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I have come to a conclusion: I am not the master of my dog, at least not in his adorable brown eyes. No, to my furry beast, I am a slave, a large, fur-less, biped slave with handily opposable thumbs. When he whines, I walk him. When his water bowl is empty, I fill it. (And the number of times that bowl needs filling, you would think this dog spent his days criss-crossing the Sahara rather than lounging sleepily on the couch, which we cover with a blanket JUST SO he can jump up on it.) When he looks at me, looks at his empty food dish, and looks back at me again – intently – I feed him. Sometimes he throws in a little lick of the dish for emphasis. I am so soft. I melt. I reach for his cookie jar.
He can be fast asleep, but if I so much as touch the lid of that thing, he knows and comes running across the room and assumes the position. Sit, look up at me, a whine and a meaningful shift of the legs to tell me he wants a cookie. Now. Yes, perhaps a trick is the price of the treat, but lets face it, he does not do so much as what I tell him as whatever he thinks will look enough like a trick in order to win the food. And you had best believe, the eyes are on the prize the whole time, not the giver of it.
Of course, being a slave gives me lots of exercise. At least twice, you’ll find me running down the stairs with the dog leading the way whether it’s cold, hot, raining, snowing, or blowing. He’s got me on a schedule for those too. When I come out of my room dressed in the morning, he’s waiting for me. And in the evening too, when I’ve finished my dinner, and I do mean the second, the dog seems to say, “Okay missy, you’re done, it’s Levi time. Let’s go let’s go let’s go!” I do like these twice or thrice daily walks (the husband claims to be made of stronger stuff when it comes to the furry little tyrant so I end up giving in and going more often methinks), but still… sometimes I wish I could go a day without looking at the vacant old asylum next door or the creepy trees along the pathway. And Levi’s a stout, strong dog with no sense of direction and tendency to sniff endlessly at random clumps of grass… he’s not the easiest dog to walk.
So he’s pretty much got me where he wants me, this dog of mine. What am I getting out of our relationship, besides an admiration for the ability to survive solely on looks and charm? Wish I could do that, by the way. In his own way, Levi’s pretty low-maintenance. He doesn’t care about toys so I don’t have to buy him loads of $$$ chew toys and kongs and tennis balls. He doesn’t bark at other dogs like some of the little yappers around here, nor does he mess up the house or destroy things. Last, when all his needs are met, he’s a total couch potato. A big brown snoring lump by your side.
For all that he runs me, he does give me companionship and occasionally entertainment. It’s been almost two years since we got him, and there is satisfaction for me in how much Levi has bonded with us and trusts us. He lets us play fight with him, and occasionally even lets me give him a belly rub. He sometimes even lets me hug him without resisting or giving what Don calls “get away from me kisses.” Lick, distract, squirm, and where’s the cookie, that’s the technique.
I take secret joy in the fact that this bonding has happened pretty much at the exclusion of every other human on earth. My dog is a one-woman dog and that’s fine with me. I’m pretty much of it has to do with the regular food supply. One day when we thought we had lost him, it turned out he had run back around the building and straight for the front door. He knows where his food dish is. The only other people the dog is not terrified of are the ones who have fed him, like my uncle, a reliable source of wieners.
Objectively, my dog is cute. People always want to pet him, but he sometimes practically jumps out the way. The most he’ll do is very tentatively sniff a hand. I try to tell him that no one is ever going to hurt him, that I’ll protect him. I try to pet him reassuringly as he lays beside me on the rug with his head stuck as far under the coffee table as possible. He sighs, maybe falls asleep down there. I’m a good slave to the wee beastie.
About a month ago, I found a puppy abandoned behind my building and called the SPCA to collect him. He has now been adopted! A couple weeks ago, the new owner sent me an email with a picture of the little guy looking a little fatter and a lot happier.
Yay for the Internet!
Yesterday, I was worried about the fate of a puppy I found behind my building. We called the animal shelter this morning to find out what has happened to it. They have the dog at the shelter, and the owner has not come to claim the dog yet. The shelter holds the animal for 96 hours, and then it goes up for adoption. It seems unlikely the owner wants his or his dog back.
So I’m putting this out there: if you are interested in a cute, friendly dog that needs some food and love, make a date to go down to the New Westminster animal shelter and see my little tripod friend. She’ll probably go up for adoption on Wednesday or Thursday.
Here is the contact information for New Westminster Animal Control:
Address: 231 Ewen Avenue
New Westminster, B.C.
Office Hours: 8:30 – 4:30, 7 days a week
The person at the shelter said the puppy is doing very well; she’s healthy and eating happily. Please pass this on to anyone you know who might want to adopt a puppy. Thanks!
As some of you already know, I have a dog. We found him last year through Petfinder and adopted him from the West Coast Spay and Neuter Society. Levi is now 5 years old, and we don’t know a whole lot about his history, other than the fact that he was found running alongside the highway.
He might have been abused, since he tends to growl and then hide from visitors, especially men, and is easily spooked by strange people and objects. He might have been a stray for a very long time, since he spends most of his time on walks with nose to ground, looking for food, and often tries to eat napkins, fast food wrapping, matchbooks, and anything food-like left on the ground such as pizza crusts or bones. He also eats grass and dead leaves from time to time. Levi definitely has definitely come a long way in the last year, but he does have these indelible quirks.
This morning, I was walking Levi in the park behind out building. Under a tree, I saw a little dog laying calmly in the grass, but no one was around. It was a puppy – a Rottweiler cross with long black fur. Such a pretty face. Levi, of course, wanted to greet the little guy, and one thing about Levi is that he’s wonderful with other dogs. The puppy showed no fear, didn’t run away, wagged his tail. I approached the puppy and noticed that although it wore a collar, the identity tag was missing. He was also missing part of one his front paws – but he hopped around quite happily on three legs, soaking up my petting and praise.
Obviously, I couldn’t just walk away – but what to do? Scoop him up and take him inside? Call the SPCA? If I went inside to get some food for the dog, a phone number, and a leash, would the little guy run away? If I called animal control, would the dog be in danger of being put down? (Unfortunately, the number of adoptable, homeless dogs far exceeds the number of good homes.)
A neighbour came out to walk his dogs, and I called to him for help. He went inside to look up the number for the local animal shelter, but he was taking awhile, so I took action. I ran up to my apartment with Levi, looked up the closest SPCA in the phone book, stored the number in my phone, grabbed a dog treat, and the extra leash, and ran back outside. The puppy was still there, so I fed it the treat, put the leash on it, and called the number. It was the wrong shelter for my city, but they gave me the right one to call. The animal control person on the phone said they would be there in about 20 minutes.
It was so cold this morning and had started to snow. The puppy had lovely long fur, but it had no body fat to keep it warm. It shivered, and when I petted it, I could feel all it’s rib bones jutting out. My neighbour brought out a dish of water, and the puppy gulped down all the water in less than a minute. My neighbour brought a second dish which was drank just as quickly. He thought too, that the puppy was abandoned, pointing out that a glop of dog food had been left on the grass.
Together, we walked around to the front of the building to wait for Animal Control. The puppy was obviously scared of the noise from the construction across the street, and I remembered how scared Levi used to be when we first got him. He would stop and refuse to go any further if he heard the noise of big trucks, cement mixers, or other construction noises.
We made small talk, and I confessed that I was scared that the puppy might be euthanized if he wasn’t adopted. Maybe we were rationalizing, but we talked about how friendly the little guy was, how cute and young he was, too. The only sticking point for someone might be his tripod legs – I didn’t want to think too much about what happened to half of his front paw. I half-hoped that perhaps someone from our building would come out, see how cute he was, and decide to spirit him home on the spot. I thought about taking him upstairs with me. I wondered if I ought to take him home and try to find a home for the dog myself, instead of just calling the city to take him away.
The Animal Control van arrived, and the officer recognized the puppy right away.
“I know who he is. The owner lives not too far from here,” she said. She also mentioned the dog had just been spayed and licenced a couple months ago. She gave the puppy a treat, loaded her into the van, and off they went.
I wasn’t comforted to know that this dog had an owner who is known to Animal Control. Had I just sent a defenseless animal back to its abuser?
My neighbour said “Well, I guess we’ve done our good deed for the day.” I’m not sure about that.
Last night I went to the PNE. The PNE never changes – Superdogs, the Mooternity Ward, Win a House, Win a Car!, the Coaster, those mini doughnuts. I went with my usual PNE date J. (the husband can’t stand the PNE) and as we were standing in line for the nth time, I asked him “Have you seen any cute girls here yet?” J., single, almost-divorced, 30ish, replied, “None that wouldn’t make me a criminal.”
I feel a bit elderly in the midst of an ever-youngening crowd. Is that dizziness I feel coming off the rides? Is the Coaster getting faster and rougher? And who are all these skinny blond girls?
Kind of a cool thing about this years’ Fair was that they brought back a bunch of the old rides and set them up in an area that’s usually just a passage to and from the parking lot. Poor J. had suffered a mild concussion only a week ago, so by the time we were working our way out the gates, he couldn’t handle too much more whirling. I went on the Gravitron (now renamed the Starship 3000) and felt a bit ill from the extra-long ride. I recovered enough to convince PNE date to go on the 1001 Nachts with me (Nights? What the hell is a Nacht?) J. was done. I didn’t push it on the issue of the Tilt-A-Whirl.
I always wanted to take a poll where the question would be: “Am I annoying?”
The Johari window seems to be the bloggy thing of the week, so here’s mine. Go on, tell me what you think of me.
Between moving, adopting a new doggy (yay, Petfinder!) and the pay-to-get-in, pray-to-get-out funhouse that is Print Futures, I’m having trouble finding the time to just write. It’ll come to me.
(By the way, the handsome boy to the left is Levi.)
In case you didn’t know, I am obsessed with border collies. I wish I could be a foster home or adopter of one of the gorgeous creatures on this site but currently live in a no-pet building and have a job mostly outside of the house, for now. Smart and crazy, border collies practically define high maintenance.