Tuesday, December 16, 2008

"Billy" the dog

What do you do when someone gives you a present that you don't actually want? I am such a bad liar, so I can't fake enthusiasm over things (or people for that fact) that I don't like. It is especially bad when it is a thoughtful (at least from the giver's view point) and expensive present to your kids and THEY like it...

"A" came and took my boys out to the pet store - the idea being to buy fish to replace the ones they had before that were electrocuted when the pump short circuited... I didn't even know such a thing could happen, but apparently it can. They came home with a dog - a puppy.

I am not a dog person, which I feel sort of bad about because in general they are pleasant animals that like anyone who is nice to them and they can be quite useful and helpful for people with certain disabilities. When you get a puppy, usually it is a given that if you treat it right, feed it, play with it, etc, it will love you - unlike a cat where even if you raise it from a kitten and pamper it, it might just not be that nice to you or anyone else - and will probably hate your kids - especially the small ones who pull their tails and try to ride them (of course some cats are very sweet, but you never know what you are going to get until they are all grown up when it is too late to give them back). But my problems with dogs are - 1) they stink - they have bad breath, they eat anything and everything (and their breath smells like it) and they do not clean themselves, so unless you do it on a fairly regular basis they will smell like everything they sniffed, rolled in, and stepped on; 2) puppies - unlike kittens do not come with an inborn only- poop-in-the-sand-and-bury-it-instinct, so until you "train" them, they will poop and pee anywhere they feel like; they lick you - I do not enjoy saliva baths; they jump all over you so you have to go change your clothes - or at least I feel I have to as I feel instantly dirty (same goes for when they lick me or I pet one- I must then go and immediately clean the area of my hand or body that touched or was licked by the dog). I have a cousin who loves her dogs like they are her children - they sleep in her bed; she thinks it is cute when they lick the lotion off of her legs... I can't relate to that at all.

Anyway, the boys were ecstatic and "A" was quite pleased with himself for giving them something that they had never had. "Where I am supposed to put this?" was my first question. He informed me that my spare room would be a great idea - I informed him that it would not be staying anywhere in the house. He told me I was being negative. I told him that I am not keeping some puppy which I have no idea if it has been potty trained or how it will behave in my house in a room with my art supplies and other stuff that I not yet unpacked from the move.

As we "discussed" this, the dog - that they named "Billy" because they thought she was a boy was sitting shyly by the door giving all the appearance of being a meek, mild mannered, quiet little thing so "A" thought I was being unnecessarily mean in banishing her to sleep in the courtyard, but that is where she slept - or rather moaned - all night. In the morning when I went out, she was sitting on the front steps - where apparently she had been all night - teething on the front door.

I was secretly glad to find out when I came home from work that day that when "A" had come and left his sandals on the front stoop before entering the house, that she had eaten them. I was less glad to learn the next day, when I came home from work, that she had also eaten my maid's slippers and my son's track shoes and had bitten through 2 leashes. When "A" was informed about this, he had to admit that perhaps my refusal to keep her in the house had a been justified given her destructive nature, and that maybe she was a bit of a handful.

She also turned out to be something of an escape artist. Every night, no matter what she was constrained with (so that she would not roam the court yard wreaking havoc on whatever she could find), she either bit through it or found a way to get out of it. So I got a chain - no way she could get out of a metal chain right? Wrong. The chain was fastened to the top of the wall with a leather strap. She climbed on chair and managed to reach the leather strap and bite clean through that. After that her chain was attached the big chain of an old metal anchor that I have in the courtyard (don't ask why I have it) she COULD NOT bite through that - which made her furious so she screamed half the night and ran in circles around the anchor trying to find a way out of the situation. When I came out in the morning, she was glaring at me sullenly from where she was wedged between the anchor and the wall with no room to move because she had got her chain all tangled up. So we have decided to have a dog house built for her...... let's see how that goes...


Monica C. Schreiber said...

I happened upon your post.

lease - dogs are highly social, intelligent PACK animals. Humans become their pack.

They will act neurotically and will "misbehave" if kept alone in a yard, especially if chained!! Puppies chew. It is what the do! Your dog deserves better than how you're treating it. It won't be long until the kids lose interest and the dog spends its life on a chain. This is agony for a social animal like a dog. See www.unchainyourdog.org or www.dogsdeservebetter.org

Please, I beg you: Think about it. Find that dog a new home.


Pam C said...

Housetraining a dog only takes a couple days and you might have 15 or so years together and Billy might be your constant companion and running partner. The puppy stage doesn't last long. But chaining her outside and not letting her live with her family in the house won't work at all. There are many resources you can turn to for assistance such as www.dogsdeservebetter.org. You obviously have writing talent. If you bring Billy into your home, she'll inspire you. Honest. And don't worry, you don't have to let her lick lotion off your skin if you don't want to.

desertmonsoon said...

Thanks for your comments... I appreciate them, and I can see you are both concerned for the dog, but believe me she could have a much worse life than she does.Let me clarify her situation because you seem to think she spends all of her time alone and chained.

As I said, I am not a dog person and don't like living in the same house with one - especially one that will rip everything I own to shreds and crap all over the place until I somehow manage to find the time (after working 10 -12 hours a day) to house train her. I don't have enough time to relate to my children the way I would prefer, let alone a dog. Not to mention, I just had surgery (not laser - the real kind where they cut and blood comes out and it needs to heal) on my eye, and I don't exactly want to bring extra germs and dog hair and things that could irritate/infect my eyes into the house.

I didn't want or ask for the dog. However, it has been given to the kids, and there isn't much that I can do about it. So I am trying to find a way to make the situation work for all of us (including the dog) because I do think that if you have one you should try to make it happy as best you can.

The UAE isn't exactly a dog place -the majority of Muslims don't care for dogs and would never keep them as pets and if they did - not in the house. There isn't even a dog shelter or veterinary hospital that I know of in this remote part of the UAE I live in so "finding her a new home" isn't so easy. The kids like the dog and would be upset if we got rid of her. Before she lived with us, she lived in a small cage in a pet store where she was usually ignored by the two guys who work there who chain smoke all day long in the store. (I had been in that store earlier so I saw what it was like and how the animals were cared for.)

I think given the options she has, living with us, albeit in our courtyard - going for walks outside in the field across from our house every morning and evening with my sons, and the rest of the time roaming free in the courtyard where the kids and our maid often go out so she sees and interacts with human beings off and on throughout the day (she is only chained at night - because for some reason, only at night, she goes nuts and tries to destroy everything she can sink her teeth and claws into) isn't the worst life a dog could have. The kids also bathe her several times a week and brush her and blow dry her hair a whole process that takes at least a couple of hours at a time and which she seems to thoroughly enjoy.

She is an animal and as such a house is not her natural habitat. In the wild, dogs are pack animals, but they also roam free and alone some times and enjoy doing so. I have seen many happy and healthy dogs that live outside and I don't think it is a must to keep them inside if you have a yard.

I don't think that animals that live in the house all day are necessarily the healthiest ones. She has a lot of energy and gets way more exercise running around in the yard and exploring stuff behind the house, than she would sitting in one or two rooms of the house - I bet she would be even more destructive if she was trapped in the house all day and not allowed out in the yard most of the time.

Anyway, I hope that clarifies her situation for you.

Anonymous said...

How is your dog doing? And how are you getting used to her?

Personally I think your friend made a big mistake when bought a dog without consulting you first. Because a dog is a living creature and it's not a small hamster or a bird, it's a DOG- a very sociable animal who needs a lot of attention and care. It's a BIG responsibility. Someone has to be at home all the time in order to feed and clean after her (imaging what would you do if you did not have a home worker- then it'd be hard to go away for few days as someone gotta take care of the pet)
So since your friend made a mistake and big troubles for you he is to solve the problem- take dog to his house/ return it back to the shop/ find a new master for her. It's not a small thing in my opinion. And I'd like to be sure such "sweet surprises" never take place again.

In case the dog stays (and it stays in your case) I'd make sure that children take care of her and not me. It's important to make them feel responsible, since THEY wanted the dog and were all excited. So let them walk her out, clean her poo (yes, yes, yes, let them do it), clean anything she makes dirty (dogs hair, vomiting, saliva). Let them play with her regularly as the dog needs it for her health.
So let them be in charge.

I give this kind of advice because I used to live with my elder sis and they bought a cute boxer puppy.
And it was me cleaning after the dog most of the time :)

I mean, if your children want a toy - a dog- let them face the other side of it too- the responsibilities. Why would THEIR toy (sorry, pet) bring inconvenience to YOU. Let them feel the real life.

desertmonsoon said...

Oh I think he made a big mistake too Asel I would never give that kind of present to anyone and what with having two kids and being a single mother I find my hands quite full as it is.

The boys do take care of the dog, they feed her, clean her, clean up her poop in the courtyard. She is free in couret most of the time now because she has stopped chewing up everything she comes across. So they only time she is restrained (on a leash) is when we take her out for a walk - so she wont run in the road and get hurt. She loves my oldest son the most.

My friend does do things with the boys and her as well - so while she doesn't get to live in our house with us, I think she is pretty happy

she did have a relapse of shoe eating not that long ago. I closed the front door to the house the other night, but didn't lock it - which had learned meant that she can throw her weight against the door and make it open and sneak in the house - when she does that she usually just looks around or sits and looks at us but this time she came inside and we were asleep (didn't give her any attention) so she stole my son's shoes and carried them out and ate them... I had to laugh at it though - the guilty yet defensive look on her face when I discovered his chewed shoes in the morning.

Anonymous said...

Great that your sons take care of the dog, it's very very good.

Seems like you are getting used to the dog and even like her alhamdulillah.

"chewed shoes" lol :) it must be familiar to anyone who ever had a dog

desertmonsoon said...

I meant free in the courtyard - I don't know how "couret" got there - so embarrassing to read my typos :(