Shopper News blog: Bliss Integrated Bodywork ready to grow in SoKno – Knoxville News Sentinel

Shopper News blog: Bliss Integrated Bodywork ready to grow in SoKno  Knoxville News Sentinel


What’s new in your community? Find out here at the Shopper-News blog. We’ll have updates on people, places, businesses, schools and sports in your community. Check back throughout the week.

SOUTH

Bliss Integrated Bodywork ready to grow in SoKno

Ali James, Shopper News

The opportunity to relocate Bliss Integrated Bodywork to South Knoxville fell into Emily Bliss McLemore’s lap. “When my husband got a job offer to return to Knoxville, we were excited to move back to South Knoxville,” she said. “Then a friend of a friend called me with this space on Sevier Avenue.”


The façade of the four shopfronts opposite Alliance Brewery was completely torn off in March, and a series of construction delays pushed back the opening date to Sept. 22.

Bliss Integrated offers therapeutic massage, Pilates, TRX and Functional movement training.

“It is almost twice the size of the 800-square-foot space I had in Bearden for three years,” said Bliss McLemore. “It allowed me to add a second treatment room and add a fourth machine.”

Bliss McLemore has been safety conscious about her reopening and is offering appointments only Tuesday to Thursday. “You can put your own group together and the machines are spaced out,” she said. “I will continue to offer online sessions for my clients who aren’t comfortable in coming back.”

Masks are required for massage and body work and in movement sessions when distance can’t be maintained. “It is creating a new muscle memory and a new way of being as we all kind of adjust,” said Bliss McLemore. “I am trying to be very intentional of what our protocol is so we don’t have to chat about COVID for an hour; we can hold space for people being present.”

The therapeutic massage can help clients unwind before they move. “I work with a really diverse population. Most often I work with people who are in various stages of chronic pain,” she said. “We discuss their goals — relaxing or unwinding their neck and shoulders, or a targeted area so the treatments are really customized to the individual’s goals.”


Bliss McLemore said TRX and Pilates are commonly seen together. “They marry well, and I like to take an integrated approach to everything.”

The four machines at Bliss Integrated Bodyworks are Pilates Reformers. “We are excited to bring them to this area,” said Bliss McLemore. “The equipment can provide support and increased feedback instead of just using your body weight. The springs provide resistance and support to tune in for a deeper movement.”

Bliss McLemore said the machines are a complementary activity for runners and other athletes. The Pilates Reformers are also good for people who have suffered an injury and gone through physical therapy, but aren’t ready to return to their usual sport.

TRX, for those who are unfamiliar, was created by some Marines looking for a way to work out that did not require weight training machines. “It is a strap with two handles and you use your body weight to create resistance,” explained Bliss McLemore. “You can do squats, lunges, pikes and planks.”

Bliss McLemore said she sees a lot of neck and shoulder tension. “There is a lot of tension in the world; it’s almost like we are holding our breath and waiting to see what happens, and we do that within our body.” 

“Our goal is to help people find balance,” she continued. “Moments of balance within our bodies and minds are harder to come by now, and taking a pause to take a breath and be present in your body and tune in to what is happening in your brain are important.”


In addition to private sessions via Zoom, Bliss McLemore wants to use the SoKno area to expand workout spaces — to the Primal Playground at Ijams Nature Center or at Suttree’s Landing.

Bliss McLemore is looking to eventually partner with other wellness practitioners. “We have been in limbo; now that we are officially here we have room to grow.”

South Knox Holistic Medicine gave her space to practice while she was in limbo.

KARNS/HARDIN VALLEY

CAK freshman, 14, named regional golfing champion

Nancy Anderson, Shopper News 

Karns teen Malerie Taylor, 14, played well beyond her years — beating several more seasoned golfers — in winning Overall Individual Regional Champion at the TSSAA Division II-A Regionals on Sept. 29.


She endured an abysmal start to the day at Bear Trace Harrison Bay Golf Course, as a cold rain pelted the players for the first six holes of the match.

“This was Malerie’s first regional match. I told her I have full faith and confidence in her. In girls golf, you play the top three players, and she’s routinely been one of my top three players every match all year. Malerie is a hard worker and someone who strives to improve every practice, every match,” said Christian Academy of Knoxville golfing coach Donnie Cooper.

Taylor is on a winning streak. She won first place at the US Kids Golf Tournament at Knoxville Municipal Golf Course on Sept. 20.

She beat her personal best to score 76, coming in second, at another US Kids Golf Tournament at Tennessee Tech Golden Eagle Golf Course on Sept. 27. Cooper said breaking 80 is a big barrier; “shooting a 76 is a big deal.”

A team player, Taylor helped the CAK girls golfing team win both district and regional tournaments.


The freshman is a busy player. She is playing her first tour for the U.S. Kids Golf. While the high school season ends in October, she continues to play year round in local tournaments. She plays regularly for First Tee, an international youth development organization introducing the game of golf and nine core values to kids and teens. She participated in a First Tee fundraiser, netting $1,351 from pledges of $1 or $2 per hole by friends and family during June and July.

“First Tee is a great organization; it has core values that every player should know,” she said. “Honestly, integrity, sportsmanship, respect, confidence, responsibility, perseverance, courtesy, and judgment. To play a good game of golf you need at the very least the main two, which is integrity and perseverance, but I take them all with me every time I play.”

Taylor had a once-in-a-kid golfer’s-lifetime opportunity to play with pro golfer Peter Malnati at the First Tee of Greater Knoxville fundraiser at Williams Creek Golf Course on Sept. 19.


“It was a great experience. For me to be able to play and talk to him one-on-one was pretty cool. He talked to me about perseverance and how he’s used it in his golf career.”

Taylor said her ultimate goal is to win a scholarship for college. She doesn’t plan on going pro. She would rather go to medical school.

She will tee off next with CAK at the TSSAA Division II-Class A state championships Oct. 12-13.

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FARRAGUT

BOMA supports academic goals with $22,000 school checks

Gabriela Szymanowska, Shopper News 

As former Washington state governor Christine Gregoire once said, “Education is the foundation upon which we build our future,” and the Town of Farragut is continuing to invest in students’ futures.

The Board of Mayor and Aldermen, along with Knox County school board member Susan Horn and State Rep. Jason Zachary, visited Farragut schools Sept. 30 to present grant checks to each school’s principal.


“I’m so grateful for the Town of Farragut’s commitment to our Farragut schools. The schools really depend on these funds and they use them very judiciously,” Horn said. “I’m very, very grateful and that’s why I wanted to be here today, just to express my thanks to the Town of Farragut.”

Farragut Primary, Intermediate, Middle and High each received a check for $22,000 while the Farragut High School Foundation received a check for $12,000.

Mayor Ron Williams explained that in Knox County, schools receive revenue from property taxes including property tax from Farragut. The revenue is then distributed to schools based on who needs the money the most, with Farragut schools placing toward the bottom of the list.

So the Town helps the schools through the grants, and while the budget may have decreased this past year, the grants for the schools remained the same.


“I look forward to this every year. It’s something that we really enjoy doing. We cut a lot of stuff this year, budget wise, but we did not cut this at all,” Williams said. “This is important to our kids and the parents — they sure do a lot, but there’s (only) so much that they can do. We try to be that, to help that little bit that they can’t do.”

The grants will help the schools continue to support their students and staff, especially as this year schools won’t have as many fundraising opportunities.

Gina Byrd, principal of Farragut Primary, said their fundraising won’t be able to take place until the spring, with the fall festival typically bringing in around $40,000. The grant will go toward purchasing new technology and replacing some playground equipment that has been around for 30 years.

“Having that community involvement and helping the schools makes this community an amazing place to live,” Byrd said.

Likewise, both Deborah Adorante and Weston Edmonds, principals for Farragut Intermediate and Farragut Middle schools respectively, said the grants will be going toward technology and supplementing what their staff needs to help students this year.

Adorante said the grant will go toward helping invest in new apps like KAMI, a digital classroom app that helps transform existing documents into an interactive experience, as well as extra chargers and Chromebooks.


The middle school, Edmonds said, has typically used the grant money for technology and building upgrades. This year, the grant will focus on updating older pieces of technology, in addition to teacher training in the technology.

“It’s a tangible way to show how much they support us and how much it matters to the local government and the parents,” Edmonds said.

Farragut High School principal John Bartlett said the grant will go toward a variety of areas from teacher technology, like adding more Smartboards to classrooms or  investing in more Chromebook carts, to lab equipment to achieving goals like general campus beautification and cleanup.

Bartlett was very appreciative of both the Town’s and the community’s investment in the school.

“Thank you for your generosity. Thank you for continuing to support what we do here at Farragut High School and thank you for just keeping us in mind as we go forward,” Bartlett said. “The High School Foundation … does great work for this school. Every dollar you give to the foundation goes to support a teacher in the classroom.”

The Farragut High School Foundation, a non-profit started almost 25 years ago and originally meant to help fill in the gaps where there was lack of funding, continues to raise funds to benefit the greatest number of Farragut high school students, said its president, Gene Perkins. The foundation also has been able to award teachers at the end of the year with five $1,000 awards.

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POWELL

Compassion and fashion meet at Positively Beautiful Boutique

Al Lesar, Shopper News 

Angela Farmer had a vision that forced her to look outside her comfort zone.

What she discovered was the warm, inviting dream she had always wanted.

In her hometown of Somerset, Kentucky, Farmer had a happy place where she would retreat whenever times got tough.

“We had a little boutique in my small hometown where you got personal attention and it just felt special,” Farmer said. “The environment was always happy. If you were having a bad day, it was always going to get better.”


A medical assistant and hospital administrative assistant by trade, when Farmer heard the gift shop at Tennova’s North Knoxville Medical Center was closing more than four years ago, she stepped in and bought First Lady Specialty Shop for Women.

Farmer said 98 percent of her business was insurance billable, dealing with items such as mastectomy bras, wigs and orthotic shoes.

“It was great that I was able to help people, but I wanted more for my boutique,” Farmer said. “I wanted that same atmosphere that I knew growing up.”

Farmer took the leap of faith. She found a much larger storefront (713 E. Emory Road, Suite 101), rebranded her business to Positively Beautiful Boutique & Gifts, and opened her doors on Thursday, Sept. 17.

Feeling positive   

Thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, foot traffic in the hospital had significantly reduced in recent months. Also, several of the doctors who made the referrals to her items had relocated their offices. Now was as good a time as any to find a new home.

“I plan to continue having the billable items, but I also will be adding a high-quality clothing line that will be stylish but church-appropriate,” Farmer said. “I’ve struggled to find just what I like. It’s modest, but with a very feminine side.

“My goal is to make a woman feel more positive about herself, no matter what it takes. If it’s a wig, we want one that makes a woman feel great. We’ve got a large selection of in-person orthotic shoes that gives a woman a choice.”

Farmer said that while she was working in the administrative area of the hospital, she would volunteer with Compassion in Action, which would help women get through the process of breast cancer. That helped her find her niche.


Relationships count     

Being a business owner has had its challenges, but Farmer has never second-guessed the passion that has carried her through more than four years.

“Connecting with my customers can be a humbling experience,” she said. “I have an opportunity to help others. I’m more about the relationships with the ladies than the business side of it. I’ll wear that hat if I have to.

“Recently, it’s been very rewarding to build my vision into reality. One of the greatest rewards I can get is hearing one of the ladies say how much help I was able to give in a difficult time. I’ve been blessed to have a business that offers a positive energy and atmosphere for all of my customers.”


Hours of operation will be Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday 10 a.m.-6:30 p.m., Wednesday 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m.-3 p.m. For more information call 865-362-5937 or go to www.positivelybeautifulboutique.com.

Community happenings 

  • UT Arboretum Society to hold Annual Fall Plant Sale online through Oct. 10. Vendors are Tennessee Naturescapes, Riverdale Nursery and East Fork Nursery of Sevierville. Log on to https://utas-plant-sale.square.site/ to shop and make payment. All payments must be made by credit card online in advance. No sales on the pick-up days. Upon ordering, a link will be provided to choose a pick-up time for contactless delivery: 1-6 p.m. Friday, Oct. 16, or 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 17, at UT Arboretum, 901 S. Illinois Ave. in Oak Ridge. Info: mcampani@utk.edu.
  • Technical Society of Knoxville ZOOM meeting, 11:55 a.m. Monday, Oct. 12. Speaker: Terrell Hendren P.E. with the Division of Water Resources of the TN Department of Environment & Conservation; topic: safety of low head dams. ZOOM number for meeting: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89947290521; passcode: TSK. Info: http://www.technicalsociety.net.
  • Fall rummage sale for missions, 8 a.m.-1 p.m. Friday-Saturday, Oct. 16-17, Seymour First Baptist Church gym, 11621 Chapman Highway. Masks required; social distancing encouraged. All proceeds go to the church’s local, domestic and international mission programs. Item donations may be dropped off at the church 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Wednesday-Friday, Oct. 5-9 and Monday-Wednesday, Oct. 12-14. No clothes accepted. Info/pickup of donations: 865-577-1954.

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WORDS OF FAITH

Human connections offer deliverance

John Tirro, Shopper News columnist

I have a wonderful collection of coffee mugs! What’s special about them is not so much the mugs. It’s not even the coffee. It’s the way they remind me of connections, to people I love.


There’s a cream-colored, thick-handled mug from Claire’s Cornercopia, a New Haven restaurant on the corner of College and Chapel, where I used to meet my mom for lunch. There’s an oversized Blue Ridge Parkway-Cherohala Skyway mug, bought en route to a hike with a friend and our sons. There are several NPR mugs, from annual fund drives, when I was first taking world news seriously and wanted to help reliable reporting happen.

Each morning, as water boils, beans grind, and I open my kitchen cabinet, I’m reminded of connections, to people I love.

These past months, what’s gotten me through — what’s gotten a lot of us through — is connections. I call one member of our church to check on her, and she tells me of another who’s been feeling disconnected. I realize I’d left that person messages but hadn’t heard back. Come to find out, that number was no longer working. I get the right number and call, and the next day I’m on her porch with flowers from our garden. One connection leads to another, which opens yet another.

In Hosea, God remembers leading Israel out of slavery. “When Israel was a child I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son… I taught Ephraim how to walk, I took them up in my arms… I led them with cords of human kindness, with bonds of love.” What led God’s people, from fear to love, was loving connection.

Our choir meets on Wednesdays, by Zoom, to sing together, and even with time delays and digital glitches, to hear their voices feels better to me than any optimized cathedral recording, because it makes the connection, to people I love.

We’re in a moment in our world, when many have forgotten about connection. In the midst of that, God leads us through love: cooking teams making meals for elders, people of all ages making deliveries and porch visits; hot meals provided every Monday and Thursday, to hundreds of people living with homelessness; rainbow-colored freezer pops, given to add that extra bit of love; and Sunday school classes on how we can work, to build a better world.

The parts of Hosea I skipped before show what gets in the way of connection. “The more I called them, the more they went from me; they kept sacrificing to Baals, and offering incense to idols… they did not know that I healed them.”

We get distracted and offer ourselves to things that do not heal. It’s important to open the cabinet of our hearts, to remember and renew relationships, and to make new ones!

If you’re feeling disconnected, I encourage you — as I encourage myself — reach out, reaffirm, or make anew, a loving connection. Be part of God’s liberating movement of love.

John Tirro is pastor of music and campus ministry at St. John’s Lutheran Church. Info: sjlcknox.org.

NORTH/EAST

BOO! at the Zoo starts this week

Carol Z. Shane, Shopper News

Things are hopping — and crawling, swimming, climbing and leaping — at Zoo Knoxville.


The nonprofit is world-renowned for its efforts in conservation and species survival, and its leadership and staff are locally renowned for their imaginative events, all presented for one reason: to provide financial support for continued care of the animals who live in the 53-acre park.

Thursday, Oct. 1 was the last evening of the family-friendly Craft Bear Nights, featuring the zoo’s own Octoberfest-themed menu of sausage trio, Guinness bratwurst, wienerschnitzel on a stick, three-cheese spätzle, cheeseburgers, and giant Bavarian pretzels. Local brewers including Elst Brewing Company, Alliance Brewing Co., Next Level Brewing Co., Pretentious Beer Co., and food trucks including EnjoyLatinFood and Penne For Your Thoughts were on site throughout the month-long series.

Next up: the fabulous annual BOO! at the Zoo — Knoxville’s largest Halloween event featuring several nights of not-too-scary Halloween fun perfect for preschool- and elementary-age children. 


This year’s event features the Baba Yaga Haunted Forest, giant inflatables, magical lighting, fun rides, plenty of entertainment and food, trick-or-treating and — of course — the animals. And you can be assured that your small superheroes, pint-sized princesses, and grade-school goblins, ghouls and ghosts will have not only a fun-filled time, but a safe experience during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

This year’s Boo! at the Zoo features Wildly Safe Guidelines. They read as follows:

FOR YOU:

  • Minimize contact
  • Follow ground markings & signs
  • Use hand sanitizer
  • Stay 6 feet apart
  • Wear a mask

FOR US:

  • Online ticket purchase
  • Daily sanitization
  • Hand sanitizer stations
  • Safe physical distancing markers

“Attending events like BOO! at the Zoo supports the best care for our animals and the work we do to save them from extinction,” says Tina Rolen, Zoo Knoxville’s director of marketing and communications. “Everything goes back to supporting the animals.”

Zoo Knoxville’s BOO! at the Zoo happens nightly 5:30-8, Thursday through Sunday. Thursday night, Oct. 8, is reserved for Annual Passholders, then the event continues Oct. 9-11, 15-18 and 22-25, at Zoo Knoxville, 3500 Knoxville Zoo Drive. Tickets are $9 for Zoo Knoxville Annual Passholders and $10 per person, children under 4 free.

No weapons or toy weapons of any kind are allowed on Zoo property. That includes either real or toy guns, swords, knives, nunchuks, etc.

For more info, visit zooknoxville.org.

SOUTH

Seymour Volunteer FD expansion could cut 3-county response time

Ali James, Shopper News 

Seymour Volunteer Fire Department (SVFD) Station #2 had a ribbon cutting on Sept. 21 to celebrate the long overdue expansion of their facility at 7915 Chapman Highway. It is good news when it comes to 38 square miles of fire and safety protection south in South Knoxville.


A new, spacious fire truck bay was built between two existing buildings to house their vehicles, according to John Linsenbigler, fire chief and executive administrator for SVFD Station #2. “Once we could move the fire truck out, we enclosed the doors on the existing garage area and turned it into living and sleeping quarters for stand-by volunteers,” he said.

The old living quarters had a kitchen, bathroom and the administration offices. “The volunteers slept on a donated couch in the office area,” said Linsenbigler, who has been a member of the SVFD since 1989. “I oversaw the emergency services and was a volunteer until eight years ago and more recently took on the role of fire chief.

“I would come in and there would be two people on call sacked out on the reclining couch. You had to have a good heart for your community to stay in those living conditions. Now it’s much, much nicer with two private bedrooms.”

More importantly, it shaves eight to 10 minutes off the average response time to a fire, crash or medical call. “They can be on the truck and out the door in 1½ minutes,” said Linsenbigler.


Back in the 1970s and 1980s, Seymour was mostly family farms, with few businesses or schools and no stoplights. As the population has boomed, shopping strips and subdivisions have popped up and with the recent widening of the state highway, demand for fire and emergency services has further increased. 

“We have 80-90 calls a month in Knox County,” said Linsenbigler. “A lot are medical responses besides running car accidents and fires. We do a lot of public education and have a certified child car seat program. We install smoke alarms and do home inspections at no charge.”

The department’s board of directors has financed two new trucks that accommodate a five-person crew, have a four-door cab, and can carry 1,000 gallons of water so they have at least 10 minutes of water to fight fires in rural areas.

The first, new-to-them fire truck is a demo model and is currently being outfitted with equipment and radios. “We service three counties so there are three radios,” said Linsenbigler. “This one should be in service by next week, and we have another fire truck that should be here in the next month. And we hope to have that in service by the end of the year.”


The trucks will be partially paid for by grants. “The average age of our fleet is 27 years old, there are some NFDA guidelines that after 10 years fire apparatus must be pulled off the front line and then eventually taken out of service,” said Linsenbigler.

The Seymour Volunteer Fire Department is unique in that its district spreads across three Tennessee counties — Blount, Knox and Sevier. That’s a total response area of approximately 118.6 square miles. “We deal with three of everything, including three different emergency services,” said Linsenbigler.  “It can be challenging, but everybody works well together.

“No matter where you live, if you are not in the city, you need to support the fire department that protects your area,” said Linsenbigler. “A minimal amount of property taxes goes to fire protection. We get funding from each county and we rely on grants. And the majority of our income comes from donations — and only 22% of the people donate.”

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NORTH/EAST

High Resolutions & WunderWall — an idea that really ‘sticks’ during the pandemic

Carol Z. Shane, Shopper News 

Last year, well before the coronavirus pandemic, Colin Hoffman and his colleagues at High Resolutions in Happy Holler were looking into a new product. Called WunderWall, it’s an easily customizable type of wallpaper that is offered in four finishes: canvas, smooth, sand and linen. And, unlike traditional wallpaper, it can be installed by homeowners themselves — no crew needed — and removed years later with no residue.


In business for 25 years, High Resolutions is well known throughout East Tennessee and beyond. The giant historic photos adorning the sides of the Bijou Theatre and the Dwight Kessel Garage, the outdoor trail guide graphics for Ijams Nature Center, the giant map on the wall of Elkmont Exchange — they’re all done by HighRes.

“The vast majority of our work is done business-to-business,” says Hoffman, who is the company’s project manager. “WunderWall was distinctly different. It was a pretty big lift for all the preparation. Business planning, how to approach direct-to-retail customers, questions. ‘Is it going to work? Are we going to get enough traction, enough interest?’”

Hoffman also says he has noticed sometimes that “one thing you don’t even think about turns out to be a benefit for a product or service.” And he was about to make that discovery with the newest product under consideration.

Having recently bought a house, he’d been going to home supply stores back in April and May. “People were, rightfully so, scared out of their minds. But even in the midst of that, people were putting money into their homes because they’re staying home noticing things. ‘Man I haven’t sat still long enough to be looking at all the things I want to do.’


“They want to dress up their home office; they don’t necessarily want to use those artificial Zoom backgrounds. And not just the office — they’re looking at home improvement projects, and they don’t want to have somebody come in and install it for them. They want to get it in the mail, put it up and install it themselves.”

In other words, for people in the early stages of the pandemic, there was plenty of interest in WunderWall. So HighRes decided to launch the product in June — well ahead of their planned timeline. “It’s just like I said — it’s odd things like that; it ended up being a great product for this time. It just happened that way.”


Hoffman and all at HighRes are happy with their decision to push the product on out.

“The market is definitely there,” says Hoffman. “Business has been good, and Knoxville is a great place to do business.”

For more info, visit highresolutions.com or call 865-523-3361.


HALLS/POWELL

Parkview Senior Living opens luxurious retirement facility

Ruth White, Shopper News 

The saying goes, “There’s no place like home.” While this is a true statement, this 55+ adult may have found something that comes pretty close.

Parkview Senior Living cut the ribbon on the newest luxury community at 975 E. Emory Road in the heart of the Halls/Powell area. This newest location, the third senior living community to be opened, is a $15 million investment for the area and employs over 30 individuals. 

The facility features 101 rooms and an array of amenities designed to support an active and healthy lifestyle. Parkview offers chef-prepared dining, a movie/performance theatre, game room, fitness center, library, spa, barbershop and salon, walking trail and storage units. 

Parkview Senior Living was founded in 1999 when owner Jay McBride was searching for a safe place for his father-in-law to live. He developed the community to fit the needs of his family and others looking for a home that provides peace of mind, safety and comfort. 


OPINION

Buttercup struggles in school

Leslie Snow, Shopper News columnist

The first day I took Buttercup to dog training and daycare, she didn’t want to go. She hid between my legs while I waited for the attendant to lead her inside.


“It’s OK, Buttercup,” I said in a soft voice. “You’ll make new friends, have some lunch, and I’ll be back right after naptime.” She looked at me with her big brown eyes and wagged her tail. Then it was her turn to go inside and I went home to get some work done.

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I came back later in the day to retrieve my Great Dane puppy. I was relieved when she emerged from the building looking happy and excited to see me.

“She had a great first day,” the trainer said, with a smile. “She’s a fast learner and really sweet.” Then she handed me a slip of paper and Buttercup’s lunch container, and I got in the car to head home.

Before I pulled out of the driveway, I read the note the trainer had given me and laughed aloud. It said, “Buttercup did a good job pottying outside today. And it turns out, she’s a friend to all!”

After that, we started calling doggy daycare our puppy preschool. We didn’t send her every day, but a couple times a week, when we couldn’t let her out regularly, we’d pack her lunch and send her to school.

Over the weeks she grew to love preschool. She’d wait impatiently for the car door to open so she could jump outside to meet her friends. The quiet little puppy who hid between my legs was replaced by a 100-pound ball of muscles pulling on the leash to get inside.


As her demeanor changed, the notes going home changed too. “Buttercup is a friend to all” was replaced with “Buttercup plays really hard.”

“What do you think they mean by ‘plays hard’?” I asked my husband one evening. “I think they mean she loves to play,” he answered matter-of-factly. And I didn’t give those notes another thought.

But last week when I went to pick up Buttercup from preschool, one of her teachers stopped me. “Can I speak with you a minute,” she said, rather sternly.

“Sure,” I said while alarm bells went off in my head. “What’s up?”

“Buttercup has been playing really rough with the other dogs. Today there was an incident when she took hold of Skyler’s collar. And earlier in the day she grabbed Gracie by the ear. We had to separate them.”

I wasn’t sure how to respond, but I managed an “I’m so sorry.” I was about to say, “I’ll talk to her about her behavior,” when I remembered that Buttercup is an 8-month-old puppy and not my child.

I needed the reminder because the next words out of the woman’s mouth were, “We were wondering about her behavior at home.”

I felt myself get a little defensive after that. “She’s fine at home. She listens well and plays gently with Lily.”

“She doesn’t bite or pull her collar?”

“No! I swear!” I said, my voice rising slightly. They promised they would work on correcting her bad behavior and I headed home.

Buttercup was thirsty when we got back to the house, so I gave her a drink from the garden hose. I watched in horror as two spiders poured out of her mouth along with the water.

I called her “wild thing” after that and wondered if my delinquent dog might be headed to juvie next week instead of preschool.

Leslie Snow may be reached at snow column@aol.com.

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