Posts Tagged 'naughty dog'

Dig Me Up a Piece of that Kit Cat Scat

It was a very cold, rainy, dreary Saturday morning, the kind of day when I’m glad I only have to go outside the couple minutes it takes for me to do my business in the grass. When Mom brings me back in and I shake the water off myself and wag my tail, I already feel as if I have put in a whole day’s work and have earned a day where my only responsibilities are scarfing down the kibble Mom puts in front of me, occupying my dog bed in front of the couch and barking at the occasional animal that enters our property.

     Of course, humans take life too seriously to spend the whole day being lazy, but on Saturdays Mom, Grandma and Grandpa will treat themselves to a little bit of laziness in the early morning hours: Mom sits at the dining room table savoring a bowl of oatmeal and a banana, while Grandma sips coffee and shares the newspaper with Grandpa. I, of course, am snoring in front of the couch.

     But before long, Grandma can be heard taking her last sip of coffee and stretching. Grandpa can be heard yawning and Mom is scraping the last morsels of oatmeal from the bowl. It is that moment when no one wants to admit it yet, but the newspaper has been read, the coffee finished, breakfast completed. It’s time to get to work.

     “So what’s the plan for today?” Grandpa asks at last.

     “I guess I should do some reading for school,” Mom says.

     “I was thinking since it’s too nasty to go out today, this would be the perfect day to work in the basement,” Grandma says.

     “I agree!” Grandpa says.

     I agree too! But I pretend to be sound asleep and oblivious to this conversation, so as not to draw attention to myself that if noticed, would put Grandma, Grandpa and Mom on guard and a rare opportunity would be lost.

     You see, there is a storage room just inside the basement, to the left of the staircase. I happened to be exploring this room shortly after joining this family three years ago and found the most amazing treats! But when I came up from the basement smacking my lips, Grandpa flipped out, yelled at me and put a barricade behind the door that only the cat can get around.

     But I have found with this family that when they have a big project to do, two things happen. They remove barricades so they can easily get from room to room as they are sorting, and they forget about me. In other words, if I play my cards right, I have a very good chance of getting a treat today!

     As I sleep, I am planning. This crime does take careful planning. If I make no noise at all, I can be naughty right under Mom’s nose because she is blind, but Grandma and Grandpa can see. So sneaking down while they are working would be risky. I could maybe sneak down while Grandma and Grandpa are gone putting stuff in the garage, but that might not take long enough for me to enjoy my treat.

     Wait! I’ve got it! They always stop for lunch which takes at least an hour! And they chatter loudly during lunch too! Perfect!

     All morning, I sleep patiently. At noon when Grandma and Grandpa come up chattering happily about all they accomplished, as they open a can of soup and pull the lunch meat out of the fridge, I continue to sleep, all innocent and cute on my bed by the couch.

     “Lunch is ready,” Grandma calls up to Mom, who closes her book with a sigh of relief that she has an excuse to take a break from reading and emerges happily from her room. This means the opportunity is approaching. Still I sleep patiently.

     But it isn’t long before they are seated around the kitchen table, fully immersed in happy conversation. I listen for a few minutes to make sure I don’t hear any mention of words like “dog” or “Gilbert” topics that would increase their awareness of me and could blow my cover. When I was pretty certain they were talking about what they had done in the basement, I very quietly stand up. The time has come. Usually I shake myself to wake up, but not now. Too noisy!

     Quieter than a naughty child, I make my way to the foyer, careful that my claws don’t click on the tiles. Soon I approach the first seven stairs, the most dangerous part. The steps are carpeted so I don’t have to be as mindful of clicking claws, but they are situated where Grandma and Grandpa could potentially glance over and spot me. I’m so excited and nervous all I want to do is run down these stairs, but I’m a big dog. That would make too much noise and I would be busted for sure. So ducking my head and hugging the wall of the staircase, I creep down one step at a time.

     The second flight of stairs down to the basement poses less risk of being spotted, but the steps are made of wood. Mom has very astute hearing. I’d better not get overly confident. I make my way slowly and calmly down these stairs and at last reach the basement where I discovered my theory was correct. They had forgotten about me! The door is wide open!

     Wagging my tail, I enter the room where I find a box of litter, stick my nose in and savor some delicious pieces of, let’s call it kit cat scat!

     When I have dug up all I could find, I run up the stairs unable to suppress the joy over my successful mission.

     “Uh-oh,” Mom says hearing me run up the stairs.

     “What?” Grandma says.

     “Gilbert just came from downstairs,” Mom states.

     There is no need to say anything more. They all know what that means.

     “Did you close the door?” Grandma asks Grandpa.

     He doesn’t even need to answer. The smacking of my lips as I enter the room nonchalantly confirms he didn’t.

     “GILBERT!” they all shout in disgust.

     Then they realize they cannot really punish me now that the deed has already been done. All they can do is sigh and laugh.

     “Well, you’re not allowed to lick me for a few days,” Grandpa says.

     “Why not?” I wonder. “I was just digging for a treat. There is no difference between that and digging through a candy bowl, is there?”

     Apparently there is, according to humans. I don’t understand it. But for months after this infraction, they will diligently check and make sure the barricade is up.

     But us dogs, especially labs like me, are patient and undeterred when it comes to pursuing guilty pleasures like kit cat scat. So I am always listening, watching, waiting. If that door is ever left open again, I’ll be ready.

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Thinking of You Kelso

Well readers, I know I promised in my last entry that the next entry would be about my internship experience. But in light of an event that happened last week, I couldn’t get inspired to write about internships. So the entry after this one will be about my internship, but I need to use this entry to set straight a lie I told in the early days of this journal. Actually, it’s not an outright lie, but you could call it a lie of omission. You see, in the beginning of this blog, I wrote a profile of Indy, our pet German Shepherd that died when I was in seventh grade, and a profile of our cat Snickers, who will turn eleven on June 20 but is still as feisty as ever. Then I wrote a profile of my brother’s dog Mojo whom we adored and loved to dogsit. In that entry, I remember writing that we did not have a dog of our own because we couldn’t find one that we felt was suitable to our family. Well, this is true, but what I neglected to mention was that for six months, we did adopt a puppy, but had to return him to the humane society as he had serious behavioral issues we couldn’t handle. I didn’t want to share this experience at the time as it was still a source of sadness, and a little bit shame for our family and I could tell my parents weren’t wild about me putting it on the internet. But in light of the event last week, I feel it is time to share this experience to clear my conscience. This dog deserves to be mentioned and to know he was loved even if we couldn’t handle him. And, sharing this experience might provide comfort and reassurance to any readers who happen to stumble on this blog and are going through or have been through a similar situation.

     So here is a letter I felt inspired to write to this dog whom our family named Kelso. I am also going to post it in the Note to Dog community, so for those of you who have both my journal and this community on your friends page, I apologize for the redundancy, but I felt that this entry should be in both places.

     So without further ado, here is the long overdue tribute to Kelso.

Dear Kelso,

     Do you remember me? My sister and I were the ones standing outside your cage at the humane society over eight years ago begging and pleading with Mom to adopt you. We had lost our beautiful, loyal German Shepherd six months ago and so desperately missed being greeted by a wagging tail when we got home from school or hearing a watchful bark when the doorbell rang that we fell in love with you on the spot. You were very mischievous, and I still remember being in the viewing room of the humane society with Mom trying to get you to settle down, to no avail. We were a little concerned, but figured that you were just being a typical puppy and we just weren’t used to puppies anymore, since by the time Indy died, she had been moving slow for a while because of arthritis.

     But once we got home, it soon became clear that your behavior was not typical puppy behavior. We noticed some aggression, and you were eating so many unusual things my mom feared you would be seriously injured or killed if you got hold of something one day when we didn’t notice in time. You would bark all hours of the night from your crate, and you could be playing outside for hours without relieving yourself, only to come in and relieve yourself in the house.

     Sure enough, my mom did some research and discovered that the behavior you displayed is characteristic for puppies taken from their mothers too young. We read some training materials and tried some tactics. But despite our efforts, it wasn’t long before I was afraid of you, and since our family didn’t have the time to give you the intensive training you needed, you spent most of the time locked in your crate. One day a little over six months after we had adopted you, Mom greeted me soberly at the school bus and told me she had returned you to the humane society. It should not have come as a surprise, as we had all realized we were not the right home for you for quite some time, but every day when I got home from school, you were still there as Mom couldn’t bear making that final decision. I only made her agony about this decision worse by accusing Mom and Dad of giving up on you. After all, though I don’t know the specific details about what happened to you before you came to the humane society, I do know it wasn’t your fault, and by returning you, I felt like our family had betrayed you. Besides, as much as I was afraid of you, I missed the presence of a dog in the house so much that I wanted to hold on to the hope that maybe you could be trained to overcome your trauma and become a beloved pet like Indy was. So when my mom greeted me at the bus that fateful day, I cried for two days.

     We never adopted another dog after returning you. The whole family was so emotionally drained we didn’t feel like we could handle another dog. But when we needed a doggie fix, my brother would bring his dog Mojo to visit. Remember him? You didn’t play nice with him as a puppy, but I bet you would think twice before fighting him now as he has become a big boy with a fierce bark.

     Then about three years ago, I received a guide dog named Gilbert. Although he is primarily my dog, he is so mellow and adorable he is loved by the whole family. In fact, Gilbert has healed our emotional wounds so well that I admit you hadn’t crossed our minds since he came home. That is, until last Friday afternoon when we got an unexpected phone call.

     “Do you own a black lab named Kelso?” the caller asked my dad. Apparently, you had been found running loose in a nearby town and the information in your microchip implanted by the humane society before we adopted you never got updated.

     My dad explained to the caller how we no longer owned you, but when he hung up and told me what happened, your memory came flooding back to me.

     I have matured a lot over the years, especially when I learned that even guide dogs are frequently returned by handlers who felt that the dog wasn’t right for them. Thus, I no longer view our family’s decision to return you as a betrayal. Spending your days locked in a cage because we cannot handle you is no way to live when there might be a family out there who would know how to train you in to a beloved pet or as my mom thought, someone with a sprawling farm where you could run wild, live happily and not get hurt.

     It has been a busy week as I am doing an internship now, but you have been on my mind constantly. How much have you grown? Is the fur on your coat still curly as I remember? Were you adopted by a loving family that was perfect for you and just ran away like dogs do, or have the last eight years continued to be traumatic for you and you were abandoned again? I don’t know how to find out. We didn’t think to ask the caller, and even if we had, they might not have known or been willing to tell what they did know since you are no longer our dog. So I guess I will never know. But there is one thing that has offered our family some hope that your life maybe did take a turn for the better. My mom said the town where you were found is surrounded by farmland.

Best wishes,

Allison, the youngest child of your former family

A Tail of Flatulence

I hope readers of this journal don’t finish reading this entry and decide that I am totally immature, but I cannot resist telling a hilarious Mojo story that happened one year ago today.      Every now and then, let’s just say, Mojo had gas issues, and last year on this date was one of his worst episodes. The whole family was sitting around the table, enjoying a wonderful dinner my mom had cooked to celebrate my grandma’s birthday, when from the corner, we heard a loud “tute”. For a moment, the room was silent with shock. It sounded like it came from Mojo, but we never knew it was possible for a dog to tute that loud! So we all decided it had to be my sister’s boyfriend who was sitting next to the dog. When all heads turned toward him, he said, “It wasn’t me! It was the dog!” Since he wasn’t the type of boy to do something like that at the dinner table, we believed him, and we all burst out laughing.
     Then, I don’t know if Mojo couldn’t help it, or if he was enjoying the attention, but he did it again! And a few minutes later, wow! Let’s just say we had to open a few windows!
     After this incident, it occurred to me that if I got a guide dog, he may be extremely well-trained, and have good manners. But a guide dog is still a dog, and some things are involuntary (laugh). Could my guide dog asphyxiate the class during an important lecture? (laugh) Fortunately, on the rare occasions when my guide dog has gas, it is silent, and not too deadly.

Memories of Mojo

After Indy died, my sister and I desperately missed the bark when the doorbell rang, and being greeted with a wagging tail when we came home, and we desperately wanted another dog. But we did not have any luck finding a dog at the humane society that was suitable for our family, so my parents decided they wanted to wait until I got my guide dog. At first, I was crushed. I was in seventh grade, and the time when I would be able to get a guide dog still seemed a long way off. I absolutely loved Snickers, and I think she enjoyed being the only pet in the house. We spent many happy Saturday afternoons with her purring in my lap, or chasing around a cat toy. Still every time I went to a friend’s house who had a dog, or heard a neighbor walking their dog, I was filled with a sense that something was missing. Indy was a special dog, and of course, she would hold a place in my heart that no other dog would be able to fill. But Indy made me recognize that dogs do not live very long, and I believed I could make room in my heart for another dog without forgetting Indy.
     Six months after Indy died, this ache for a dog was eased considerably when Mojo came in to our family. Mojo was a black labrador retriever who belonged to my brother who lived about half an hour away. He was not officially our dog, but I got to see him regularly, and we occasionally got to watch him when my brother traveled, or when he had to work long hours, and did not want to leave him home alone so long.

     Just like Indy, Mojo did not have the manners for a guide dog: he loved people so much he could not resist greeting them by jumping on them. But by then, I was bigger and stronger and thus could brace myself when all eighty pounds of him jumped on me (smile). His table manners were much better than Indy’s. Sometimes during dinner, he would stick his head through your arm and beg a little bit, but he never stole food right out of your hand or climbed on to a chair to lick plates. The only thing you had to hide from Mojo, believe it or not was bread! If a bag of bread was left on the counter, he would put his front paws on the counter, force the bag open, and eat the loaf! After eating three loaves of bread one week, we finally learned that anything else could be left out, but we had to put the bread away securely.

     And as far as his behavior toward Snickers, he was the exact opposite of Indy. He did not give the poor kitty a moment of peace! If he saw her, the chase was on, so when Mojo came, we didn’t see much of her. But he made for a wonderful pet, and a loyal watchdog, reminding me of Indy. His free spirit, and joyful outlook on life uplifted me, and even when my brother came to take him home after a visit, I felt a renewed joy for life, and would think about him and smile as I went about my school routine.
     What stands out most in my memories of Mojo was that he absolutely loved to play fetch. One of our family’s favorite stories to tell is when Mojo got loose, ran to a tennis court, stole someone’s tennis ball, and then ran to the fire station, and dropped the ball at the feet of a fireman to play fetch! Even animal control thought it was cute, and did not give my brother a sitation. He loved fetch so much that if you even said fetch or ball in a flat tone of voice, he would jump on you in anticipation, so we had to spell it! Mojo is the only dog our family has had that actually brought the ball back. Indy and my guide dog are both the type of dog that chase after the ball, and then lay down to chew on it. He could play fetch until you thought your arm would fall off, and even when he is panting and exhausted, you could tell he was disappointed when you decided he needed to rest.
     Mojo also amazed our family with his intelligence. We swear he understood English. He knew the difference when we told him to get his ball or his bone. In another favorite family story, my mom had opened the outside dorr and said to Mojo, “go outside so we can go to bed!” That is exactly what Mojo did: he ran outside, did his business, and then ran up to the bedroom! Mojo was the true example of the fact that dogs are more intelligent than we give them credit for.
     Since I knew that Mojo was the last dog I would get to spend time with who was strictly a pet, I admit I could not resist spoiling him the way a grandma spoils her grandchild (laugh). When my parents fed him, they gave him a normal bowl, but when I fed him, his bowl was filled to overflowing. When he was at our house, my parents did not want him on carpet, and absolutely forbid him from the furniture because he shed a lot. But when we were home alone, and he begged to be with me, I would let him lay next to me on the couch. Once, I even let him sit on my lap, even though he was way past lap size, and he was practically suffocating me. He wanted to lay on my lap, probably wanting to go back to his puppyhood, and it was too adorable to say no!
     Last year, my brother moved far away, and I have not seen Mojo in almost a year. My disappointment about having to part with Mojo was lessened by the fact that just a few months later, I would receive a guide dog, and he would truly be my dog. I absolutely love my guide dog, and he is much easier to care for because he actually has proper guide dog manners, and he is so mellow you would think he is an old dog. Still, every now and then, I confess I find myself missing Mojo, and his untamed joy for life, coming from a dog who would not have made for a good guide dog, but was a wonderful, unforgettable pet who will always occupy a place in my heart.

Memories of Indy

For the next couple days, I would like to profile the pets that I grew up with before my guide dog. Even though the pets I grew up with did not quite have the standards for obedience and manners required of a guide dog, they gave me many happy childhood memories, and I believe that growing up with pets who more than made up for their occasional disobedience with love, companionship and loyalty definitely gave me a wonderful foundation of compassion, and patience which has grown even stronger every day with my guide dog.
     My family got our first dog when I was four years old. She was a white German Shepherd whom we named Indy because we got her from a breeder in Indiana. When we first brought Indy home, she was an eight week old puppy who was so small she could not walk up steps by herself, and when my older brother camped out in a tent in our backyard with some friends, she could walk under the tent. But that didn’t last long! Only a few months later, she was so big that when she jumped on me in puppy excitement, she knocked me off my feet, and neighbors said she looked more like a wolf than a dog. And every time an ambulance drove by blasting the sirens, she would howl like a wolf too. By the time she was fullgrown, I think she was about five feet long, and weighed almost 100 pounds.
     For the first couple years we had Indy, I was kind of afraid of her. Like I said before, she would occasionally knock me down when she jumped on me in her excitement, and of course, puppies love little kids and cannot resist suffocating them with doggy kisses. It was too overwhelming for a quiet four-year-old like me! But once she outgrew puppyhood and settled down, I loved to spend hours just sitting next to her and petting her.
     On one memorable occasion when I was six or seven years old, the whole family wanted to watch a movie. Of course, since I am the youngest, my older siblings always played the seniority card, and claimed the comfortable couch, so that night, rather than sitting in a less comfortable chair, I decided to lay on the floor, using Indy as a pillow. Indy didn’t seem to mind this arrangement at all, and pretty soon, we were both fast asleep. I think my parents still have a picture of this scene.
     When Indy was alive, our family didn’t have to worry about animals in our yard, or unwelcome strangers coming to our house. She defended our house with a bark so loud and fierce that even after living with Indy for eight years, and even though I could expect her to bark when the doorbell rang, without fail, I jumped out of my skin every time she barked. My mom loves to recount one particular story. My mom was sleeping, because she was working night shift at a hospital at the time, when she was woken up by Indy’s bark. She looked out the window and saw a man with an advertisement for lawncare service coming to the front door. When the man opened up the screen door to leave an advertisement, Indy went crazy, standing right on the other side of the main door barking fiercely. Even today, Mom can still picture the man dropping the advertisement as fast as he could and running for his life!
     But what stands out most in our family’s collective memory of Indy was her appetite for people food. You could not ever leave food unattended when she was around. If our family decided to retreat to the livingroom and leave the dishes on the table, without fail, you could hear Indy putting her front paws on a chair, and licking the plates. One time, I was eating a baked potato, when I left for just a minute. When I came back hoping to finish my potato, my plate had been licked so clean you would have thought it had been through the dishwasher! Another time, our family decided to spread a blanket on the livingroom floor and have pizza. Indy especially loved pizza, and became especially daring whenever we had it. I had just picked up a slice of pizza, and literally was about to take a bite, when Indy pounced, and swiped it right out of my hand! We honestly tried to train her; we took her to obedience school and practiced discipline fifteen minutes a day when she was a puppy, but Indy had a mind of her own (laugh).
     Even though Indy definitely could not have been a guide dog with such terrible table manners, she made for a wonderful loving pet, and that is all that matters. Sadly Indy only lived eight years. Big dogs like her generally don’t live as long. As much as I loved Indy, I didn’t fully comprehend how much she impacted me and our family until she was gone. I think Indy taught me to live every day to the fullest, and enjoy every minute of puppy love when a dog gives it to you because you don’t know how much time you will have together. Even on days when my guide dog is being naughty, I make sure to be kind and patient with him, and make sure he wags his tail at least once a day so that he will never doubt how much I love him.