Tuesday, February 1, 2011

one-dog family

REWIND: November 2009 was the month of the Buster.

We only got him because we thought our other dog, Maybe, needed a friend. That was not to be. Shortly after Buster's balls dropped, Maybe decided he needed to go. She expressed this by trying to kill him.

Unfortunately, we had signed a contract with the rescue saying that if Buster didn't work out, we had to return him. Also unfortunately, the rescue owner was a hoarder and the house was deplorable. There were at least 15 dogs that we saw, and upon procuring Buster, we had to treat him (and subsequently Maybe) immediately for fleas and bathe him several times to get rid of the smoke in his fur. We decided perhaps it was best not to return him (plus how could you say no to that face?).

The only other option we saw was training. We hired Scott, the militant bald guy who used to train bomb-sniffing dogs for the Army. We went through a myriad of training mechanisms, each more "effective" than the previous, from the "Trail of Tears" (a line of treats meant to lure Buster to Maybe, which he quickly learned ended in a scuffle), to remote-controlled shock collars. Overall we spent about $1000 trying to cure Maybe of her aggression, and countless hours walking these stupid dogs around the house on leashes. Might I add, Maybe is aggressive towards most other dogs, so the decision to train the dogs instead of just removing one was very deliberate. Anyway, this was as far as we got:
We couldn't seem to cure the crazy eye, though. After a relapse, we thought perhaps it was best to find Maybe a new home. We chose to give Maybe away because she's a much more social dog, and gets along with just about anyone, so long as they're human. My brother traded me straight across for a bunny named DJ (PS no one told bunnies crap their body weight every day).

My brother's still in college, and I was a little worried about sending her to live in a sketchy house with a bunch of dudes, but she quickly made herself at home. My brother posted this picture on facebook, dressed like the yuppie dog we trained her to be. In retrospect, I'm sad. I'm sad that we couldn't provide better for her, and that for whatever reason, she decided that she didn't like sharing her humans with other dogs. It was probably very stressful for her to live in the house with Buster (though I may be projecting human emotions on dumb animals). At least I know she's better off having a group of sappy guys at her disposal, but there is a slight sense of failure. I wonder if we couldn't have reconciled them had we picked a different trainer or sent her to a residential facility. But Mitch had a monetary threshold, and I'm pretty sure we surpassed that. I think we'll be a one-dog family from now on, but I just can't help perusing PetFinder.

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