Let him have one last (naked) walk so he realizes just how cold it is outside. Drive to the pet store, carry him in. To. keep him in an OK mood, and because the sign says you can, put him down on the floor so he can explore while you surreptitiously go through the dog sweaters to find the right size and style. Put your foot on top of where he just peed and try to rub it into the floor so nobody sees. Pick him up and “apply” the first sweater. No matter how dedicated to you he is, we all know Chi’s are a one person dog, he WILL bite you as soon as the sweater goes over his demon head. The “gargling growl” will commence and it will hurt more the second time when you try to put his front leg through one of the holes. His freak out will gain attention from everyone in the store except they think it is “cute” or “precious”. They coo “Aww, he’s smiling”. That is NOT a smile ladies !! He is not named “Chewy” for nothing! You manage to get his other foot through and avoid cursing the F word (and the Lord’s name) out loud as he draws blood from your thumb. You wipe it off, instinctively, on the sweater. NOW you have to BUY the bloody thing (pardon the pun). He is now having what appears to be a major seizure but really he is playing his best game of Twister to somehow slip from your grip. A salesperson will rush over and attempt to give him a freeze dried liver treat…his FAVORITE…but he has now gone on a hunger strike, sulking over the sweater you have just fitted him into like a straight jacket. (Which might be a GOOD thing at this very moment.) You put him down now but he refuses to walk, as if he has been rendered quadriplegic from having a polyester knit on his body. As you purchase the sweater, the more expensive one dammit as it now has your DNA on it, remember to buy some urine remover spray because he is mad, and he will seek revenge on your PILLOW when he gets home. And IN your shoes, that is as soon as you remove the enemy sweater because if you don’t, he will remain paralyzed, shaking, and giving you the stink eye.
I would like to talk about my dog Hannah and the story of her rescue. It speaks to how love and care can turn an abused dog’s life around, and yours at the same time. While Hannah is not my first rescue and likely won’t be my last; her story is unique in how she came to be with me. I am a little dog person…for the most part. I have had big dogs in my life, but generally, and especially as I am older now and live in a smaller home, little dogs tend to be easier. Yappier…naughtier, but easier…I guess! I went to a home this week three years ago to buy an item off the local buy and sell social media site. When I got there, I realized this was not a great place, drug paraphernalia around…weed smoke….liquor bottles strewn everywhere….not a place I wanted to stay at for too long. In the corner of my eye I saw a medium sized, skinny black dog in a wire cage. Immediately I knew she was not in a good situation. She was slumped in the corner, feces and urine around her, dead eyes….the kind that show she had given up. I had $200 in my pocket for various second hand shopping I was planning to do. I went over to the cage to pet her and was horrified at what I saw. The dog had what I was pretty sure were cigarette burns on her face and sides. The woman came into the room (the one I had been waiting for|) and I asked her how much she wanted for her dog. I didn’t even bother to ask if she was looking for a home for her, I knew in this situation money would talk.And it did. She looked at the dog, looked at me and said “a hundred bucks”. I said sold. I got the hell out of there while she had her “old man” bring the cage out while I gently walked Hannah out into the snow covered yard. She crawled. She shook uncontrollably. I asked the guy why she was walking like this and he said “Oh she’s never been outside since she was a pup.” I asked how she does her business then and he said “in her cage, we clean it up a couple times a week.” I learned Hannah was 8 months old, was a cross between a Dalmation and a Mastiff (although I think more Staffordshire than Mastiff|) and she had endured a rough 8 months after the kids lost interest. Hannah has healed from her burns, gained weight, grown taller, enjoys sprinting and jumping over other dogs as if they are hurdles at the dog park, loves tug of war games, will gut a stuffy toy in about five minutes, intuitively plays gently with her chihuahua pack, sometimes has their head in her mouth !!! for fun I guess…..and has the most bizarre attraction to unwrapped bars of Ivory soap. It HAS to be Ivory. She carries a three pack around like it is her baby (And I am just as bad as I buy it for her and have even named it her “Baby Ivory”. .Eventually she unwraps them and nests with these bars of soap while her pack mates try to steal them because they MUST be good if she is hoarding them. On a serious note, she is so attuned to my emotions and feelings she has become a defacto therapy dog for me due to my PTSD (I am a retired first responder-RCMP and a victim of a violent crime) I have my moments, and even if they are unspoken, if I am hiding them from my kids as we watch tv or just hang out, she is right there, by my side, sometimes on top of me because she lives with chihuahuas and thinks she is one…all 70 pounds of her!! Her intuition is phenomenal. She understands English so now I have to spell certain words to avoid her getting excited, or hiding \(like “let’s give her a bath, let’s get her nails clipped”….she is extremely protective. One night there was a person looking in my bedroom window and before I could even react (gasp, yell out, call 911) Hannah was full speed jumping from my bed to the window….I was certain she was going to crash through it….fierce, protective, ready to take his head off. I doubt the peeping tom will be back. She scared the hell out of me too and she is on MY side ! Hannah has issues as all rescue dogs do, some will probably never go away. She hates men wearing ball caps. She hates cameras ( I think it is the flash..which she anticipates) …and she suffers terribly at the thought of being kenneled. You can feel the whole bed vibrating the minute she thinks I am going out and she will have to go into her kennel. She usually finds a way out of it, creative ways, eating the side of the plastc vari kennel, tossing the metal kennel upside down with her in it until she can jimmy the now loose door to freedom. Finally, I couldn’t do it anymore and I leave her loose. Even though I know I will come home to naughty dog antics and the aftermath of canine high jinks. Three years ago this week my life changed for the better, and so did hers. I have had many dogs over my lifetime, all special in their own way, but I suspect Hannah will be the one who claims my heart the most. She has all of it now.