picking up!

And the wind is picking up!

Part of the fun of having a pet is playing with your pet.  Amirite?

Hmmm, I think she likes it.

Hmmm, I think she likes it.

You know how some cats REALLY like to be scratched just above their tail?  I think I have found that spot on Julie.

"Stop!  I can't get my work done."

“Stop! I can’t get my work done.”

Julie protests, but I wonder if she is just trying to get out of doing her chores.  She can be crafty and sly, like a vixen.

"Nope, I'm done."

“Nope, I’m done.”

I look away for a moment, and Julie flings away her rake.  Bad pet!

It's still pretty windy this morning.

It’s still pretty windy this morning.

I use the leaf-blower to encourage her to continue with her chores, but she resists.  Sometimes pets can be that way, I guess.

Hmmm.  She seems to be enjoying this.

Hmmm. She seems to be enjoying this.

I turn up the leaf-blower to the max, and still Julie persists.

It's the Medusa look.

It’s the Medusa look.

I do my best to induce my pet to return to her chores, but she is in a playful mood, I guess.

"Stop!  That's enough!"

“Stop! That’s enough!”

Julie signals that she is done, even though she hasn’t done very much at all.  Ah, the trials and tribulations of owning a pet.

Time for snuggling.

Time for snuggling.

I pat my knee, and Julie comes for a pet and a cuddle.

Who's a good girl?  You are!

Who’s a good girl? You are!

Julie is happy to please, but she’s happier when we please her.  Oh, well.  For a pet, she’s put in A LOT of work today.

Purrrrrrrrr.

Purrrrrrrrr.

There is a bond between a pet and her Owner and, after all, that is the real reason we have a pet! 😻

The Truck Ride

Julie LOVES to go for rides and, since she’s been such a good girl, we are treating her to a ride in our truck. 

Pets love going for a ride.

Pets love going for a ride.

There are folks who allow their pets to ride in the front seat, but that’s a bit dangerous, if you ask me.  So Julie must ride in the back.

Oops.  These Texas trucks are bigger than I thought!

Oops. These Texas trucks are bigger than I thought!

Since we are in Texas, we rented a Texas-size truck.  I had not anticipated that it would not be 100% pet-friendly.  Oh, well.  I guess I can provide a helping hand.  Or hands.

Push!

Push!

With a little maneuvering, I am able to get Julie situated in the back seat.

She is soooo excited!

She is soooo excited!

Julie is yelping with excitement!  Since I’m not exactly sure what type of pet Julie is for this ride, I don’t know if I should expect purring, whistling, humming, or what.

Such a happy pet!

Such a happy pet!

Julie can barely contain herself as we back out of the driveway.  I’m sure the other pets in the neighborhood are envious of her adventure!

Bye! See you later!

Bye! See you later!

We ride off into the sunrise to enjoy the day playing with our pet.  We hope all you pet-owners are as indulgent of your pet as we are of Julie. 😺

Pet School

We spend part of each day working with Julie to ensure she is properly trained.

Our morning lesson begins.

Our morning lesson begins.

This is our first day of pet school. Our pet is eager to learn.

Lesson 1: Come here.

Lesson 1: Come here.

We start with basic commands and our pet picks up on them quickly.

Lesson 2: How to show affection.

Lesson 2: How to show affection.

In between lessons, we give praise and rewards. Our pet responds as anyone would — with affection and snuggles.

Lesson 3: Staay!

Lesson 3: Staay!

We teach our pet basic commands such as: sit, stay, wait, and pose. No need for discipline as she is an excellent student.

Lesson 4: Heel!

Lesson 4: Heel!

Since this is our first day of training, we allow our pet to walk ahead. In time, she will learn to wait for her Owners. 

Lessons are over: Time for play.

Lessons are over: Time for play.

Phew! That was a tough lesson plan! It’s now recess and our pet is encouraged to play and relax.

Training a pet takes time and patience. It’s important to have treats available, and also to provide appropriate positive discipline when needed. Build on each lesson plan to support the good behaviors. And be sure to provide a lot of spontaneous praise and positive feedback so that they know they are doing well and pleasing their Owners. This provides for a natural positive reinforcement for your pet, which in turn builds loyalty, confidence, and joy, which in turn allows your pet to express their contentment with various forms of affection. It becomes a win-win situation. And, it takes work, effort, forethought, and did we mention patience? Lots of patience. But the pleasure of pet ownership outweighs the responsibilities of pet ownership.

River Leopard

We may not have mentioned yet, that our pet has a default animal: chameleon. What this means is that as her Owners, we can decide what kind of animal she is, and she responds by emulating the embodiment of said animal. This provides for a lot of options, variety, and creativity! So here we are, onto Training Day #2, with our pet Leopard.

Lesson 1 from yesterday has been mastered: Come here!

Lesson 1 from yesterday has been mastered: Come here!

We start each training day with cuddles, praise, purrs, and pets. It sets a positive mood for the intense lessons ahead.

Leopards get easily distracted...

Leopards get easily distracted…

Once again, Owners must show patience and allow their pets to be pets. Here we notice that the joy of ducks and fish outweigh the joy of following instructions. But it’s okay, we have plenty of time to complete our training session.

Time to introduce the training crop, just in case...

Time to introduce the training crop, just in case…

Before using any tool of discipline on a pet, one must first introduce them to said tool. It’s not nice to surprise them without warning! (Or warm up.) Here, our pet has no idea what a crop is or can be used for… so sweet!

Lesson 2: Heel

Lesson 2: Heel!

To our delight, our pet Leopard has remembered her lessons from yesterday and is walking in the proper position to one of her Owners.

Leopards sometimes misbehave!

Leopards sometimes misbehave!

Boy, that didn’t last long! Within moments, our pet’s natural instincts kick in to be rambunctious! 

Our pet doesn't even know she was naughty yet.

Our pet doesn’t even know she was naughty yet.

As an Owner, one must use a firm voice of disapproval. “Bad girl! No!” We think all she hears is “Girl! Yay!”

Oh, oopsie! Was I supposed to follow you?

Oh, oopsie! Was I supposed to follow you?

When realization of her misdeeds sinks in, our Leopard turns back and remembers what “Heel” actually means.

All is forgiven when cuddles happen.

All is forgiven when cuddles happen.

When training a pet, it’s important to go back to the basics whenever necessary. “Come here” is responded to, and praise is given.

Wild Leopard in her wild habitat.

Wild Leopard in her wild habitat.

We are near the end of our Training Day, and our Leopard is allowed some time to be a Leopard. She notices some fish in the lake, and plays with them (not hungry enough to feed on them, yet…)

Training day is done!

Training day is done!

Overall, a successful day of training. We are lucky to have such an eager (albeit willful) student.

As with all creatures, learning is cumulative. So we pace ourselves with each training session so that our pet Leopard can feel confident in each lesson that she learns. We don’t want to overwhelm her with too many commands all at once, and we provide constant positive reinforcement for all of her good behaviors.

Chocolate Time!

We decide to take a break from all of this rigorous training. It’s time to play… in chocolate! For this recess-time, our pet chameleon will take the form of a Monkey.  A Chocolate Monkey!

Monkey Girl is a Monkey!

Monkey Girl is a Monkey!

The character suits her so well in this predicament…especially considering she had no idea it was coming.

A good pet Monkey takes care of her Owner. With warmed chocolate!

A good pet Monkey takes care of her Owner. With warmed chocolate!

But our pet Monkey takes right to the play, like a duck takes to water. Only, it’s a Chocolate Monkey taking to Chocolate!

Warmed chocolate feels just as you would imagine here.

Warmed chocolate feels just as you would imagine here.

We find it’s important to mix up the syrup so that it can be evenly distributed. Because, after all, that’s what’s important, right?

There's nothing quite like having a bunch of hearts drawn on you, out of chocolate!

There’s nothing quite like having a bunch of hearts drawn on you, out of chocolate!

After evenly distributing the chocolate between us, Monkey Girl decides to draw some hearts on one of her Owners. It’s a sweet gesture in more than one way.

Chocolate syrup play is messy.

Chocolate syrup play is messy.

Even in play, pet Monkey remembers her Lesson: “Come here”. She obeys like a good Monkey.

It's hard not to laugh, when... chocolate!

It’s hard not to laugh, when… chocolate!

Seriously, if you’ve never played in warmed chocolate syrup before, you should try it! One thing you learn right away is that the syrup goes from slippery to sticky rather quickly! The results: smiles and laughter are had by all!

Scratches make fun designs, in chocolate!

Scratches make fun designs, in chocolate!

Another thing that we quickly learn is that you can easily make designs on each other… like finger-painting, only backwards.

Cuddle Puddle, in chocolate!

Cuddle Puddle, in chocolate!

It looks like one of the Owners is birthing her pet Chocolate Monkey — but she’s not. We laugh at the absurdity and silliness around us.

The outcome of our chocolaty escapades.

The outcome of our chocolaty escapades.

Final pose, we look kind of badass. We joke that if we ever write a book together about something sexy or kinky, this will be our author’s photo on the back cover. However, we doubt a publisher will be on board with our creative licensing.

Owning a pet does take a lot of extra work, planning, finances, accommodation, and patience. In the example above, we were staying in a rented house, so we were very careful to lay down layers of drop-cloths, use our own towels to wipe up the floors, and take a hot and thorough shower afterward. That’s the responsible part. But it’s not all work… when the time comes for play, owning a pet can be magical. And you can be as fun-loving and lighthearted as your pet is!

awa Travels Tip: “If you hold a cat by the tail you learn things you cannot learn any other way.” —Mark Twain