“Dogs act exactly the way we would act if we had no shame.” – Cynthia Heimel
Forget about the Vibrating Pomeranian, The Replacement Dog, the ferret or any other bad pet decision I was forced to endure. By far, the worst of them all was The Eater of Souls.
A few years ago, Medusa decided the best Christmas present our son could ever get would be a dog. Of course, I immediately pointed out that this was a bad idea for a lot of reasons. First, I would be the one taking care of it during the day since I work at home and he would be in school (and Medusa did nothing at all, if she could help it). Second, I had an employee at the time who also worked in my home office and the dog would be a distraction for us both. Third, our son wouldn’t take care of the dog because he’s too wrapped up in video games. Fourth, we like to travel when we can, so the dog would have to be kenneled which is expensive. In short, I specifically said there is absolutely no way we would get another dog as our lifestyle as a family simply wouldn’t accommodate providing a dog with the care and attention it needs.
So, imagine my surprise when Medusa buys him a dog. Not just any dog. Oh, no. We get a Husky. This is the single most difficult dog to contain in the entire world. It needs constant attention and has boundless energy. They are incredibly smart and are amazing escape artists. Ours actually learned how to unlatch the tether from its collar by rubbing his neck against the license plate on my motorcycle trailer. Once the dog escapes, what does it do? Runs away. Every time. That’s what huskies do.
Here’s the thing… if you’re looking for a constant companion and playmate, these dogs are amazing. And they are absolutely beautiful. For us? It was the exact opposite of what our family needed.
Why do I refer to him as The Eater of Souls? Because he would suck the life right out of you. If you weren’t paying attention to him, he whined. If you left him alone for any period of time, he howled. If you tried to kennel train him, he barked, howled and threw himself against the walls of the kennel. We started with an open metal cage which our golden retriever (who was perfect for our family) used until he died. It was very nice. It had a bed in the bottom and padded fabric lining the lower half of the walls and a matching cloth cover that could cover the cage for warmth or to help calm the dog. TEoS destroyed all of the fabric the first time he was put in it. He went on to bend the walls of the cage and throw himself against the corners until the cage opened enough for him to escape. (It was a steel cage, by the way.)
So, we moved to a large hard-shell plastic kennel. The normal techniques of kennel training him simply never worked. TEoS would literally howl and bark from the time we put him in the kennel until we let him out… minutes, hours.. no matter. It was constant.
We tried keeping him on a 20′ tether in the back yard. He’d escape by slipping out of his collar, getting his collar to open, unlatching the tether and once by chewing through the steel cable of the tether itself. We put a harness on him and he broke it. Each time he escaped meant I got to go to the pound and pick him up (and pay a fine).
Travel? Sure. Just spend $50 per day or more to have him kenneled.
Get a pet sitter while we’re gone? No problem. Until she gets so frustrated, she just ties the dog to the coffee table and leaves and we get a call from animal control letting us know they’re breaking into our house to rescue the dog because it’s been howling non-stop for two days.
The greatest moment I ever had with ToES was when part of my town was evacuated because of a forest fire and ToES ended up in the pound (I was out of town when it happened). When I got back in town, the lady at the shelter told me one of the volunteers was completely in love with the dog and was broken-hearted that I was there to pick him up. I immediately filled out the surrender form and paid the volunteer’s adoption fee so I knew ToES would go to the guy who loved him so much.
Ahhh… a happy ending.