Thursday, May 4, 2017

High Maintenance Furry Friends by Christine DePetrillo

If you hang around Facebook at all and are friends with me there, you know The Werewolf. He’s my 120-pound, all black German shepherd dog, whose real name is Anubis. Unusual name, I know, but Google it and you’ll see why it makes sense. Of course, I call him every other name you can think of and probably some you’d never guess like Jimmy, Tuna, The Buddy, and when he’s being difficult, Mephistopheles.

While Anubis is a sweetie to my husband and I, his grandparents, and one other friend we have, he basically doesn’t “do” people (which we don’t really either, by the way). Everyone is considered dangerous in his eyes and must receive the warning growl which quickly escalates into the foaming-at-the-mouth bark of a raving lunatic dog which can sometimes result in a hole being nipped out of your pants if you don’t move fast enough.

Yeah, anxious dog? A bit. Okay, more like a lot of bits all piled together to make a pooch who would rather scare you first before you get the chance to be scare him.

And let’s not forget car rides. Oy.

A four-hour ride to Northern New England is a festival of whining, whimpering, crying and dramatic yawning the likes of which you can’t even imagine.

Did I mention we make that drive almost every other weekend?

Yeah, so…

We’ve tried the following to alleviate his complete and utter loathing for car rides:

-calming tablets and chews
-aromatherapy sprays
-spraying him with a water gun
-making stops along the way
-several car harnesses
-therapeutic Native American flute music (or Rage Against the Machine blasting to drown him out)
-completely removing the back seats in our truck and stuffing his mattress-sized bed into that space so he could travel in leisure
-XanaX (prescribed by vet)
-begging him to stop
-screaming at him
-consulting an animal medium who described his troubled past lives

None of them helped with any lasting results. The only two things that seem to work are:

1. spending the entire day outside, walking, playing, running, chasing, fetching, before having to go on the car ride, which is only feasible in the summer when I’m home from the real job. Thank the goddess for July and August!
2. a sedative prescribed by the vet, which we don’t love giving him, but knocks him out for the four-hour ride and gives us peace and quiet

I always laugh when I see dogs on TV or in movies or read about dogs in books who just hop into a car, bundles of excitement and joy radiating off them as they hang their heads out the windows, tongues lolling and ears flapping in the breeze.

Not my dog.

My dog’s what you call “high maintenance.”

But I wouldn’t trade him for the world.

What “quirks” do your furry friends have?



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Leah St. James said...

I love the way you describe the opposites of his personality, Chris! I think the "don't do people" trait is pretty typical of German Shepherds, isn't it? A friend in grammar school had a shepherd, and we were all terrified of it. When people were expected, they'd make him stay in the garage (door closed), and when we'd walk by, he'd stand on his hind legs to see out the windows that ran across near the top, barking like you described and scaring the you-know-what out of us, every time. He actually did bite one friend. I can't imagine him being scared about anything!

Maybe Anubis has vertigo or something and the ride is unpleasant physically! I applaud you for all the attempts to ease his discomfort, whatever the cause! Wishing you peaceful rides in any case!

Jannine Gallant said...

So, Ginger and Anubis are twins separated at birth...except she's half his size and is a German shepherd mix. When she's outside on a cable (or upstairs looking out the window from the cedar chest) she barks at everything that walks by, canine or human, and acts like she's going to take their head off. However, away from her territory, she pretty much ignores all dogs except a special few she actually likes. Any strange dog who runs up to her, happy to see a friend, and gets in her face, usually receives a low warning growl. This, of course, has led to a few dog fights. Sigh. She never starts them on purpose... On car trips (like to my mom's house, which is an 8 hour drive) she pants heavily and whines the whole way. I've done the Benadryl thing, and it doesn't make her sleepy or less neurotic. I feel your pain. Really. Maybe we could send them to doggy therapy together.

Brenda Whiteside said...

We don't have a dog right now. Rusty died two years ago of cancer. But Rusty had a love hate relationship with car rides. He'd jump in the car and did love to stick his head out the window. But he also would pace the back seat and yawn like crazy to the point of driving us crazy. We miss him yet not ready to replace him.

Rolynn Anderson said...

Such stories of patience, all deserve awards!

Vonnie Davis ~ Romance Author said...

Part of me would love to have a dog. And then...part of me wouldn't. I certainly enjoyed your post. My son has a black German Shepherd and she is so well mannered. Sheds like crazy, though.

Diane Burton said...

As much as I miss the 3 dogs we had (never at the same time), I'm still of mixed feelings about getting another. Cody, a shepherd (no idea what kind) mix, our last and only female, loved car rides. She'd sit up and watch out the window or lie on the backseat as contented as can be. Our DIL has a 150 lb Great Dane who thinks he's a lapdog. Our daughter rescued Hank (aka Tank) 125 lb who-knows-what (Rottweiler?). When I need a dog fix, I visit my kids and am reminded how nice it is not to have shedding dog hair all over the house.

Margo Hoornstra said...

We've had Shepherds over the years. IMHO best dog breed ever! Our last, Heidi, was a rescue with many health issues and an ugly past being abused. Even so, she and here predecessor Jennifer, were the sweetest, most loyal and lovable dogs. Great with kids. I miss them so much, but don't think my hearts ready yet for another. I keep saying 'if one finds us'. Careful what you wish for, huh? I think the car ride behavior is the breed. Pacing, whining, yep, all that and more. God love 'em.

Christine DePetrillo said...

Isn't funny how quirky dogs can be?

Alicia Dean said...

Ha, oh my gosh, high maintenance indeed! I am not a pet owner, and hearing this makes me glad I'm not. :D But, I'm sure the joy outweighs the work.