Wednesday, December 19, 2012

My Idiot Dog - The Acquisiton

My only intent with this blog is to relate my opinion and my experience rescuing a dog who was "not kwite right", and to do it in such a manner as to evoke a laugh or two.  It is a compilation of true stories and lessons learned about the amazing feats of agility, stupidity, frustration, love, and the ongoing rehabilitation of "My Idiot Dog".  

I would like to blame (and thank) Sarah McLachlan for guilting me into adopting this one-of-a-kind dog.  I dedicate the "Idiot Dog" series to her.

                                                           Chapter I

Idiot (disambiguation) -  An idiot, dolt, or dullard is a mentally deficient person (or dog!), or someone (some dog!) who acts in a self-defeating or significantly counterproductive way.


There I was, lying on the couch not paying attention to the TV commercials when I heard it - the sound of a particularly beautiful female voice singing "In the Arms of an Angel".  The sad melody gently wafted through the living room with the promise to ensnare anyone in its path.  Oh No!  I realized what was happening and frantically searched for the remote, but it was too late... The images of neglected pets flashed across the screen and I became entranced as the pitiful propaganda worked it's black magic.  Resistance was futile.

When I awoke from the spell I found myself standing in a small, semi-sterile room.  I could make out numerous dogs barking from behind a door.  There was a short, portly man standing before me, asking a question.  I couldn't make what he was saying out so he repeated himself.  This time it was clear, he wanted me to give him $200.  "For what?"  I asked.  He began to answer, "well there were shots, we had her chipped and fixed..."  As he continued to give me a list what sounded like medical procedures, I looked down and noticed I was holding a leash.  At the end of this leash was a medium-sized, squirmy yellow dog, of a breed I could not make out, likely mixed.

Then it hit me.  A couple months prior our family had moved across the country.  Our black lab, Bogey, seemed to take it the hardest, missing his dog buddies back in Virginia who he played with on a regular basis.  There were few dogs he could play with at our new home so we talked about adopting him a "companion", perhaps a free dog from the shelter...  But that was just talk.  Then I remember the harpy's song earlier that day on TV and it all became clear.  I was "rescuing" a dog.
   
As I bent down to inspect my "free" $200 dog, she cowered on the floor, tucked one of her front legs completely under her body and began to chest-plow herself across the slick surface with pathetic short hops from her hind legs.  Grunting strange noises throughout this display and moving in no particular direction, she eventually reached some carpet, taking this to a whole new level that you have to picture in your head to fully appreciate.

Upon reaching the carpet, the increased drag of the material slowed her front end down, but gave her rear claws better traction, thus allowing them to almost catch up to her head.  With nowhere else to go, her backside was thrust high into the air as her legs continued their merciless propulsion.  To make matters worse, she still had one leg tucked under her body which caused severe lateral asymmetry.  This gave her a freakish ability to rotate about her own axis, and apparently she was unable or unwilling to stop.

I call it the "Whirling Dervish" and it can only described it as a self-propelled, perpetually rotating face plant.

I looked at the guy as she performed this maneuver for over a minute and informed him in a very matter-of-fact way, "This dog ain't fixed, she's broken".

She carries these around all day. 
We lose a lot of socks.

He assured me that she was sweet and just needed to get used to me, suggesting I try to pet her.  What the heck, I thought.  Besides, I had no choice but to stop her before she burned a hole in the carpet.   

As she was incapable of attaining any forward velocity in this absurd mode of travel, I was able to approach, kneel down and pet her.  She stopped moving, squinted her eyes and made a funny guttural sigh of relief.  After saying a few words to her in that high pitched voice we all use when talking to new dogs, she sat up, opened her eyes, and for a brief a moment, she looked like a semi-normal dog.  I guess her stupid pet trick worked because I felt sorry for her.  "I reckon she'll do", was all I said. 

As I wrote the man a check I could hear all my other choices barking in the other room and I had to ask myself, out of all those dogs, why the hell did I choose this one?  There must have been a reason.  I must have seen something in her...  I just had to figure out what that was.  Besides, if it didn't work out, the shelter had a liberal return policy.  For all intensive purposes, this meant that she was "out on parole."

To be continued...  

In the next chapter:  "My Idiot Dog - Out on Parole and Breaking All the Rules"

Observations & Lessons Learned:

Unlike this dog, mine can't write.
She actually did all those things and I honestly had my doubts.  However, she is not indicative of most dogs you can rescue from a shelter.  Most just need a loving home and $200 in bail money, I just happened to pick one that needs medication.

I have raised and trained a couple dogs in my time and they were all wonderfully behaved.  However, I got them when they were puppies, so they were integrated into the family and taught manners from an early age.  I have found that to be good at training a dog, it is best to understand pack mentality, positioning and behavior.  This is where many owners fail.  They think of their dogs as human, but the irony is that our dogs think of us as other dogs!  Why wouldn't they?  A family is a Pack.

This dog may have been the runt of her litter because ALL other dogs instantly try to dominate her, even tiny ones, but that still doesn't explain her excessive displays of submission.  (There are plenty of great runts out there.)  However, I can guarantee she was poorly treated by her previous owners and was probably greeted with a kick instead of a loving pat.  Consequently, I think she developed this premptive, uber-submissive maneuver with the hope that her "caretakers" would take pity on her.  I sure as hell did, because a sane person would have returned her right away.  But Hey!  I never mentioned anything about my sanity, that is between me and my therapist(s).   Let's just say that I was up for the challenge, with a plan to rehabilitate and transform her into a well (enough) adjusted member of our loving family.   I'll let you know how it turns out.

This is (was) my first "published" story and I would appreciate any constructive feedback, comments or stories about your Idiot Dog.  If you Do Not have something to write about, you can click on the link below and start your own blog!

FREE DOG (black magic, click with caution)


Thank you very much for reading.  Please feel free to share my story with others. 


Grrr,

RJQ

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