There’s just so much to do. I’m pretty sure his mental to-do list looks like this:
- Go outside. Patrol fence line for several hours. Ensure perimeter is secure.
- Bark at birds, random noises, people walking down the street, and air.
- Recline on hot, sun-baked concrete. Pant.
- Refuse to go inside.
- Secure perimeter. Bark. Attempt to tunnel under fence.
- Finally go inside. Refuse to let humans wipe paws.
- Pee someplace in the house. Humans can find it later. Or much later.
- Accompany humans on walk. Lose shit.
It’s that last one that’s really on my nerves.
See, Foxie has lived with me for 9 years. Or 10. I forget. Anyway, he was completely insane that first week, and my sweet, late Dr. Vet thought that a little sniparoo in the crotchal region would calm him down. But it didn’t.
That first year or 2, I managed to walk him by himself, and targeted times and routes that limited his exposure to other dogs. That way, I limited him screaming like a banshee. My attempts at training were not successful, so I practiced avoidance instead.
But then, I left Ex-Ex, and moved with 2 dogs into an apartment. If you’ve never lived in an apartment with dogs, I have to say … I don’t recommend it. Basically, it sucked.
I walked Geriatric Poodle and Foxie Doxie 3 times a day. And it was on 1 of those walks that I experienced my post-break-up rock bottom.
I’d lived in my apartment for about a week. It was freezing, and it had snowed. And I had not yet learned that I needed to abandon the retractable leashes for the shorter, I-am-the-alpha-and-you-walk-where-I-say-you-can-walk style.
Foxie saw a guy walking a husky on the other side of the street. A husky-breed dog, not a solidly build boy who has to shop in that special section of the JCPenney’s boys department.
That was all it took for my otherwise mild-mannered doxie to lose his shit – screaming, barking … and pulling.
It was icy. He ran to the end of his retractable leash, then proceeded to pull me and Geriatric Poodle down the sidewalk.
I yelled. It did no good. The guy on the other side of the street stopped, probably to enjoy the spectacle. I ended up with Foxie’s very long leash wrapped around my legs and a nearby fire hydrant.
Geriatric Poodle was nonplussed. I was on the verge of tears. Foxie was foaming at the mouth.
The guy across the street looked at us. “Do you need some help?”
I imagine he was trying to be kind, but I was emotionally frail. And so, I simply said, “No. No, just leave me here to die!”
So he did.
I unorigamied the leash and drug my little dachshund shithead back to the apartment. And then I cried. It was one of the worst days of my life.
Now, all that to say … we, collectively, as a dog and a doggie mama, must have come so far since that time. Except we haven’t.
I have Dog Whisperered the crap out of this dog. He is crate trained. He is affectionate and doesn’t mind baths. He lets me administer eye drops like it’s a walk in the park.
Except those walks in the park? Are still horrendous.
My Guy and I have basically decided that Foxie is just … special. And going to be crazy forever. So, we try to avoid other dogs whenever there’s a leash involved. We hide him behind parked cars. We make him sit mid-walk just to pull it together already.
But I’m still afraid that our neighbors catch one note of his scream and think someone is being disemboweled.
We’re good people. We try. A lot.
Foxie’s a pain in the ass, but he’s still my baby. My baby with a couple of screws not even loose, but completely missing.