12 November 2008
Today I asked the neighbors next door if I could walk the dogs for them. I figure if I have some down time and can help out, why not? I saw the two teen aged sons out in the dog pen FINALLY cleaning up the poop piles, and thought it was a good time to make the inquiry. Surprise, surprise. They were more than thrilled to ask for their dad’s approval on this measure. After all, it’s one more neglected chore they can fully avoid. What teenager wouldn’t jump at that?
Two of the dogs at once would’ve been too much, so they gave me Chocolate who is the younger of the two as I understand it. Again, these puppies are s’dang sweet, I’m turning diabetic just thinking about them. Hmm. Is that comment PC? I hope I’m not offending actual diabetics by making such a statement. I’m sure Mary Tyler Moore reads this blog and she’ll chime in with a comment if I’ve crossed the line.
Chocolate was CRAZED on this walk. How could she not be? She’s over 100 pounds of pure muscle and she lives in a 10-foot by 20-foot area every day with another big dog like her. Oh, and joy of joys: she has no leash training either. She’s a puller and does not know the meaning of the words “sit,” “heel,” or “no.” And she’s STRONG. About twice as strong as I was ever used to Hank pulling and about 800% stronger than the 5 lb. Tinkerbell. Yeah, good times.
To make matters worse, at one point the neighbor dad – Oscar – came walking down the street with Chocolate’s sister Bella. Chocolate is a little neurotic, so when she saw Bella she went ballistic. Barking, yelping, howling, wailing. And yes, pulling. With both of my hands holding the leash, I thought she was going to dislocate my shoulders trying to get to Bella.
Is it me, or was that totally inconsiderate and just plain lame of Oscar to bring Bella out when he knew Chocolate would go berserk the second she saw her sister – also knowing full-well, I’m sure, that Chocolate is not good on a leash. A leash which was about a foot too short, by the way. It was likely the same leash these neighbors used with their previous canines, who were smaller lapdogs that were killed one night by coyotes. This happened even after repeated warnings from Yvonne and Ed to take those little dogs in at night.
When I think about this, and also remember the day the neighbor mom flat out told me how their family doesn’t have time for these two big dogs, it begs the obvious question: um, why the hell have them? Obviously, I don’t think not owning a dog makes you a bad person. But owning two huge animals like Bella and Chocolate who require exercise, training and routine, then NOT giving that to them… well… there’s something not right about that, in my humble opinion.
My biggest concern was that Chocolate would get free of me, and with no obedience training, I’d have no way to get her back. This was something I didn’t want to be responsible for. I mean, if a dog won’t even sit on command… that’s bad news. And sad, considering you can teach a dog to sit in about 10 minutes. Unfortunately, now that Chocolate was out of her cage for once, the last thing she wanted to do learn how to sit for me.
ALL dogs want to do is make us happy, make their owners happy. And German shepherds are damn smart dogs. I mean, hell – they can be trained to sniff out the difference between dirty socks and cocaine at LAX. Surely some basic commands aren’t out of the question, not with countless books, trainers-for-hire, TV shows and the internet all offering information about this. Geez.
I became more and more frustrated during the walk. Not with Chocolate of course – she was just being instinctual and doing what she knows. I was more upset with her owners, and the fact that this walk idea was probably not going to work. When I took Chocolate back to the house, Oscar asked me “So how was she?”
“Well, she was a crazy bitch and you know it.”
I didn’t say that. I wanted to though. I think I managed to tactfully express that she did OK, all things considered. I left it at that.