Sunday, November 2, 2008

Dog-possible: Diego the Impossible dog

It all happened too fast and too early in the morning. At least that's what Diego thought. He's the one who took a bite out of the guy's leg. Yes, I'm being serious. My dog bit someone. Fuck.

7 am. I roll out of bed and put on my signature giant black robe.
-Right, so it isn't even mine, it belongs to Jips, and because it is designed for a man it is large and it engulfs me in fluffiness. -
I hook up the dogs: Diego, a 25 lb pure beagle, and Herman, a 55 lb brown dog, and open the door of my apartment to go outside.

Now, in front of my door there is a narrow walkway, (about 4 feet wide) and there was a blond 22 year old coming back from a run walking into us. I pull the dogs back and the guy keeps walking past.

Please note: my dogs are harnessed and on leashes: nylon leashes with loop handles, not that pull and click kind. We are standing in the doorway of my apartment which opens into this 4 ft wide walkway, and this guy deliberately walks into us. The physical closeness would mean nothing for someone walking along crowded New York City sidewalks, but it meant something to Diego. He freaked out - lunged - and bit the guy in the leg.

The wound was less than one square inch-positioned on the side of his leg- between his shin and his calf. But remember, he was coming back from a run? His heart rate was up- and he had great circulation--the wound bled all over the place.

He asks if he can come into my apartment to clean up. (His apartment is just upstairs- but I say sure.) I wipe the blood off of his leg with a Puffs Plus with Lotion. He wants peroxide- I look around and we have almost no first aid supplies. Awesome. We have gauze and Target brand neosporin.

He says he loves dogs, he isn't going to report anything, etc. He says not to be too hard on Diego. We introduce ourselves. He lives upstairs. He leaves.

But my dog bit a person! Sure, I bet Diego felt cornered and scared. Add that to the four year mystery of his upbringing and you get a dog bite. Keep in mind that Herman was in the exact same situation, and he just stood there. Herman we raised from a puppy- we properly socialized him and he knows his place in our house.

I looked up dog bites on the Internet and it says that it is the owners fault for not raising the dog properly. I do take responsibility for my dog-- but I got him from the pound when he was four years old and pretty fucked up.

Diego is cute and affectionate, and that sums up all of his redeeming qualities.
When we got him, he had a collapsing trachea, heart worms, and ear infections. I had to hold him if he woke up at night until his second dose of cough medicine took effect and he went back to sleep. Jips holding him didn't cut it for Diego- it had to be me.

He wouldn't walk on a leash. He would just stand outside and freeze up like a dear in headlights. So I picked him up and carried him on walks with Herman. In interesting places I put him down and let him smell. After about a month, he learned how to walk the whole way by himself.

One day I was picking up dog toys from the carpet because I was about to vacuum. I found a tooth- a large canine tooth. I checked the boys' mouths and sure enough it was Diego whose tooth broke off. He had surgery to remove the rest of it because it was hurting him to eat. The vet said that years of rocking metal with his teeth had caused them to wear down. Someone must have left him in a crate for a long time when he didn't want to be in one.

Then what else? He has seizures on occasion, and he has a back problem- he can't handle steep stairs or the disks in his lower back get inflamed. So now we walk around the slope hill in the back of my apartment, and his back is doing fine.

Add to that the fact that he likes to pee on the TV stand and my computer chair and you have our special dog. And he likes to attempt to "hunt" every other dog in our apartment complex. He gets the scent- nose down tail up- and lifts his snout to give that loud trumpet beagle bay that his breed is known for.

I say all of this, but he HAS made tons of progress. He is a much healthier and happier dog now that we have had him for 2 years. Except for the fact that he is still a little bit neurotic and scared of everything. We understand that he likes to hide in the bedroom during a thunder storm, and he understands that we prefer him to pee outside rather than on the TV.

So now what do I do? He bit someone, and I have to change something. I ordered this book off of amazon: When Pigs Fly: Training Success with Impossible Dogs, because I think Diego qualifies. I will let you know how the training success goes when the book comes in.


Skuh said...

Sorry Fermi! Good luck with your Diego. He's lucky that he's got a family that loves him so much.

Helly said...

Aw, poor Diego - it breaks my heart that someone treated him so badly, but what a lucky doggy he is that you adopted him and love him!