Does everybody that has a dog have “dog friends”?
Human friends that you’ve met while out with your dog, not friends that are dogs, although I have those, as well.
Two of my dog friends, Stu and Miri had a tough week.
When the week started, they had a determined little cuss of a snowball pooch named Darby, a bunny called Daisy, and a new puppy.
By the time the week ended, they only had Darby. Daisy had suddenly died, and the puppy had to be returned to the shelter.
Poor Miri was gutted and shed tears from both guilt and loss. I felt terrible for her.
Because Petey and I, years ago, had had to do the same thing.
When we’d been married for a couple of years, we got an adorable, shy, Chow puppy. We named him Harry. And, although he remained skittish of strangers, he loved us fiercely and we loved him right back.
When I was pregnant with The Kid, we began talking about getting a canine companion for Harry since he would no longer be an only “child” and our sole focus.
One day when The Kid was about four or five months out, we saw an ad in the paper. A local family had a chow who’d had a surprise litter—half chow and half something else. They needed good homes and we thought our pup would enjoy being a big brother and teaching a youngster the doggy ropes.
We visited and came home with a half chow, half maybe-German shepherd female pup.
We named her Bess (Get it? Harry and Bess? As in Truman?)
There is an old wive’s tale that if you want to make a dog mean, you feed them gunpowder (Absolutely don’t do this, it’s cruel and could kill the dog). I’d never heard it before we got Bess.
But Petey mentioned it one day. Because Bess was in constant, destructive, mischievous motion.
She knocked over houseplants and played in the dirt. She chewed woodwork, furniture, and cabinets. She put holes in any clothing she could reach.
But she saved her real evildoing for Harry and me.
She seemed to like Petey. But she chased poor old Harry upstairs and down, from one room to the next. The only peace he ever got was when Bess slept, but he kept eyes on her because she could be awake and attacking in a split second. He was a little faster, but she bit at him whenever she could reach him. After a while, his fluffy Chow Chow tail was a sad, hairless, pink stalk.
For me, she had two signature moves. She’d come up close to me and look at me with her adorable puppy face. I’d scratch her under her chin, and she’d lean in. Then she’d jump up and bite me in the face. Luckily I’d just end up scratched by her very sharp puppy teeth. And, I never learned. I’d fall for it every, single, time.
Her second move was much more dangerous.
When I walked up or downstairs, she would weave her body in and out between my feet.
But, remember, I was pregnant. We tried training her out of the behaviors, but she persisted. We had no choice, for Harry’s sanity, my safety, and the health of our unborn child; we had to give her up.
As I told Miri, finding a dog is like falling in love. When you’re ready, the right one will come along and become a member of your family. But sometimes the wrong one will make a brief appearance and try to bite your face off.
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