If I had a degree in canine psychology, I would be able to correctly diagnose the psychopathic ruminants my puppy suffers from. Unfortunately, I only have the background in homo sapien brainwave behaviour to go by, so I don't know exactly what makes Gracie tick....or is it tock? What I do know, and my gut has informed me of this since the first week she moved in and took over is that we are dealing with one crazed whacked out yellow lab. This house hasn't been the same. This house is a wreck. And the people in this house? Sleep deprived and shoeless. It's a good thing warmer weather is on the horizon.....and it's a good thing that even though it's still chilly out I can wear sandals because my middle aged thermometer allows me to.......because I HAVE NO WINTER SHOES LEFT! (she has just found my crocs........AGAIN.....as I write this and is have a tumbling wrestle with the damn things!!)
Every single piece of furniture has chew marks in it....every rug has a few strands missing. There are smudgy nose prints on the window where she has tried to bash through it to go after a squirrel or a bird or heaven forbid another dog being walked nicely down our street. Glass means nothing to her. If you leave anything of importance on a side table.....forget about it. If you leave the bathroom door open, you might as well say good bye to the toilet paper.....it's strewn all through the dining room. Nothing is sacred. I even have chew holes in my favourite bra.....right some sexy, let me tell you.
She inhales everything, including her dogfood. Like a Hoover, she wolfs down her breakfast in one gallop and then proceeds to pass the most disgustingly rancid GAS! She is the living breathing belching farting dog from hell. And if you decide you want to sleep in a little bit, forget about it! She'll find you..........and take a flying leap up onto the bed with no thought of where she will land. She doesn't give a shit. The head, the legs, the butt......wherever she lands is fine with her. There are absolutely no boudaries with this pup. She's in your face, in your space taking over it ALL.
Gracie is a hoarder and a strong one at that. She also likes to rearrange stuff. She will somehow sneak downstairs or into a bedroom and proceed to collect one item at a time and pull it into the living room. Most of the time, she doesn't ruin it.....she just wants it in the living room, OR even more fun....she just wants you to chase her around the house to get it from her. This morning alone (and it's only 7:30 AM!!!) I have retrieved....
one wine bottle
one pair of Vans
the bathtub plug (ok, now the bathroom door is closed!)
a pencil case
the Life section of Saturday's Globe and Mail
two plastic bags, shredded
two pairs of undies
You'd think that I live in a messy state around here with all of those items within doggie reach. But, I don't! She seeks and retrieves.
I have unravelled her dog lead twice from my weigela bush after she began HOWLING outside at 6:30 am.
I have cleaned her paws after she dug another fresh hole in my garden
And I have rescued a disgustingly muddy chew bone she somehow managed to sneak back into the house and bury under the seat cushion of the leather wing back chair.
Right now? She's trying to wrestle with our older dog Lily who had quietly snuck down to my bedroom when I got up this morning and tucked herself onto the duvet at the bottom of the bed. My husband is still "sleeping..." in that same bed. I wish him a hearty good luck!
We have tried.....we have tried.......
Last Sunday, friends dropped in to surprise me with a pot of pansies. They are dog people and have their own Black lab named Norm. So, they are comfortable around canine capers. Norm, btw, is afraid of her.....and for good reason!!!!!! She has beaten the crap out of Norm even as a little puppy!!! My friend have even included Gracie in their invitations to their home too....have in fact had her at their house during a few potluck gatherings.........we all took turns on Gracie alert around the food. Sometimes we were lucky...sometimes we lost portions of the meal.
Anyways.....we're sitting in the living room catching up on stuff, and Gracie the attention seeking whacko jumps up beside our friend Jim, somehow gets behind him on the couch and proceeds to try to wrestle him with her paws around his neck and her big goofy head peering over. As hard as Jim tried, he couldn't get Gracie to obey..... she thought it was fun. In fact the harder you try to be the "ALPHA" the more turned on she gets.
She knows NO boundaries. This dog is all emotion....all impulsive, expressive emotion. She hyper-alert too.....to a point where she is a huge danger to herself and others...... (tries to attack the windshield wipers in the van, tries to jump out at cars passing by while forcefully sitting in the front seat ..... ). We are a travelling family. This dog can't handle even a trip to the store.
I'm tired....we've tried....we're all tired.
She's not too swift either.....just the other day, when Jamie had the dogs out for a run, Gracie went full force head first into a large boulder right in front of her. She bounced off it and kept going. Not swift or agile. Honest to God, this dog bumps into everything. She couldn't catch a ball in her mouth if her life depended on it. However, if she gets it in her brainstem she wants to jump into the swollen river with big hunks of ice in it thats flowing faster than you could catch a piece of flotsam floating by.....if she wants to bolt off her leash (we've been through 6 of them) to run up to the highway, if she wants to roll in something completely disgusting and then tear back into the house to smear it all over your couch........this puppy is ADHD WHACKED!
So, after great big sighs and many many conversations between ourselves, with our friends, and even with the folks at Bark Busters (who you gonna call???) after many stops and starts......after attempts to channel the "Dog Whisperer" we finally surrendered to the fact that she can't stay with us. We have tried. She is nuts. She needs more attention than we can give her.
Yesterday, I drove over to the SPCA to talk to them. We thought it may be the avenue to go....they would know someone who lives on a large piece of property, who is home all day....who could perform a few miracles on her. They were mean and unhelpful.....judgemental too. They don't take any dogs except strays, tried to lecture me on the personality of a Labrador Retriever (ahem....I have lived through two Lab puppies thank you very much). I ended up returning to my van so pissed off at these holier than thou eeejits and determined to never donate a single dog bone their way again. I just wanted their help for God's sake.
I came home and quickly took some photos....which of course wasn't a quick exercise. Gracie doesn't sit still unless she's asleep splayed on her back with her legs wide open and that's not pretty. Finally got some decent pics and posted an ad on a local online site........... FREEEEEEEE to Good home.... Well, within 1/2 an hour, I had an email from a guy in town who had a two year old Lab mix and was interested in getting another as a friend for his poochie. We made arrangements to meet here.... and it all looked good. He came over with his dog, who has crazed Border Colllie in her (good sign....very active.....) and after a while, he asked if he could take Gracie home with him for the night to see how she interacted there. Since we knew him kind of through mutual connections and since we were having friends over for dinner who are afraid of Gracie, we promptly said SURE!!!!
Off they went. He was the perfect person for Gracie.... I told my husband if this didn't work out, we were screwed because it meant she was far more nuts than we thought.... He agreed.
Two hours later? A phone call......... "Hi. Ummmmmm..... Gracie attacked my dog and drew blood. I don't think this is going to work..... I'm really sorry. She was great at the dog park. She was friendly with my sister and my family. She even walk on the lead and obeyed. But, she doesn't like my dog."
"OMG! " I said..... " I am so sorry. She's never done that at someone else's house. She's quite territorial around here, but I didn't think that would happen. Bring her home.... I'm so sorry!!"
She came bounding in, went straight for the dining room table, jumped up, scarfed down a big hunk of chicken, trotted into the living room, bounced up on the couch and scared the living breath out of the company. "I'm back!!!!!!"
oh goodie!!! We laughed. What else could we do?
This morning.... as I have been writing this post, 4 new emails have arrived with questions.
"Is Gracie good with other dogs?"
"Does she like children?"
"Can you give me more details about her? Is she still available?"
Where do I begin? How come no one's asked if she likes to belch and fart and roll in roadkill? How come no one wants to know if she can shred newpapers and eat glasses, and suck back a tube of toothpaste? How do I reply, as I hear her drinking from the toilet in the bathroom that I SWEAR I closed the door on?
How about............."I can't tell you how much we love her......"
We're going to miss her. But, we need our sanity to return. Wish us luck....and Gracie too.