Preface: Around the age of 5 months, a puppy’s canine teeth start to come in, and the developmental teen stage starts. It will last until the dog is about eighteen months of age. During this time a puppy’s immature brain is changing and developing, and it’s often a challenging period. An adolescent dog can be rowdier, mouthier, jumpier, and more obnoxious than at any other time in its life. They tend to test their humans and even downright ignore them when given the opportunity.
Deb: Ladies and Gentlemen of the Jury, Miss Leia is growing up. Now 5 ½ months of age, I am starting to observe those little nuances of the onset of “teen” behavior. She has become a thief!
Leia: Hello Jury. I am present to defend myself against the accusation of thievery!
D: Miss Drama Teen . . . < rolls eyes>
L: Deb says I am now a teen. Isn’t that good news?!
D: Unfortunately, the “teens” last until puppies are about 18 months of age. This is a very challenging time.
L: Challenging? You keep saying I am a sweetheart and that we are bonding.
D: True, true, but . . . you have tendencies towards kleptomania.
L: Huh? Me? Noooooo waaaay!
D: I think you are going to have a tough time establishing your defense.
L: I have good arguments!
D: OK, explain stealing the newspaper and dog catalogs off my table.
L: Well, newspaper is easy – you’ve heard all about fake news. If it’s fake, it needs to be edited – ripping it to shreds is the best way. As for catalogs, I like that IN THE COMPANY OF DOGS catalog – lots of cool things I want to order. I need a crate pad. . . <hint, hint>
D: And then there’s the time you stole my date book!
L: I was just looking to see when we were going for our next walk . . .
D: And why do you steal dish towels and take them down to your crate?
L: They’re perfect puppy napkins!
D: OK, OK, but stealing my craft stamps is totally unacceptable.
L: Perfect chewing combination, rubber and wood. Besides, I really liked the alphabet stamps. I even spelled my name!
D: Good girl, a teen should be able to spell her name, but stealing my craft supplies is a misdemeanor. You could be incarcerated.
L: What’s incarcerated?
D: Being put into jail! And then there was the time you stole my grocery bag.
L: I was just trying to help you carry them!!
D: Yeah, good thing the toothpaste and box of band-aids trail helped me track you down.
L: <sighs> I can’t do anything right. <hangs head>
D: Miss Drama Teen. <throws hands up in air>
L: <hang-dog look>
D: You know, Leia, if you look that way the jury will know you are guilty for sure!
L: I. am. NOT. a. THIEF!
D: Well, what about the time you stole the TV remote?
L: I only wanted to watch Animal Planet! Puppy Bowl was on! GO Retrievers!!
D: But when it comes to my fleece jacket and shoes, that’s the ultimate NO-NO!
L: You’re always saying NO! Do you ever say yes? Besides I like the smell of you on your jacket and shoes. You’re my favorite person after all.
D: Flattery will get you nowhere.
L: Flattery?! That’s the dog-gone truth!
D: So tell the jury about the toilet paper. . .
L: <whispers, “That was fun!” – puppy snickers, hehehe>
D: You unraveled the entire roll through the family room! <chuckles behind hand: I only wish I’d had the video running on my phone for proof>
L: Don’t you know there’s a serious toilet paper shortage? I was just bringing the roll to you!
D: OK, Leia, I think the jury is ready for your closing remarks.
L: Sires and Bitches of the jury. With all due respect, I know I do not have to defend true puppy valor and devotion to my dearest companion, Deb. I am a Labrador Retriever, and it is in our DNA to retrieve, not steal. We love to carry things in our mouths, and we love to have a job. <wags tail for emphasis>
Judge: Thank you Leia. Deborah, are you ready to give your closing remarks?
D: I rest my case.
Judge: Jury, have you reached your verdict?
Foreman of the Jury: We have your honor. In view of all evidence presented, it is predominantly hearsay, so we find the defendant, Leia, NOT GUILTY of thievery.