Meg was pretty good. Weird. But good. She was not ‘socialized’ as a result of being in a kennel for her entire life. Not with dogs, not with people and, to an extent, not with the great vastness that is the outdoors beyond her own yard. Basically, she had been in jail most of her life.
She was quite fascinated by all that was going on around her from behind the backseat window but fearful and intimidated whenever she was removed from the love cocoon that had become our car.
This did not bode well for the protective role that I had envisioned for her.
PWDs don’t really protect so much as ‘alert’. They tell you when something is coming and then, especially in Meg’s case, head for the safest place possible leaving you to deal with it. Given that Meg was mute from the surgery the best we could hope for was being alerted by noticing her leaving the scene rapidly. “Hmmm……….Meg’s bugged out. Wonder what’s coming?”
Occasionally, when she deemed the matter urgent, she would attempt to ‘do her job’ by barking in her own special way. But all you could see was a dog in minor convulsions with the odd ‘pfft’ coming out the back end as her internal pressure built up from the attempt. We came to know these mild indiscretions as signs of impending doom.
I have to say that a convulsing dog with it’s mouth opening and closing rapidly but with no sound coming out is a bit intimidating in itself. Looks bloody mad, it does. More than a few people and animals backed off when confronted by such a sight. So, in her own way, she was scary.
And her perceived impending doom was rarely ever any real threat at all. Meg is not brave. For instance, she was and still is to some extent terrified at pressurized air – like when one is filling a tire or hearing the ‘air-brake’ releasing from a big truck. When that special hell was encountered, we had to console her for what seemed-like-forever while she trembled until her attention span waned. Which was usually helped along with lots of hugs and numerous treats.
PWDs are really quite water (and treat) oriented. It is definitely in their genes. But with a kennel-kept dog, most of their natural inclinations have been left unfulfilled or unexpressed. When we first brought Meg home we had to depart the car and embark on a small boat. And there was a dock ramp to be negotiated in between. Meg looked at all that as if we were asking her to walk a tight-wire over a burning inferno. She refused to go down the ramp and, when eventually carried down and placed on the dock, she stood looking at the water like she had landed on Mars.
Getting her on the boat was an exercise in gentle cajoling and steady leash pulling with lots of assurances and baby talk to help in the decision. But she came and, after another ride or two, she was a bona fide sea dog and looked forward to zooming about in boats. She swims almost every day in the summer and does so on her own if she is feeling overheated. Meg is definitely a water dog. Now.
She is also a good dog and makes Sally happy. But, of course, some rules had to be put in place to ensure harmony and life in general was to Sal’s satisfaction. So Sal laid it out clearly, forcefully and, as we all know is needed, repetitiously. To me. And I eventually got it.
Things changed for me (not for Meg – she still had the ‘fur’, the ‘cute’ and the ‘trembling factor’ going for her so she was exempt from any rules whatsoever). But it was OK. I adjusted. I am still very thankful that I am still allowed on the bed and on the couch even if I am #5 in a group of three.
I was taught to clean up my messes, fetch dog toys and to entertain Meg whenever she wanted it. I even learned to do ‘monkey-fists’ from odd pieces of rope because she liked them. I may be an annoying person but I learn new tricks quickly. Sally was pleased. She gave us both treats. At the same time. In this way, she hoped that we would bond as a pack.
I hoped that she would eventually get a grip.
Meg hoped that I would go away and leave the bed and the couch to her and Sally.
She’s not the first sentient being to have had those thoughts.
Anyway, we all carved out space for ourselves or, better put; I was left with some space after they had claimed what they wanted. Things weren’t normal but they were live-able.
And there were the treats.