Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Lala: The Latest Addition



Lala was adopted three months ago. I was flushed with the rescue-mom success that I had had with Daisy and Sam, and after a year I decided to add to the family. Like Daisy before her, she managed to melt my bleeding heart upon first sight at Petco.

She was both lovely and elegant with her glistening black fur and quiet gaze. I had to beg the Man to let her join our ranks with all the usual promises of, “I’llfeedherandloveherandwalkherandplaywithherandhelphergetbetter.”
I was NOT prepared for our first real interaction.

I had been given glowing reports over the character and behavior, so I was an easy sell. The words “great with kids,” “obedient,” “quiet” and “playful” rang happily in my head as I drove to pick her up from her foster parents. She was nowhere to be found. After the recent babysitters dragged her out into the open sunlight, she trembled and crouched toward the safety of the shrubbery. Her latest foster parent threw in the consoling word of advice, “Well, just make sure that she gets some training. She seems like she’ll need it.”

So with that I loaded her up in the car and headed home. Give or take the 45-minutes that she killed by acting as a 50 pound, fur-covered cozy for my gas and brake pedals. She refused to eat for the first three days, ignoring the food bowl and only lapping sporadically at the open water bowl. Then she made messes in the house for two weeks after that, although she was classified as house-trained.

After rapid crate-retraining invervention, she's become the model dog: quiet, obedient, docile. Apparently, I can now be labeled a maschochist, because I don't know how to deal with a "good dog" who doesn't require constant, minute-by-minute attention. My father, a dog man, complained about her obligatory "invisible" nature; "If I can't complain about her, then she's not really there. If she's not really there, then how can I like her?"

She's a radical, going against the grain. Thankfully, she's got the patience to re-train her two humans into understanding that all dogs are not created equal. Some are better ... you just have to be patient enough to find it out.

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