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Thursday, February 11, 2010

Evil Izzy

I love dogs. I love my dogs, I love other peoples dogs - I really just like dogs in general. So about 10 years ago, I accidentally started adopting senior small breed dogs. Seniors are my favorite. All they do is sleep. Occasionally they will eat, or sit in your lap, or even grab a toy and run a couple of feet before collapsing from exhaustion. But mostly they sleep. The other good thing about seniors is that if you don’t bond with them, or they’re not exactly what you had in mind, it doesn’t really matter, because they’re not going to live that long anyway. I know that sounds horrible, but when you have a deaf, blind dog that ignores you and pees on the floor, it helps to know that it’s not going to last forever.

After burying 10 dogs in about that many years, my friends took pity on me and gave me a pug puppy. I thought if I raised my pug with seniors, then of course he would be calm, and easy going. My vet found that hysterical. After numerous calls to her about my pug destroying my shoes, eating questionable items, chewing a hole in the wall, and in general driving me and everyone else, canine and human, in the house crazy, she suggested I get him a puppy friend. As luck would have it, his father had just been bred to a llasa apso and a few months later, he had a brother. Now I had twice as many horrible, obnoxious creatures that bite my feet when I walk through the grass and pee with excitement when I come home. Great.

Somehow I survived the puppy stage (though numerous shoes did not) and I vowed I would never again have a puppy. My seniors continued to come and go, and my pups grew into halfway manageable, loveable dogs. I had a very bad year, in which 3 of my seniors died within a few weeks of each other. It was expected, since they were all between 15 and 17 years old and had been with me for several years. Right before the 3rd one died, I received a call from the folks I had gotten one of my toy poms from. They had a senior Chihuahua that had been lost and needed a home. Well, I had one lonely senior left, so I said what the heck, and went and got him to be her companion. Five days later, Lucy died and I was left with the Chihuahua.

I don’t like Chihuahuas. I firmly believe they are the epitome of all things evil. Dax, who I call Doodle, changed my mind. He is the sweetest, neediest little creature. He wants to be with me all the time, will lay down and take a nap with me anytime I want, and will joyfully frolic with a toy when I come home from work. He won’t eat unless I’m in the room with him, he tolerates me putting little sweaters on him, and his entire world revolves around me. He lulled me into a false sense of security and made me think Chihuahuas were nice little dogs.

So it’s not surprising that when the same folks called and told me they had a little 14 week old female Chihuahua who had a broken shoulder, worms and the mange, I somehow forgot that I dislike both puppies and Chihuahuas and said , sure, I will take her. Poor little thing.

What I inherited was a 5 pound whirling dervish of teeth and bad attitude. I would try to hug her or pet her or hold her and she would try to dismember me. Anytime I reached for her, she would peel her teeth back from her little puppy fangs and snarl. So, being clever, I bought a muzzle. What didn’t occur to me is that I would actually have to get in range of her mouth to put the muzzle on. What ensued was a 20 minute battle of gnashing teeth, bloodshed, a whole lot of cursing, and at the end of it I had a dog hiding behind the couch with a muzzle wrapped around her back leg. There weren’t enough band aids in the house to tape my hide back together. Then her big girl teeth came in, and her baby teeth didn’t fall out. Now I had a Chihuahua with the mouth of a shark. Of all the dogs that didn’t need a second row of teeth.

I took it to the vet on the pretense of getting its razor sharp talons clipped. What I really wanted to see was how they got a muzzle on her. So I told them she bites, they went and got the muzzle, and I prepared to take notes. I then enjoyed the antics of 2 attendants trying to hold her, with another attempting to muzzle her. In the end, they just got out an elbow length padded glove through which she attempted to ravage them while they clipped her nails. I felt better.

Not a day went by that I didn’t pick up the phone 3 times to call the people who had “gifted” me with Satans spawn to tell them to come and get her. But I am not a quitter. So we continued to hate each other. One night I was watching tv and noticed that at some point she had jumped into my lap and was curled up sound asleep. That was when I discovered I could pet her when she was sleepy. I also discovered that she would do virtually anything for a cookie and took to walking around with the things in my pockets.

Now, after months of bribery, I have a dog who is excited to see me when I come home, loves to sleep with me, only tries to bite me if I take her toy or chewie from her, and spends the evenings curled up in my lap. Admittedly, she torments the senior Chihuahua, takes the Pugs toys, takes everyones bones and hoards them in a pile which she guards ferociously, buries things in my garden, dines from the catbox, and escapes under the fence at every opportunity. She barks insanely at her reflection in the window, pulls all the stuffing out of her babies, shreds rolls of toilet paper, and can’t be trusted alone for 5 minutes. But I think it’s getting better.

Last week she only growled at the vet.

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