“Dogs never bite me. Just humans.” Marilyn Monroe
I was working at the salon halfway through an overlay when my husband called. When I listened to the voice mail later he said he was sorry more than once.
“Honey, I’m sorry, really, really sorry,” he said.
“What the hell did you do?” I thought, sitting in the lunchroom, making a sandwich, waiting for it to warm in the toaster oven.
He went on and on for more than three minutes. I took a bite of my sandwich.
“Oh, my God, what did he do?” I thought louder than before.
“She was walking down the street,” he said. “She looked like she was trying to get hit by a car.”
“Oh, he rescued another dog,” I thought.
He said she looked so sad that he pulled over, turned around, went back, and picked her up.
“She was just looking for someone to hit her,” he told me over dinner. “She just wanted to die.”
He found her on the east side, on Superior Avenue on the far side of downtown. No collar and no tags. She was a purebred German Shepherd, between six and eight years old. He called his brother about her and he wanted her right away. But, because Brian’s brother has such a nasty, hateful girlfriend, she said no, and that was that.
He brought her back to our house.
I fell in love with her. She’s so sweet I can’t stand it. I don’t know if I’m going to be able to give her to anybody.
She lies on the sofa between us when we watch television. If we get up at the same time she doesn’t know which of us to follow. Wherever we are she’s right behind us. She lies next to our claw tooth tub when I shower. I have to step over her, which is hard to do with my short legs.
I was wondering what her story was.
I was going up the stairs to take a shower, stripping as I went, when I found out. I was taking my belt off when she almost pooped herself. She could not get away from me fast enough. She fell down a few steps before getting her balance back, and disappeared.
I was “son-of-a bitch” under my breath. All because I took my belt off.
When we got her she was sad and depressed. She wouldn’t eat for a week. At first she and I would share rice chips, She wouldn’t eat anything else and she wouldn’t touch dog food, but then she got back to eating it.
She had a bad ear infection, but, luckily, I had ear medication left over from the other dogs we’ve rescued.
Our vet came over to check her out because she had lumps on her chest, and to run her blood. Tracy, our vet, said they were probably fatty lumps and nothing to worry about.
Brian put a call in to the pound and left a description of the dog and his phone number with them, but no one ever called back.
I didn’t know if I was gong to be able to give her to anybody, but knew I would find her a home, even if it were only with another dog rescuer. Better than the one she had.
We put up dogs with other rescuers, passing them to each other, by word of mouth and Facebook. The day before Brian found the German Shepherd I had tagged my sister in to a Yorkie. My sister had had to put her Yorkie down.
“I want the dog,” she said when she got a hold of me.
I called my friend.
“When can I grab the dog?”
I drove to Elyria that night and picked up the little eleven-month Yorkie. He was going to be my sister and nephew’s Christmas present, but we had to fix him first, in more ways than one.
An elderly woman had bought the dog from a breeder, but she got sick and ended up in a nursing home. Her idiot kids locked the baby Yorkie in the garage for four weeks. They fed him, throwing some food into the garage here and there, but they neglected it.
He went from being spoiled rotten to having no one.
Finally, a friend of the kids took the Yorkie, but decided the dog was vicious.
“Oh, it’s vicious, vicious, it snarls at me, and lunges at me,” the lady said.
“All seven pounds of it” I thought.
“Yes, he won’t let me pass out of the kitchen.”
“Just give me the dog,” I said.
People are so stupid. Sometimes I hate them. Honestly, I’d rather hang out with dogs.
Most of the dog’s problem was that he was never neutered. That was going to take a lot of his attitude out right there. The rest of it was they let him act like that. You don’t let a dog act like that. You are the alpha dog. He learned real quickly who was the alpha dog in our house.
When they’re aggressive you have to show them you’re more dominant than they are.
I said no, and he growled, and went to bite, and I picked him right up and put him on his back. If it’s a little dog you put them on their backs. If it’s a big dog you press on their backs until you hear the sigh of release.
“We don’t do that in this house,” I explained.
I put him in a cage.
“Ugh,” he said.
But, cage training is better. I wasn’t going to hit him, or any other dog.
After that he was a delight, running around on the couch, playing with his rope and toy. When I gave him to my sister I explained how to be with him, how to train him when he acts out, and to make sure she had a cage, just in case.
The next day Brian came home with another Yorkie.
“It’s for my cousin,” he said.
Brian’s cousin Clint had been a heroin addict who had to have his legs amputated.
“He isn’t still using, is he?” I asked.
Click here to see more writing between fiction and non-fiction by Ed Staskus.