Friday, February 24, 2012

Poor Puppy Syndrome

The "Poor Puppy" photo
Our dog is spoiled. That we freely admit. We suffer from Poor Puppy Syndrome. It comes from taking in a rescue dog. It's that picture in her Homeward Bound file that first did it. Found tied to a trailer hitch in Bakersfield, abrasions on her muzzle, kennel cough, pregnant with nine pups and still under the age of one year. Who could resist? Those eyes! Those slightly pigeon-toed feet?

I should be a better dog owner; I was such a great nanny, and you would think the skills would transfer better. My sister used to say I have a secret power over children. My secret? I knew I was not being paid to be their buddy, and they knew I really cared. I would rather them be annoyed with me for expecting a lot from them, than them being annoying all day to everyone else. I would rather them be mad at me for a bit than mad at the world the whole day. I would rather them not like me for a time, than them be an unlikeable kid. I believe that any child can be lovable, and not be a child that only a mother could love. And it worked. We had great times and great days and lots of fun. I dearly loved them and they loved me. I was the Kid Whisperer.

I'm not the Dog Whisperer. I should be more consistent. I should put my foot down more. I should draw the line in the sand and expect more from her. But that photo comes to mind and I melt. We should take her to obedience school, but who has the money? Who has the time? Actually, the money we have invested in "magic training collars" could probably have been better spent in some obedience classes.

Yesterday I was feeling bad about not taking the Molls on a nice long walk. It was a beautiful warm spring day. So I got dressed for walking and then got the walking contraptions out. Putting her in the Gentle Leader is like getting an excited horse into a bridle. She knows it means a walk, but she doesn't want to sit still to get the thing attached right. We have learned that it isn't enough, she then needs to be harnessed into her sort of half nylon/half "they don't call them choke collars anymore but you know what I'm talking about" combo collar. OK, all set, here we go!

Go! Stop! Go! Stop and sniff, stop and sniff. Go! Stop! Go! Sniff! I think you get the idea of who walks whom around these parts? She is in control and I am the embarrassed dog mom who needs a nanny to bring out the best in her canine charge. We have the problem dog. We are the ones doing 180s to avoid the other dog walkers. We have our neighbors described like this: the house with the black dog Molly hates - the house with the beagle Molly hates - the house with the cats Molly wants to eat. What happened to The Look that could get a kid to behave in a pottery store or a hushed museum? The Look that could stop a tantrum mid-blood curdling scream?

Cue up the tiny little violin music

In Romanian, Molly sounds like the word for soft, but it appears it is I that has gone soft. You can't blame me though. Just look at those eyes! If it wasn't for the rope AND the trailer hitch, I would be so much stronger. And really, Bakersfield? Poor Puppy!

Molly's theme song - The Streets of Bakersfield

With her collection of destroyed toys

We thought using weights in a pack would improve her behavior, it just made for a heavier stubborn dog.

Knocking over the balloon toss game at the park - who owns this brat, anyway?

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