A Traumatized Doggie Story

I can do a stream of conscience on sacred institutions.

I can do a stream of conscience on the distinction between anarchism and nihilism.

But I can also blog about domesticated dogs. My Rat Terriers. 30 seconds.

Something happened yesterday, and it made me take account of the push-pull, profit-loss, ins-&-outs of caging them.

First, it’s far too late to free them. We bred out the stealth, smarts, social pac, viciousness that would allow them to survive on their own. Cats are different, for a very simple reason beyond the fact that they’re independent. You can’t really breed out claws and strength to weight ratios—at least not yet, chickens an exception—so they can still climb into trees and lay in wait for unsuspecting birds and squirrels. Almost any house cat can live feral push:shove, and almost no house dog could.

I speculate that Nanuka—Nuke—could give it a good go. I often call her “Nuke the cat,” because of her house mannerisms. By contrast, Scout was a rescue found emaciated in a field, young. I didn’t want another one after Rotor, but:

Screen Shot 2014 05 21 at 11 25 24 AM

Beatrice was very trepidatious with me, knowing shit. She played it—me—and finally got me to come over just to see him. She knew she’d arouse the savior in me, and it was all elementary after that.

IMG 0731

That’s the ungrateful butt hole in the foreground, a couple of months later. And you know what? That’s what I love the most about Scout; or butt hole, depending upon circumstance. He owes nobody anything and he feels no guilt. He’s of a domesticated lineage.

…I strive to divorce and distance myself from the way I grew up having dogs all the time: black labs. Back then, in the 60s, it was a brutal sort of thing. Dogs were beat into submission. Potty training consisted of rubbing their noses in it. People really did love their dogs, they just knew no better and stupid shit flows down hill pretty much like all shit. It’s really dumb, when you think about it. Virtually every dog lives to please its captor. They don’t need to be dominated.

Moving along to the story, shaking my head over the stupid, brainless, follow-the-leader, take-for-granted, unthinking bullshit I learned as a kid.

Scout and Nuke are so attached now, and he’s gained 1/3 body mass that was evidently programmed in his genes and just required ab libitum quality high protein food. Now, his chest plate can no longer fit through the pickets in the fence up at the cabin. Still my captive.

He’s still a crybaby, though. Bea and I do tradeoffs. I’ll take ’em up to the cabin, or I’ll go up myself for my own break. No matter, whatever the arrangement, when Bea’s here or there but then leaves with travel bags in hand, he cries. Big. Loud. Wailing like you never heard. She was his savior. He’s glued to her and it’s too complicated for her to push him away. And why ought she? He hasn’t need of surviving on his own.

…Yesterday, I took an Uber to go get my car from Tommy at California Wheels. Last touches (new rear shocks, machined front, hub-centric adapters to eliminate some wobble).

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I just love her now. The 2″ suspension lift, combined with an extra 5″ of wheel/tire diameter, gives a good 4-5″ more off the ground, and there’s no X5 in the world quite like her, now. And only 120K miles for an ’06. She’ll be in my bed for a while.

When I got back, I parked, and happened to run into Bea, out checking the mailbox. Told her I’d gone to get the car, get it washed, etc.

“When did you leave?” Uh.oh, loaded question.

“’bout 3:30.”

“I got home at 4:45 and someone was dying in there. Scout was crying and wailing like never. I ran to the door.”

In Bea’s apartment, we have a sliding glass door onto the patio. There’s also a doggie-door insert. But when I leave, I close both off, because people are constantly walking dogs by and mine are of the mind that no other dogs have a right to exist in this permutation of a universe. So I closed it off when I went to get the car.

What I didn’t know is that Nuke was tucked away behind pillows on the couch outside.

Trauma ensues. Picture this. They are separated by a glass door, one outside, one inside. Scout is so very attached to Nuke. I feed them separately, so they can eat in peace, but when Scout is finished, he always goes and lays in front of the bedroom door, acting coy, waiting for me to uncage Nuke.

So, once Bea broke in and rectified everything, walked and fed them, there was fallout. Not from Scout, from Nuke, my girlfriend of 10 years and thousands of walking miles.

She loves and hates me. Whenever there’s trouble—like fireworks, thunder, or a smoke alarm, I’m THE ONE she comes to and there are no substitutes. I adore the implicit in that and accept my role wholeheartedly.

But now, she didn’t come to me. Didn’t come to anyone. We kept finding her in the oddest corners and cubbies in the apartment, kinda hidden away—she only does this at fireworks boom-boom time. Or, she’d just lay somewhere near me, not too close, just close enough for me to maybe notice she was there. She was hurt, in whatever way that means for a dog that’s been with you for 10 years; this was a display of hurt, of incertitude, of confusion, perhaps. It was something, nowhere nothing. And it mattered to me a great deal.

So I spent the evening being the most pathetic person you could ever imagine. I felt so damn bad. It was unmistakable that the thing had affected her and there’s no way to sit her down and tell her. Has to be actions and attentions. And you have to realize: they’re still going to think you’re an asshole and did it on purpose over some kick-the-dog issue you have. They’re captives, after all, and dependents to boot.

…Hours later, I went to bed. I thought perhaps if I took her to the bed—she sleeps with us sometimes, on her terms exclusively—tomorrow would be another day, today forgotten. So I looked for her, couldn’t find her. She must have found someplace to tuck away. So, I went to take a final piss and when I opened the door, there she was, as if to say, “OK, prove you still love me.”

After about a minute standing next to me under the covers, she went to sitting position, 2 minutes later, to a nice relaxed lay. An hour or so later, she got out and went to her preferred bed, normal ever since.

Make of all of it what you wish.

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  1. LeonRover on March 11, 2015 at 07:42

    Hey Rich,

    I mailed this:
    to a friend earlier.
    He replied “Lambs of God?”
    I wrote:
    “No, Lambs of doG, or daMs for doG”
    or MadDogs or Englishmen .. .. ..

    March come in like a Hare, go out like a Lamb of doG – St Louis Carroll’s woman “with her diamond rings”.

    LeonRover –
    – his growl worse than his bight.

  2. Gina on March 11, 2015 at 09:24

    I like dogs, but I don’t think I could handle the slavish devotion. My house tigers love me, but, as you point out, don’t really need me. It feels like a healthier relationship. It is nice knowing that they on on vermin patrol, but it’s a bummer knowing that they probably wouldn’t let a burglar interrupt their naps. Rat terriers sound like the most practical of canine companions.

    • Richard Nikoley on March 11, 2015 at 10:22

      Gina, they are quite cool.

      They have an off switch that can literally be from morning to night. But at the slightest alert, they are all in.

      They are not yapppy dogs, but only when they deem there’s serious shit going down, like another dog in the area, or a cat or squirrel. They just can’t abide such carelessness.

  3. cunty on March 11, 2015 at 10:32

    Nice story. Thanks.

  4. Gassman on March 11, 2015 at 18:55

    I have a coated xoloitzcuintly, or Mexican Hairless (a hairy hairless). She actually looks similar to the rat terrier. I never really wanted a dog, but wife and kids just had to have one. So I laid down the law–y’all walk, feed, brush, water and otherwise tend the dog, and pick up the poops and we can have a dog. Well, I picked up the poops, and fed, and tended the dog. I took her to obedience school. And like it or not, I’m her primary human. She comes to me first. She sleeps with me mostly. And I love her.

    But they want another dog…so I promulgate the same rules. The new dog is for y’all, not me. But i still end up taking care of puppy. And Xolo does not puppy, and can’t stand for me to give pup any attention at all, and if I do she treats me as persona non grata. Of course if she needs something, I’m still the primary. I should have gotten male dogs.

  5. Linda Sartori on March 12, 2015 at 08:32

    re:Free the Animal
    Checked into your blog based on the opinion of Dr. Wm Davis.
    Blah blah blah
    Then you call your dog a “butt hole”.
    What is that? What mind do you cultivate to come up with that insult? Why do you hurt your dog with an insult? No, man, it is not funny.
    I would never read another word you have to say.
    Bye bye.

    • Richard Nikoley on March 12, 2015 at 12:23

      “insult? No, man, it is not funny.”

      Get over your stupid cunt self.

      “I would never read another word you have to say.”

      Promises promises.

    • Beans McGrady on March 12, 2015 at 13:51

      I like how she must have scrolled through the comments, seen a commenter called cunty, and still thought she could spank your pee pee for saying butthole.

    • Richard Nikoley on March 12, 2015 at 14:07

      You win the Internet for the day, Beans. Cunt, pee pee and butthole in a single 1-para cogent comment.

  6. John on March 12, 2015 at 09:14

    Scout looks identical to the rat terrier I had. The video of your dogs playing is exactly how mine played. Hopping back and forth, pawing, then flipping the head upside down for an inverted attack.

    I found my dog (rather, my then girlfriend said “hey just so you know I found a dog earlier today). I put up signs, and after a day someone called saying they’d be by the next day to pick her up. No show, no call. Three weeks later, after vet visits and attachment, they called again; “hey I’ve been really busy the past few weeks, but I was wondering if now is a good time to pick her up.” Well given that I had accepted the dog as mine, and the odd behaviors the dog displayed indicative of abuse, I kept her. And kept her again when my girlfriend and I broke up.

    She wound up developing bladder cancer sometime in 2013, and despite my trying to fight it and seeing improvement, it wound up spreading to her front elbow resulting in an inability to use her leg and constant pain. The day I took her to the vet to put her to sleep was the best day she had in a while, big smile, rolling in the grass, full of energy looking around excitedly the whole way to the vet’s office. That made the decision so much harder, but I decided I’d rather her go out on a good day than wait for the visible suffering to return.

    She was a great dog. Usually very calm (nothing like a Jack Russell) except when playing with my other dog. She loved sitting curled up next to you or nearby, and loved to be under a blanket. On the other hand, once outside she was the fastest animal relative to her size I’ve ever seen, able to jump onto surfaces of a height unbelievable without seeing first hand. I’d take her to my property, and she’d chase squirrels up trees all day until the grass had rubbed a raw spot on her chest. The only problem I had was how fiercely territorial she was of my home, barking at everything outside, and ready to attack any animal she saw when walking her (not barking – silently pulling on the leash hoping for a break-free moment).

    She was really small, 10-12 pounds. People often asked if she was part Chihuahua. The only person that ever said “that’s a rat terrier” was the vet tech at the cancer treating vet’s office.

    • John on March 12, 2015 at 09:58

      Oh yeah, and she would whine like crazy when I left. Anyone at my place when I left said she would sit by the door whining for no less than 30 minutes.

    • Richard Nikoley on March 12, 2015 at 12:27

      Yep John, definitely a rattie.

  7. Starch lvr on March 13, 2015 at 04:33

    Do Rat Terriers shed much – if at all?

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