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Sunday, August 14, 2011

What would you expect out of a pig but a grunt?

If The Ocean were Whiskey and I was a Duck - I'd swim to the bottom and never come up......
Rye whiskey, Rye whiskey, Rye whiskey I cry...........................................................

My wee drunken Irishman come back to life as a Heinz 57 Terrier . I think of the Whiskey song ( every time he does something remotely testosterone inspired.When I say that this dude is an Irishman reincarnated as a tough ass dog - I say it with as much conviction as the Dali Llama speaking about World Peace. 

His name is Riley. Cute right? 
I picture him like this(but with much bigger arms) previous to asking to come back as a dog. Or maybe  like this 

Coming back as my dog was a good call - but he truly went on a firewalk to get to my house. 

Prior to moving into our current house I went for a visit to a friends house down the road a bit from our new house. I was horrified to learn , with my own eyes, that the rats here come with their own tack and they really are belligerent little buggers with us two legged sissys. Sauntering about, back and forth - loitering and leering ; they have opposable thumbs and prehensile tails too( I exaggerate for effect here). They have mastered the art of flipping the bird, which is so frustrating for me because I just have never been any good at it. The worst part is they reduce me - and a few of my friends into sissy, screaming, jump on a chair ,Tweedle Dee and Dums. I hate the sound of my girly scream - so embarrassing. I could use a little less estrogen in that department. 

 Enter my decision that we HAVE GOT TO GET ONE MORE DOG!! I just don't see how my two current dogs,Cash and Babe, are going to git r done. I won't think of a cat at this point. Not one of my brighter moments, by the way. 

I decide I want to get a Corgi or maybe a Border Terrier. I'm going to buy (GASP) one, dammit! Now - none of my dogs have ever been purchased. They all have come to me someway or another - mostly free and don't let the door hit you on the way out please and thank you. 

Out of guilt I tell my friend Jill about my plan. Now Jill must have been Saint Francis in a previous life. Ask and ye shall receive, not one hour later - I get an email with a picture of what appears to be a Corgi/Border Terrier. Oh my God - this dog is sooooo cute!! I call right away - because there is no way he is still available. He's at a rescue in Redondo Beach( Any of you who have called a rescue for any reason whatsoever, know they do not answer the phone. Its an unwritten code. 
Imagine my surprise when someone picks up. I tell James all about myself and our life. That we want a dog who is a bit of a bastard because he needs to help me keep the rat brigade out of the yard. He has to get along with other dogs, blah blah. I also ask - what is wrong with him that you still have him - the answer : food aggression . I am in over drive now. This is one of my easier to manage canine issues. Great! When can we see him?
MCH is not pleased with me - why Redondo Beach? Why on a Friday late afternoon? Why does he have to come? Why do we really need another dog? Why?Why?Why? He's going to cost how much??
We all load into the SUV, MCH, Cash and Babe. We drive almost 2 hours in traffic. We arrive and out he comes. Popeye legs and cute little beard. He is not pleased at first to see 2 extra dogs. We walk and talk and in about 15 minutes we are back at the house and they are all running around like old pals. 
We are sprung on this dog. But - does he get on with horses? 
Two days later poor James drives to THE VALLEY. Those beach people just don't leave the coast. Its a mild day by our standards, but he's dying. He meets me at Gibson Ranch ( and I put one of our more dog friendly horses into the round pen and James brings him in on a leash. He's scared but not barking. All I need to see. Home Check done! Paperwork signed! Check filled out!
James is hemming and hawing a little bit, and he says to me that Riley can be a little territorial and we really have to stay on top of his obedience and that he can get a little growly at times. I wave him off - "it's all good James. I train aggressive dogs - it's no biggie. " He leaves. Riley cries at the door for almost 2 hours. 
 I have fostered and trained a lot of rescue dogs in my day. I have been the one to drop them off at the new owners home. I have never been on the other side of the door for one of the tougher placements.It was heart wrenching. I almost called him to come back and get him. Riley had been with James for 3 months. Before that he was being boarded at a dog care facility that works with Rover Rescue. Before that he had been with a family who adored him, but returned him because of his resource guarding (food aggression). Before that he had been with Rover Rescue after being pulled from The Baldwin Park Animal Shelter as a puppy. That is a not so great place - mainly because they have a very high number of strays in the area they service and not enough homes - which translates to a very high kill rate and they also were at one point selling dogs to research facilities. If a dog comes in as an owner surrender they have maybe 3 days, a stray will have maybe 5. Can you imagine? Ugh! 
James put an extraordinary amount of effort into making Riley the best dog he could be. Imagine my delight at having a dog that was already trained. He does it all. That NEVER happens to me. It was 3 months later that we found out what this dog had going on - he is a pretty gnarly dude. First he has throat damage - so he reverse sneezes - looks like an asthma attack or when a dog has something lodged in his nostril. He panics and you better stay away from him or he might snap at you. He also does resource guard more than food. He guards me. Or he did. I'm pretty sure I know why that family returned him. I can also say that my house is the best house for him. He does not communicate like other dogs do - he growls and bares his teeth all the while rubbing and rolling on his back and finding your hand to pet his head or belly. It's the craziest thing I have ever experienced. I initially tried to correct it, but I realized it was part of his ritual with MCH. He's a little more subdued with me. 
He is also one Hell of a hunter and he can peacefully co-habitat with the horses better then the rest of the pack. 
He has become our ambassador. You should see him when my girlfriends come by - he has a million expressions and he will literally try them all out on each person until he finds the one that gets him the most attention. Each friend elicits a separate posture and facial expression from him. It is a riot! He also will not use his growly talk with any house guest. Men get a whole other experience - he will launch himself at them and invariably makes contact just below the navel - You know what I'm talking about...
The Irishman reference you might ask? Without prompting each and every person who has spent any time with him equates him to the friendly yet somewhat belligerent and pushy drunken Irishman stereotype. I really must agree.......

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