I’ve omitted your name from this letter to prevent further shame to my family, but everyone knows I’m referring to you. Yes, it’s true: you are a walking sculpture, a Pharaoh Hound, a thing of beauty, an exotic specimen and a living tribute to the God Anubis. You are, however, a narcissistic rat-bastard and I hate you. You bark, shit, eat, chew on the furniture, and you refuse to mind. I still don’t know which God I offended to deserve a filthy bastard like you.
I remember the day you arrived as if it were yesterday. My youngest daughter asked me if I was going to the airport with her and her mother to pick up the dog. My only reply was, “What dog? We’re not getting another dog.” But I was wrong, terribly wrong. Unbeknownst to me, you were already on your way from a remote location, heading to the Midwest. I fell for my darling child’s little excuse, “Daddy, I grew up with a dog in the house. It just doesn’t seem right not to have one around.” And, the deed was done. You came to live with us.
I have to admit, you were cute for the first several weeks, but you started to grow, and as you grew you started to bark. You barked at everything. The mailman, the neighbors, the guy reading the meter, the rabbits, the birds, the trees, and sometimes you bark when there isn’t anything going on at all. It’s maddening! I didn’t know but I soon came to understand that we were living in your house. You guard it with a passion. A decent canine would step aside when someone brings the groceries into the house from the car, but not you. You just stand there looking at me as if I were in your way.
Our neighbors fear you because they heard what you did to that old lady that used to live in the house on the corner. Now, I have to admit that you were within your rights. You were provoked by her husband who had just smashed through our fence backing his car out of the garage. You were naturally perturbed and ready to defend your territory. But you didn’t have to knock her down. I know that you felt threatened by the way she was twitching after she hit her head on the cement; it freaked me out, too. But you didn’t have to bite her on the chin. And, you could have at least let go when I tried to pull you off. For Christ’s sake, our homeowner’s insurance doesn’t cover plastic surgery: the stretch marks will probably never come out of her face.
The damage, the hospital bills and the law suit are beside the point. You’re a shitty dog. You don’t come when called, you don’t sit; you don’t stay, and you eat my food when my back is turned. There is no excuse for climbing up on the kitchen counter, knocking the lid off the crock pot, and eating three pounds of braised chuck roast. You planned it all along!
It is not that we didn’t try to train you. At first we thought that you needed exercise to work off the doggy stress and boredom. You refuse to walk next to me, preferring to strangle yourself with the leash. My neighbors think I am a torturing you and feel sorry for you. Then, we even let you have the run of the garden. And, what did you do? You marked all of the plants with your Evil Death Ray, the unadulterated ammonia that you spray leaves the flower wilted, maimed and cancerous. It is a cruel trick that nature has played on us calling you “man’s best friend!”
In the house, you chewed the legs off of one chair; you ripped the stuffing out of two pillows; crapped on the floor, and marked the kitchen cabinets in front of our company. As a last resort, I took you to the back yard to play fetch. You took off after the ball, jumped the fence, and didn’t return until you had humped all the bitches in the neighborhood. Now we will be cursed with your mutant progeny for generations. We’ve even looked to experts for help. The dog whisperer, that worthless bastard, laughed in our faces when we told him you were a Pharaoh Hound. He said, “They are the hardest headed of all dogs. They refuse to learn basic commands out of spite. Before you know it, you will be his bitch!”
During these troubled times, I’ve constantly asked God, why you exist?” I am convinced that your only purpose in life is to eat, drop a load in the garden, and make me miserable. I can’t count the times I have had to restrain my evil impulses to take you for a long ride into the country and leave your ass tied to a tree. You are a disgrace.
You are no Bob Johnson!
How long, oh, Lord, how long?
Cross-posted at My Ongoing Struggle with Misanthropy: http://jimmygabacho.com/?p=667
Now, we have a basenji and he sounds plenty capable of much of what you have described, aside from the incessant barking. Luckily, he’s crate trained, he took to it very easily, so we can really eliminate the destructiveness. Has your guy been snipped? Some people have a hard time going there (perhaps they take the procedure too personally) but that would probably cut back on the marking behavior … Have you given him super strong chew toys, like Nylabones or deer antlers? If your guy is a chewing obsessive, these would be a must ..
Neutering is critical, but it also seems like he’s acting out. It can be hard to start crate training but it could save your furniture and nerves and might not be as annoying as his present behavior–he stays in the crate as long as he is being watched and when he cannot be watched, back in the crate he goes. He probably will not soil his own crate where he sleeps. If he does, you might have other problems. The transition could be…hard, let’s say. What about the breeder? S/he should have some clues and advice.
Ah, Jimmy, I feel your pain. For over 20 yrs we’ve done German Shepherd Rescue. We’ve had some whackos and we’ve had some really amazing and beloved dogs. Now we have Liza Jane. She is the first rescue that we actually know all the history on. She’s got pedigrees from here to the Kaiser and is (excuse me, just had to yell at her to get her paws off the table as she aimed for the pie) of working dog lines. Sounds great. She’s gorgeous. Sounds great. Uh uh. I’m struggling to like her nevermind love her. She’s stubborn, very strong, super smart but refuses to obey. She’s on more medications than I am thanks to her breeder’s determination to breed in the “silver” in her coat. She makes me crazy regularly and we also had a dog whisperer that I would really like to slap upside. “She’s stubborn. She knows she’s not supposed to do that, we’ve been over it and over it and she sneaks it proving that she KNOWS she’s not supposed to do that.” “You’re anthropomorphizing,” says he. “If she takes your ring off your nightstand and crushes it, it’s not HER fault it’s YOURS for leaving it there.”
I call bullshit. I remind her that it’s my house not hers. She’s the dog. I’m the human. She’s gotta learn our ways and we can compromise on much, but we do not have to completely reorder our way of doing things for HER. Sounds good in theory doesn’t it. As for crate training, I’ve always done it but can’t with her because her original owner used a crate for punishment. After a thousand times hearing NO CAT when chasing one of the cats, she knows she’s not supposed to do it. Now it’s NO FUCKING CAT, GODDAMMIT LIZA JANE, which I believe she thinks is her entire name.
Exercise, toys, chew toys, treats. We’ve done it all and with our years of experience we know lots of things to try, but once I get up from here and go to walk to the next room, I will trip over her large self as she rushes to beat me through the door only to stop dead in the middle of said door.
Meanwhile last week we got an anonymous note in our mailbox complaining that her barking echos off the corrugated wall in our backyard. Probably does, but that big yellow cat that stands atop it laughing at her just causes her to go completely crazy. At least she’s too big now to get under the house where I could hear the pipes bending with her entry and exit.
Thanks for the laugh. I’m never mean to her but I’m glad to know that someone else out there has a dog they’re mad at.