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Somewhere down the hall I hear the tick-tick of my dogs claws on the bare floor as she heads for the front window to look for the bad things that might be lurking in the shadows outside.
She always waits for that one moment when she will have her day in the sun, figuratively speaking, when she can make good on all the threats that have issued in a deep rumble from her throat over the years that Iíve had her as a guest.
Where would she strike first? At the thunder that causes her to shudder with fear and try to tear out the carpet that used to be in the hall? She cracked two nails in that that episode and managed to get blood on the walls which made it look as if some murderer had decided to paint and then remove the body of his victim. It sort of sounds like one of those credit card commercials:
Carpet for the hallway: $354
Vet appointment for dog: $125
Paint and other things for repairs: $75
Keeping neurotic pet: Pricey
But she is a poor thing that was dumped in my neighborhood, most likely because of the very reason that I ended up facing.
Blood doesnít come off of paint easily.
Still, she is loving and loyal and on patrol every night. And for that alone, I hug her close and tell her that she is a wonderful girl. She laughs in that doggy sort of way and wags her tail and tells me that she is more than willing and should I ever require it, she will gladly share her doggy breath with me too. I politely decline but to no avail.
Her breath is, to put it mildly, something between rancid dog food and a deeper sort of evil smell that can choke the life out of most people but I have learned to put up with. No amount of brushing so far has relieved the power in her mouth. I do brush her teeth, as any dedicated dog owner should with a lovely concoction that smells even worse but is supped to be enticing to dogs and tastes of meat. How that is supposed to improve her breath is beyond me but I am faithful to the vetís orders.
In her life with me so far she has shown herself to be fairly paranoid and in some sense schizophrenic as there are three definite and easily categorized versions of her that I have seen.
The first weíll call the happy, silly Sasha. It includes rolling around on her back making funny noises. Playing with squeaky toys and running around in a generally happy way are also signs of this Sasha being in the forefront of control.
The second and generally equal Sasha to be seen is the on guard version that is characterized by ears up and a constant looking around at imagined threats. Mostly this is tuned towards dogs, as she seems to see all dogs she doesnít know well as a potential threat. She will charge and attack any and all she sees without regard to size or demeanor. This includes Yorkshire Terriers to which she seems to have an added animosity towards.
I would characterize this as the psychotic aggressive Sasha and as such I have to cross the street and be ready with the flexi-leash for the first hint of a run at the other creature. She will stay in this mode all the time outside of the house, constantly scanning the area around her and freezing into tense readiness at the first imagined sign of trouble. Iíve even known her to growl and charge at shadows simply on the off chance that they may be other dogs.
The last definable Sasha version is the abject terror version in which she shivers uncontrollably, sometimes trying to climb the couch cushions in an effort to get away from the thunder of fireworks she hears. There were times that I knew a storm was coming hours in advance as she would hear it on some subsonic level and begin to quake.
Anything of this nature will set her off from thunder to gunshots to particularly heavy rain and keep her upset for hours after it is gone. During these times I have to give her a sedative so that she wonít hurt herself or me. Itís bad when there has been a storm while I am at work and many times I have to drive back at lunch just to give her something to help. One of those times would be the carpet incident mentioned earlier.
The doctors tell me that there is no way that I can give her something like doggy Prozac as she is too old to start on something of that nature. I show them the pictures of the hallway and the blood and ask how they cannot give it to her. Still they wonít do it so I am forced to deal with the situation.
But I love her and her quirks. I love her shivers and growls and everything else that makes up the madness that is her. Besides, they say that dog owners resemble their owners and in this case, while I donít tear up carpets in fear, I have my own strange sides that do things for no apparent reason so I say that we fit together.
Next time, I think Iíll just get a stuffed dog and call it a day.
I know I'm dead on the surface But I'm screaming underneath
Nah, I wouldn't do that. Part of the joys of having your own home is the liberty of providing for other animals.
Not to be an animal expert, but:
(Note: These things are suggestions as a freind. I understand you found this dog, but if you intend to keep a second dog these are great things to keep in mind.)
First off, two dogs are easier to keep than one, unless the one dog you intend to keep has regular exposure to other dogs. The more you let it hang out with other's of it's kind, the less hostile it is towards them.
Secondly, you keep your dog in the house! Thank you so much, hell I thank you for Sasha! Not only is the animal in question better off, but the same rule (above in regards to other dogs) is applied for humans. They will fear you regardless, but the more they are around you or your household, the calmer and more appropriately mild they are in it's company. I've seen way to many dogs that are starving for affection, those that are leashed up permanently somewhere, or those that never come in the house; I only reccomend keeping animals outside when it's in a farm like setting, and with other's of it's kind. Like people, animals need belonging, and a place to belong.
Of course that's aside from traumatic issues. I'm no therepist, but I do know that's not normal behaviour.
Anyway, don't apply the rule of never feeding a dog "people food". A good bit of real meat is good for them. Oh, as a bit of a treat, after cooking meat, poor the grease you cooked it with over her food. God she'll love it(providing she's not allergic to the meat or grease in question). On the health side, yes it's good for them on occasion. It adds a very healthy shine to the coat.
Play, play, play. If you establish that you are willing to play it'll like ya' even more. As for being rough and tumble, the size is important here. I used to play a game with a dog not too far off of WWF, but alas that was a rottweiler labrador mix. Huge dog. Said behaviour is discouraged if you intend to keep a dog akin to a chihuahua or poodle. :p
Anyway, I just wanted to share fonder memeries and animal grooming habits. If any of these are new to you, try it, but seeing as how you are applying one of the most important ones (keeping Sasha in the house by default) you are by all means a respectable animal keeper.
I should be ashamed of myself.
Let me tell you... my dogs are the most spoiled little critters on the planet and they will remain that way. :D They get a taste of people food, especially when I'm feeling like cooking so they get something nice like rice and hamburger with a little garlic for flavor. They won't eat it without the garlic as hard as that is to believe.
As for dear Sasha's aggression, well, that is unfortunate but I think it's a part of her that cannot be toned through contact. You see, she will be aggressive to any dog, cat, squirrel, rabbit or any other thing that is not a person. I have tried to get her used to other dogs but she gets so worked up that she hurts herself with lunging and attacking even with a choke chain. Can't stand those things but I had to try it to see.
I know I'm dead on the surface But I'm screaming underneath