She’s so bad ass. Today she made Wootie cry, because she bit him when he tried to play with her soccer ball. Which is a basketball. And which does not belong to her.
We’re not playing Dumbball these days because it hurts Tweed’s feelings when we play and he can’t. He refuses to play with anything bigger than a tennis ball, so he’s not offended when he’s not allowed to play with the basketball. Piper’s making do, but I think she’s missing Dumbball, so it’s making her angry – hence the Wootie damage.
Dexter wanted to play too, but he sucks at it. First of all, he’s usually hiding behind something while eying the ball, so it makes it difficult to interact with him. When he does come out of hiding, he flies over and grabs the ball right when I am about to kick it. As a result I have accidentally kicked him in the face about 9 times, twice in the ribs and once I fell down. I can’t say I’m enjoying my puppy very much right now.
Actually, if I’m being honest, I am not really enjoying Dexter very much at all at the moment. I suppose it’s his age, but he’s downright pesty. Everything I try to do ends up with his face or feet in the middle of it; every cuddle I try to give another dog ends up with Dexter squashed into the mix; he bit the cat for getting on my lap while he was on the sofa; he smashed up my brand-newly planted flowerbed (which he has never, ever walked in before I planted things in it); he tried to kill the hand-raised friendly goats at farm I was visiting yesterday … every time I turn around he’s in my way. I swear I holler “get out of the way Dexter!!!” about 19 times day. Even when I try to interact with him in a positive way he ruins it somehow – this morning I tried for a snuggle and got a paw in the mouth and then very nearly a black eye when he clocked me with his hard, pointy empty head. I’m ready to throttle his skinny little neck.
And I’m not the only one. Piper has stopped playing with him altogether. Wootie hides when I put my boots on because when Dexter gets excited about a walk he turns into a tornado and jumps on every dog in sight. He deliberately lies down in front of Tweed and puts a paw on his face, which Tweed HATES so the poor old guy can’t get any peace. TWooie just bites Dexter whenever he flings himself into TWoo’s atmosphere.
He is The World’s Most Irritating Dog right now.
It may be selective memory at work here, but I don’t remember any of my other puppies going through a phase so irritating that I actually disliked them.
There are things I dislike about all my dogs, of course. I wish Tweed wouldn’t bark at trains. I wish Piper would shut up at breakfast time and not growl at everyone. I wish Wootie would at least pretend to pay attention to me. And TWooie, of course, could stop biting other dogs. But at the moment, I am hard pressed to think of anything to like about Dexter!
This too shall pass. He’ll outgrow this phase and I will love him again, I’m sure.
But it has gotten me thinking … when do you think a person should throw in the proverbial towel on their human-dog relationship? Is it ever okay to look at your dog and think “you know what? I just don’t like you and I don’t want to live with you”? In all my years of doing rescue, I think I have heard every excuse in the book about why someone is giving up their dog, but I don’t think anyone has ever said to me “I just don’t like him. I bought him, raised him and it turns out I just don’t care for his personality.” I wonder how many dogs are really given up not because they are too much work, or they dig up the yard, or their owners are moving or whatever, but really just because the owner doesn’t like the dog’s personality … I don’t mean because the dog has issues or baggage or whatever, but rather the human-dog connection just can’t fuse because for whatever reason, the human doesn’t like that particular dog.
There are lots of dogs in the world I don’t really like. I’ve had a few fosters that have gone on to homes that love them while I do a happy dance at their departure and break out the celebratory glass of wine. There was nothing wrong with those dogs in particular and they are all making people very happy in their new lives, but I didn’t much care for them and would not have wanted to live with them for 15 years. They just were not my cup of tea. But that’s okay, because I was just offering them a temporary halfway house anyway and they were never meant to stay forever anyway.
Do you think it’s okay to part company with a dog because you don’t like it? Or are you stuck with that dog for its lifetime? Is it ever okay to give up your canine because you just can’t mesh? I’m not talking about someone who would abuse, neglect or otherwise mistreat a dog they didn’t like, I’m speaking of your average, loving, responsible dog owner who just for whatever reason can’t find it in them to appreciate the qualities of a particular dog they decided to acquire. Someone who would go on to provide a wonderful home for another dog they got on better with.
Is it okay to break up with a dog?
Shut up Piper!
Personality, in a dog, is really important to me. I spend an awful lot of time with my dogs, so it’s necessary that we get on well. If I am going to spend 10-20 years with someone, I had darn well better like them, and that goes for the dogs too. That’s why we put so much emphasis on personality in our rescue, and why we work so hard to evaluate the dogs and why I write pretty in depth bios on the website. I want people to know about as much as it’s possible to know about a dog without meeting it, long before they ever decide to apply.
So it drives me absolutely CRAZY when people apply for dogs who are nothing more than a photograph. If I post a photo of a dog in the “coming soon” section, with absolutely NO information about the dog, inevitably someone will apply for that dog and usually with the world’s most irritating phrase: “I can tell he’s perfect for me!”
I always want to ask them if he’d still be perfect for them if they learned he was epileptic, or had three legs, or an obsessive-compulsive shadow chasing problem, or killed cats, or had mega-esophagus, or mange, or separation anxiety or was blind, or house soiled or … you get the idea. And I know that the dog is NOT perfect for them because when the dog has finally been assessed and has a bio up, those same folks are no longer interested because they need a dog that likes kids, or they don’t want to deal with car chasing, or they can’t deal with a shy dog or what have you and – !surprise! – the photo that was perfect for them is a dog that isn’t.
And it’s not just an occasional thing either. I mean, it happens with virtually every dog we post in the “Coming Soon” section. So it’s not a handful of people, it’s a whole teeming segment of the population who thinks they knew everything there is to know about a dog from a single photograph and they’re willing to sign over the next 15 years of their life based on that intuition. I think that’s crazy!
Because you know what? I think that a lot of the dogs that we get into rescue are there because someone just didn’t like them. Nice dogs with no real issues, people with flimsy excuses … I think that they just ended up with a dog they couldn’t love.
Not to change the subject, but you can see in this photo how much weight he ISN’T putting on his right front leg (the white one). That’s the one we’re xraying tomorrow. Wish us luck!
(and if you don’t ever hear from me again it’s because I have to skip Tweed’s breakfast in case of anaesthesia, and there’s a very strong possibility that he will kill me if everyone else gets to eat and he doesn’t!)