Dogs in Distress - a good cause and a great experience Part Two

Continued from Part One.
There was no car accident. If there is, it's metaphorical. I learned a few things about myself when I took the dog in. I consider myself a patient enough individual. But when it comes to dogs, I need to be a bit less of the psychoanalyst, and more commonsense. For instance, I was instructed by Kathy at Dogs in Distress to ignore him when he barked at me. The advice paid off, and he would stop barking within a minute of realising I was ignoring him. It was a concern, as pets are frowned upon at my place, and he was taking too long to stop the yapping.

Honestly, I have found difficult toddlers easier to appease than my little guy. But no toddlers have stayed as long with me as Hobo had.

I had few answers that appealed to him, other than his insistence that we get out of the apartment when he saw other dogs in the park, or other curiosities to investigate further. Rolling a ball towards him indoors would be met with his own tokenistic chase after it, as if he were the one entertaining me. He loved his cuddles, and he loved play once we were outside the confines of the apartment. My dilemma was either frustrated overstimulation for Hobo, as he observed things passively from the balcony, or curtains drawn and darkness, with the telly on, which I wasn't willing to even test, given the glorious weather.

I had noticed that he was so impressed with my own barking that he initally hadn't believed it came from me. He looked around, thinking there was another dog present. It's not in the handbook - and maybe it's not advisable - but perhaps when he barked at me, I should've barked back to see if that would shut him up, out of sheer surprise that I could respond to him in his Warrior tongue. Kaplah!

I had to get him out of the apartment for fear of complaints from the Residents' Association or the apartment block management company. There was a missive from the management company in August, discussing pets generally and loudness. It was after Hobo had been with me.

I had asked Kathy if I could hit him, or tap his nose or something. I have no doubt that she thought I was the spawn of Satan, even asking that. But she also understood I needed a quick fix, and crushing a Valium into his dog food wouldn't do the trick. I felt like a resident of wartime Amsterdam, trying to hide members of the Jewish community in my attic.

"Sshhhh! You'll get us both killed!"

The dogs that come from shelters are sometimes somewhat dysfunctional, as they have suffered the trauma of abandonment or perhaps bereavement. That's not my excuse. Hobo was FINE before he encountered me. He was a gorgeous, shy, agreeable little chap. I was warned that he might forget his bathroom manners, and I was told to expect him to be sick. None of this happened. He did do a fake wee on a black bin liner at one stage, placed there for that just-in-case purpose. But I think by that stage he was actually just telling me what he thought of me and him being at home when we could've been out. (I could tell by the way he glanced at me when he did it. He cocked his leg and glanced at me as if to say "Now, I didn't do a whizz just now, but that's what I could do if we don't get out of here, buster!")

Most of the time, he really showed his love and affection. But he wasn't happy in a first floor apartment. He loved HOUSES with GARDENS, and he was reluctant to leave them if we visited one.

I can't just live anywhere, I would try to explain. We have to go home. And he would look at me when we were leaving a house, thinking: "I'd rather stay here than go back to the apartment, you know. Just sayin'."

About two days into my canine friend's stay, a long required spring clean took place in the apartment, while he mostly sat on the couch watching me, amused at my scrubbing and mopping. I really should've done this before his arrival, or on the day he came, but I had devoted a lot of time after he did arrive to making sure he had a little bit of routine, involving walks and plenty of attention and massages, and scratches and backrubs - although even that ended up backfiring, as my own routine was too haphazard.

On the evening when the big clean was finished, we were sitting at the balcony door, watching the park across the street. He looked up at me while I held him, and he got up and then he put his front paws up on my knees and gave my face such an aggressive, minute-long licking, that I laughed at his gratitude and pushed him away several times before holding him again.

He got frustrated sitting on the balcony, rather than having a garden. When we came home, he would often sit or stand at the bottom of the stairs - although well able to mount them - and look up as I looked back, while I was asking him to come up to the first floor. He sometimes flat refused, and I had to carry him up. The expression "flat refusal" would be a perfect way to describe his displeasure at his foster accommodations.

He would come in off the balcony in the glorious summer heat when we were at home, and look at me in the kitchen or the living room, and to say that he seemed curious as to why we couldn't go out and about - when we were both physically present in the apartment - would be an understatement. I have a few guests who like to stay, although I often have a lot of mess and disorder. But this little house-guest wasn't too pleased.

Continued Part Three.