My cell phone rang while I was out doing errands. “Hello?”
“Hi. I’m here at the animal shelter, and I was trying to give my Chihuahua to them, but they said he is too aggressive…if I leave him here, they say they will have to euthanize him. They gave me your number and said you might be interested in trying to re-train him?”
This is how our adventure started with “Killer Peanut” as his former family had named him. We decided a cuter, friendler name was in order, and my oldest son Jackson liked “Pete”.
When I met the owner to take Pete, in the parking lot of our local mall, she gave me the brief rundown on his behavior issues: He bit many people who tried to pick him up or pet him, he lifted his leg around the house (mostly when he was “mad” at them, she said), and sometimes he chewed on things. His first birthday would be next month on November 2, and he’d recently come from Tennessee – which was the biggest reason she cited for trying to give him to the pound: they were looking for housing and had Pete and a Rhodesian Ridgeback mix that made it more difficult. Of course, that doesn’t make complete sense concerning Pete, because why would they be dumping him off at the pound, the 8 pound dog, before the 65 pound dog? Who could take a tiny dog who was used to sleeping under the covers of his owner’s bed every night his entire life, and put him in a drafty, noisy concrete shelter where he’d be freezing cold and all alone? One look a Pete shivering in her arms, his eyes darting around, and I knew he was a very insecure, frightened guy. What an unthinkably cruel idea for a dog like him – to put him in such a terrifying situation.
When she attempted to hand him to me, he exploded as we expected, so she put his leash on, then I used it to hold his teeth away from me while I lowered him to the ground next to me by his scruff. He was twirling and snarling, his little teeth flashing. Once there, he quieted, lifted a front paw and studied me with the most intelligent, questioning eyes. I studied him back, ready for the adventure of bringing a tiny, potentially nasty little animal into my house packed full of three dogs three cats and three kids!
How has it gone? (Hint: Pete is curled on my lap, deeply asleep now, being scratched on his ears intermittently by my 4-year-old son Izaak…) Story to continue later…