Dogs I Have Ruined, Redux

Many years ago, I wrote an essay called “Dogs I have Ruined.” And it was a fun one, describing my life as a bad dog owner. You can take that either way; both my dogs and I were bad! Unfortunately, this slice of canine life has been lost to the double edge sword of computer meltdown and failure to save to disk. The only part of it I can recall is the opening line: Last night my dog crawled under my covers and ate my underwear.
Don’t you wish you could read the rest?
I was watching the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show this week, and was extremely excited when a sexy little wire hair fox terrier named Skye took the big prize, Best in Show. See, my first bad dog, the fabulously neurotic Dino, was a wire hair fox terrier, as handsome a lad as you ever did see. Unfortunately, while he was much beloved, he had issues! He ate an entire bathroom carpet (he may have been thinking, who the hell puts carpet in a bathroom—perhaps it was just a statement on bad interior design). He also ate my sister’s precious marionette. Dino was terrified of vacuum cleaners and thunderstorms, to the point that on two separate occasions he broke through fences during storms and ran away. He was found both times, but on the second incident it was after he had been hit by a car. Fortunately, we both lived through the trauma, and after that I would sedate him when storms threatened, with Dos Equis Dark, his preferred beverage.
Dino’s worst malfeasance occurred when I still lived with my mom, in the Chatsworth condo. He had a habit of barking incessantly when left alone, much to the angry annoyance of our neighbors. One day, as we were coming home, he escaped out our front door, and ran straight into the open door of our nearest neighbors, the very same ones that complained about him constantly. As they stood looking on in shock and horror, my mom and I ran through their house chasing him up and down their staircase until we could capture him and wrangle him out the door. Let’s just say it didn’t improve the neighborly relationships.
I tended to be forgiving of Dino’s antics, especially since I had acquired him through nefarious means. The statute of limitations has long expired on this crime, so I can safely confess. I had been searching for a little dog at pounds and shelters, to no avail. Getting discouraged, I happily accepted when my brother offered to drive me to a shelter in a neighboring county. There I found the sweetest looking little puppy, a terrier with a white body, tan ears and face, and a perfect black circle around his little tail. It was love at first sight, and I immediately ran to the office to claim him. I was told that he had just been found, and that there was already a waiting list of people who wanted him. They were going to hold him for a week, and then randomly select one of the eager prospective adoptive parents. Well, I wasn’t about to lose my dream dog, so the next day, the shelter received a phone call from a gentleman, claiming that he had lost a small terrier puppy, with a white body, tan ears and face, and a perfect black circle around his little tail. A few hours later, my brother placed my little Dino in my arms and, I’ll be honest, I’ve never regretted my crime.
Dino lived to a ripe old age, and eventually mellowed. Things became a little too calm in our household, which at the time we shared with Kerry and her awesome Lab Astro. That is, until Yahtzee, the Jack Russell from hell entered our lives.
If Dino was troubled, Yahtzee was satanic! We couldn’t blame a troubled, unknown past, or time in the doggie slammer, on his behavior. He was the first dog bred by some close friends, who had recently started a kennel for Jack Russell Terriers. This was before Frasier’s Eddie, nobody knew much about Jack Russell’s back then. What I came to learn, was that they are extremely mischievous, high spirited little dogs, who require a very disciplined and strong owner. Since I was neither, and of course I loved this little trouble maker with all of my heart, he challenged every rule, destroyed more property than even Dino, fought regularly with the much larger Astro, and generally turned our home into a battleground. And he was so darn cute and loveable when he wasn’t trying to kill or maim, that I found it impossible to tame him.
I tried taking him to obedience school, in the company of friends who all owned Rottweiler’s. Yahtzee terrorized them and all the other dogs in the class, and we were soon banished to one side of the field, apart from the other students. I’ve tried hard to erase the shameful memories from my mind, but I’m pretty sure he bit the teacher. I know he bit me at least once, when I reached in foolishly to break up a dogfight. He also bit my sister, who is practically an animal whisperer. She had even forgiven Dino the marionette, but she and Yahtzee never reached a détente.
Those were wild and noisy times. I was young and pretty ignorant about how to be a good dog owner, and unfortunately, I had selected breeds that specifically required robust and vigorous training and reinforcement. Many years passed, and both Dino and Yahtzee had gone to the happy heavenly hunting ground for dogs. I was living alone at that point, and decided I needed a dog with a much kinder and gentler, and perhaps even, less bright, personality. Hence the wiener dog! And I have to say, when I got my Louie Dog, it was a relief. He was so sweet, a little slow, and really, a very good dog. He may shrink at his own shadow, but he’s never tried to attack anyone or kill a puppet, and, thank God, he loves my sister. In fact, he’s practically a perfect dog. Well, except for that underwear eating thing. But that’s a story for another day.
The end, for now


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: