Monday, February 13, 2012

Sudden Dog Syndrome:Part 3

The saga of dog continues....
He had a pretty good week.When Friday came, the trainer gave him the thumbs up.We all breathed a sigh of relief. Frankie was a keeper. It had all been worth it. In a few short weeks, with the help of a lovely patient trainer, he would be sitting, lying down, rolling over. He would not be straining at the leash when we took walks or lunging at diminutive Asian men who looked curiously at his barking rage as they passed, smiling that such a small, fat, dog could exhibit so much bravado.
He lay in his bed, post training session fatigue mixed with what looked like euphoria-finally, acceptance. He was official.
I went upstairs to run the bath, leaving Big downstairs while Little raced up in front of me. As the faucets turned on, I called for Big to come up for bath time. She let out a yelp and came up to the landing,crying.

"HE BIT ME!!".

Exasperated and assuming it was another warning nip like the many that had come before it, I went down and said casually "Did he make contact?". She nodded. I looked at her extended forearm. I saw the bite marks, then saw red. I stomped down stairs and pulled Frankie into his crate, shutting the door, hissing "baaaadddd ddoooooggggg...." about a million times. He looked guilty and kind of contrite, but he was probably thinking about hot dogs. I took Big upstairs and put hydrogen peroxide on the  puncture wound, hearing my sister's words in my head "nearly 85% of dog bites get infected and require emergency room treatment". Frankie better pray that it didn't come to that because the idea of going to Cedars on a Friday night with two kids was as close to Hell as I never hope to come.
I let him out of the crate after a few minutes, primarily because his whining was really irritating, but mostly because it was serving no purpose to confine him- he'd forgotten all about it. How nice to be a dog-consequences are practically nonexistent since they have to occur in the nanosecond after the wrong to affect any change.
I sent a message to my husband,who was in Florida, and he called right away. I explained what happened and told him that Frankie probably had to go. This was technically strike two, though he had supposedly bitten several folks during the party we'd had the previous weekend. He asked me to wait to decide until he got back, but surprise, surprise, I had already decided. From the few Internet articles I had read, biting is a deal breaker when there are little kids involved. I also ran it by every single person I encountered for the next forty eight hours and not one person said " he sounds like a keeper". Strangely, Big was his greatest defender, insisting it was her fault that Frankie bit her. I guess we have a lot of codependent biting boyfriends to look forward to down the road?

Now, if you are on the side of keeping him, before you sit in judgement and think how lazy, thoughtless or casual we must seem with this whole rescue dog thing, let me remind you that we are not strangers to vicious beasts in our fold. We had a cat named Milo that wandered up one day a few years back, and he was quite possibly the meanest, most cunningly aggressive cat I have ever encountered. I found out recently that his attitude might have stemmed from run-ins with  a teen serial killer a few doors down who was supposedly dispatching the local strays in hideous sadistic killings that went largely unreported. Maybe he'd escaped Lil' Dahmer a couple of times and had become accustomed  to fending off human predators? All scratches, bites, attacks on in-laws aside,  we did not give up on him. He did remain an outdoor cat for fear of the inevitable Inspector Clouseau/Cato relationship that would develop with all of the hiding places in our house- and those claws were razor sharp since I couldn't get near him to pet him, let alone to trim his claws.
He died almost a year ago- a car hit him on a dark night right in front of our house. We miss him dearly, but more in theory than in practice- he was a pain in ass to have around.
The same will not be said of Frankie. He was not such a pain in the ass after all. He had become a joy to have around, his clackety clacking endearing, his barking appreciated (well, a little), but his hostility was too unpredictable. At least Milo was consistent, like a Great White. Frankie was more like a ,well, like a dog I guess....

Any unresolved or residual feelings about sticking it out were eradicated this afternoon when Big came crying up the stairs in an oddly deja vu like moment.


Exasperated and assuming it was another warning nip like the many that had come before it, I went down and said casually "Did he make contact?". She nodded, and I looked at her extended forearm. I saw the bite marks,then laughed. Not at her, but at the absurdity of the moment.

Oops, he did it again... (not to mention that he is chubby and blond like Britney, too......)

I reminded her that we should be glad that the rescue lady was coming to pick him up in a few minutes.
Big laughed with me, through her tears, and then went a wrote a note that said:
"Dear Mom, I am not going, Love Frankie". What the fuck is wrong with her?

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