I like dogs. I like their wet nose, sad eyes, wagging tail, lolling tongue. But I have a tale(pun intended) to tell. Our children are all off on their own now, and my wife and I tinkered with the idea of getting a dog, for whatever reason. Our life together since the kids are gone is marvelous, but we somehow thought a little doggy would enrich it even more. We figured a dog is less care and will eat less, and you don't have to give it gas money. So my wife contacted a friend of hers who breeds and owns lots of dogs. This woman is a lovely lady and knows dogs better than anyone. She cautioned that not all people are of the discipline to own and take care of these pets, and would consider giving over her best dog on a trial bases in order to ascertain if we all get along. Maybe she knew something we didn't.
A short time later the Owner appeared at the door with this beautiful purebred much-pampered dog. Her name was Molly. The Owner also provided a doggy dish along with other various canine accouterments. According to the Owner, Molly is a dominant bitch. I had never heard of this term before unless of course one was talking about Madonna. Apparently---and this is fascinating---if the pack has no Alpha Male present, then the Dominant Bitch will take over leadership. Dogs live in a pack world, not in a "it's your turn to do the dishes" world. So began the battle.
Molly, the dog, looked at my wife and I with keen introspection, quickly came to the conclusion that there was no Alpha Male here, and therefore commandeered the position of leadership. Sparks would fly. In my defense, I must say that I'm a kind of easy-going guy; not a pushover, but there's very little that will actually rile me. Contentious issues will seek equilibrium in time, with patience and understanding, but try telling that to a Dominant Bitch.
I liked that little dog, and devoted almost all my time to her. She had me right where she wanted me. This didn't go unnoticed by my wife, who by now was having "pack status" problems with Molly as to the second-in-command position. Molly being the First, of course. There were certain "favorite chair" issues which were quite funny, actually, but one wouldn't want to laugh right then. Also, Molly completely ignored any of my wife's commands and came to me with everything she wanted and I would oblige, willingly. Our pack was dysfunctional.
Molly would go to the door, eye the leash, look through the door window, turn to me and whine. I would jump up and get my coat knowing what she wanted. My wife said, "You don't have to jump every time she whines, you know!" I said, " I think she's trying to say something". To which my wife responded,"Yeah, I wonder what?". This was said wryly.
I bought Molly a pretty blue ball. You know, dogs and balls, fetch, fetch. Out in the yard, I threw the ball down the side of the lawn. Molly looked at the ball, then looked at me. I walked down and retrieved the ball, returned to the same position, all the time telling her what fun this can be. I threw the ball again. Molly looked a the ball, looked at me. I walked down and retrieved the ball. I did this a few times until I realized that there was something wrong here. All I needed was to hang my tongue out and pant and look over-eager and this fun-time would be complete. I did not tell my wife about this.
Molly curtly refused to eat a gourmet dog food my wife and I took a couple of hours to cook up, but hankered instead for my neighbour dog's freshly laid turd which she had seen---steam rising---in his driveway. Mmmmm. She would prefer this tasty morsel rather than the bland labours of our culinary skills. I had one hell of a time trying to keep her away from that choice of food. My wife was a tad angry about this, and to cool the situation I suggested we break out the wine and try this delectable doggy dish ourselves.
Anyway, After numerous incidents it became quite clear that either we were not "dog people" or our pack was beyond repair. So, the Owner was called(lovely woman, she understood), Molly's gear was packed up, and we awaited her departure from our now disheveled household. By the way, my wife is also an extremely neat and clean person and constantly grumbled about the dog-dirt about. She was conveniently absent when waiting for the Owner to appear, but emerged just long enough to say to Molly, "Molly, there's only room enough in this house for one bitch". I thought I heard Molly groan. Wow! I realized then that I was in the middle of something here and didn't really know it.
When the Owner arrived and opened the backdoor, I thought Molly was going to go completely berserk. She jumped so high I was sure she was going to put a hole in the ceiling or knock herself out, or both. She whined, cried, barked, hissed, and bolted towards the now open door where with two bounds she landed in the back seat of the waiting car looking hopefully to the horizon. Molly was gone with not even a by your leave. It was quite the experience. Maybe next time---if there will be a next time---I'll get an old Bloodhound who sleeps all day and you do nothing but step over him from time to time.
The books I was going to talk about were DOG WHISPERER by Cesar Millan--fascinating book. MARLEY AND ME by John Grogan, THE STORY OF THE SAWTELLE DOGS by David Wroblewski---I had some major problems with this huge bestseller. But the adventures of Molly took most of my time here, so I will take up these books in my next post. And we will revisit Molly.