Thursday, September 23, 2010

He's NOT supposed to be in the house!

Meet Otis. Otis is NOT a house dog. He's being given a RARE opportunity to pretend he's a house dog but in about 30 minutes, he'll be marched right out to the deck where he normally resides. Why such harsh treatment? Have I got a story for you...........

Nearly two years ago, in October, I was preparing to watch my adorable nephews. Their parents were flying to San Diego for a much needed vacation/couples getaway/anniversary trip. I was more than happy to watch the boys, then ages, 2 and 3 along with my 3 year old daughter. My older two, then aged 7 and 10 would be gone during the day but able to help entertain the little ones at night. No problem. Two days prior to their arrival, my brother-in-law called to ask if we wanted a puppy...........or two. We'd agreed to adopt a "Borgi" pup when it was ready. Unfortunately, something happened to the mom and the babies were found cold, hungry and near death. Being a dog person, I couldn't let them die. Even if they did, I had to give it a shot......

I met him with two teeny tiny puppies at the Vet. We bought a $60 can of formula and two small bottles. I researched to see 1. if it was possible to keep them alive and 2, what they would need for care. Their home was a small box with a heating pad in the bottom. I fed them warm formula every four hours. I wiped their little bottoms and put them on training pads after each feeding. I kept them in a warm, dark room unitl they opened their eyes. They were almost two weeks old when they came to my house. Two days later the nephews arrived.

If there was ever any desire to have another child, after BS, this solidified a clear NO. I was up every four hours, just as I was with my human children. The difference was, I didn't put any of them into a box! I got just as tired, grouchy and forgetful. Oldest Nephew found carrots in the silverware drawer............

The week went fine. My nephews are very easy boys to play with, care for and entertain. When they left, I still had two tiny puppies, and they were not as easy to play with, care for and entertain. They grew though. They grew and grew and grew. Cheeko was the smaller of the two and at times I really worried that he was not going to make it. There was no question about Otis. He was definitely thriving. It was clear that he had a strong will to live. His attitude showed through very early. We should have named him Hank. He thinks he's the greatest cowdog to have ever lived. We're not sure how he came to arrive at this awareness, he certainly hasn't been praised for his herding skills. Most of the time, he's in the way and causes more frustration and wrecked fences than anything. However, we can't help but love the stinker!

Of coarse I fell madly in love with the rogue. His darling eyes assured me that he loved and appreciated my care. Without my help, its likely that he would've perished. I trusted this would be enough to "cushion the blows" I was receiving from this youth. Everytime I turned around, he was peeing on something, often my leg. One morning he nawwed each end of my wooden bench, the chew toy sat idly on the floor. He scratched, he barked, he destoryed. No sock, shoe, boot, hat, cap, glove or coat was safe from the little pirnaha. But the thing I could most not stand was the constant peeing.........everywhere, in every room. Grrrrrr. I loving having a dog in the house. I cannot stand a dog that is not housebroken.

I came to the end of my rope very quickly. One cold morning my husband stated the obvious. "Robyn, he's not a house dog. Let him go outside, that's what he really wants." I suppose I'll feel the same way when my kids get ready to go to college. Here I was, being the protective "mother dog" (no comments about this) and wanting to protected my precious, adoptee from the harsh winds, sleet and cold. "No," protested I. "He's my baby, I'm sure he'll miss being inside with me and I don't want him to get sick." When I went around the corner, Chad opened the door wide, and with very little encouragement, Otis bounded out, happily into his "element".

He's never looked back. And after a week of repair, and finding many other things that he'd destroyed, I was amazed to find that I didn't miss him. He was a terrible menace. I was blinded by the mothering instincts, the ability to nurture and love. I suppose this is an assett but it cost me dearly in terms of time, worry and.............articles of clothing!

Otis is a true outdoor dog. He's never wanted to come back inside. He's happy living in the barn, sleeping on bales and chasing cats. The minute we start up the ranger, his ears perk up and he's loaded. This is a bit of a challenge mind you, he's got Corgi legs, which are short, fat and stubby. He's got a long body and sadly..........a bushy, border collie tale. He's sort of a freak of nature! He's mostly black with tan and on his chest is a distinct white cross. He wears this like a shield. He needs it too. When he climbed on the bench to snatch a little left over morsel from BS's plate, he was nearly beated to death with a broom. Until he jumped over in the chair, sitting on his haunches, flashing that unique, sign. Alright, "dog of God", OUT! OUT! With what looked like a puppy smirk, he s l o w l y meandered to the sliding glass door, again sat on his haunces and waited for me to open it. A miracle this was, because he hadn't tried scratching the hell out of it for once.

I believe he knows much more than what he lets on. He fancies himself a guard dog. He is always ready to go herd cattle, even if he doesn't know if he should be in front or the back. He's happy to chase horses back across the road, and help hunt for lost calves. He's just as happy to climb on a lamp at the camp fire or follow us down the road when we ride bikes. The one thing he does not do............ is come in the house. The few times he's been given a chance has ended promptly and in the same way, "No, oh......don't pee on that! Out! Out!

On occassion, his faithful buddy, Blue Sparkle, does her best to sneak him in the house. I've found him under her bed and in the living room watching a move. There's been a couple of times that I believe he's been in the house, though there isn't evidence that he has, just a hunch. He's happy to oblidge the little red head that puts a leash on him and leads him around, though he does so with caution. He knows the rules.

That did not deter him from lifting his leg today. He was good for as long as he could be. When BS sauntered into the kitchen for a snack, he shifted from his position on the floor. I had a feeling..............but I was too late. Up with right hind leg........"OTIS" I screamed. OUT! OUT! There is was, just a dribble on the bottom of my sofa and a little puddle on the floor. I didn't even have to show him where the door was............he already knew!

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