a tale of three puppies

Those readers who know me are probably already confused.  But Ernie Bufflo, you only have two dogs, you’re already saying.  Ah yes, physically I have two dogs, but psychologically, you see, I have three.  I guess I should start at the beginning…

Our Bessie girl at the beach.
Our Bessie girl at the beach.

One of the things I was most excited about when we moved and bought a house with a yard was the chance to get a dog.  After all, for a year of studio living, I had been dreaming of the day I’d have a dog of my own.  I always had a dog or two growing up, and I just love having a dog in my life.  As soon as we could, we went to a local shelter to find the newest member of our family.  We took many dogs out into a little yard to play and get a sense of each other, but we ultimately settled on our gal Bessie, a catahoula/lab mix who was around 3 months old at the time.  Bessie came to us already potty trained, and, for the most part, was a great dog from the get-go.  She had a bit of a puppy chewing phase, with a particular taste for electronics– Xbox cords, remote controls, cell phones.  She also hated throw pillows with a fiery passion and loved nothing more than to rip their guts out, leaving pillow-innards strewn about the living room like a blizzard’s aftermath.  Still, she quickly grew out of all of that.

Two years later, Bessie is the perfet loyal labrador.  Sure, she has her quirks, as I’ve blogged before, but for the most part, she’s a mellow, sweet girl.  She just wants to lie at our feet, catch a few tennis balls, and will eagerly let us know when mealtime is approaching.  So, having had such a great experience with our first dog, I began dreaming about a second.  Ok, Ok, more like obsessively checking The Daily Puppy and Craigslist and begging Jon to get another puppy.

When we went home for Christmas, we had the perfect opportunity– a stray pup was staying with my parents in search of a permanent home or a place in a rescue.  She had been found so starved in the woods that the friends who found her thought she was dead.  They nursed her back to health but couldn’t keep her because they had a new baby on the way. My parents thought she’d make a good companion for my grandmother, but the poor dog was scared to death of Memaw, who was, I must admit, a little harsh with the dog.  So, by the time we met her, the poor little black pup was on at least her third home and looking for a fourth (my parents had their hands full with Roxanne the airdale and my littlest sister who has autism).  The dog played very well with Bessie, and after watching them romp and wrestle for a week, we had fallen in love and agreed to bring her back home with us.

Pretty Olive.
Pretty Olive.

And so she became Olive, a member of our family.  At home with us, Olive is a great dog.  Bessie had never been to fond of my snuggling and cuddling schemes, but Olive will savor and enjoy every bit of affection we give.  She’s a true snuggle pup, and she couldn’t be sweeter.  She is also heartbreakingly cute, and a tiny bit mischievious.  Ok, a lot a bit mischievious.  For a while there, she escaped from our yard every. single. day. Jon did a LOT of work on our fence, and between his Olive-thwarting and her finally feeling comfortable enough with us to decide to stick around, she’s finally decided she likes it here enough not to try to run off every single day. 

So now I’m sure you’re like, and so what’s this three puppies business?  Sounds like you’ve got it pretty good in the dog department! Yes, we do, so long as we don’t try to take Olive anywhere.  Though she and her sister Bessie play and snuggle and generally enjoy life together, if we are out on a walk and Olive sees another dog, it’s over.  She completely flips her shit.  My sweet puppygirl suddenly wells up with hate in her little puppy heart and starts barking in the most ear-piercing way, jumping all around and lunging and flopping and generally making a fool of herself.  It’s completely terrible.  To make matters worse, her general insanity seems to affect even good dogs we encounter, say two elderly golden retrievers hobbling along, and she makes THEM flip THEIR shit too.  It’s like the rage is contagious.

And so, when encountering say, the two elderly golden retrievers and their owners on a walk, we look like THOSE dog people.  The ones with no control over their hysterical dog.  The ones tugging and yanking and jerking on the leash in vain.  The ones yelling at the dog and griping at each other because of the dog.  It’s completely humiliating.  And this doesn’t even TOUCH the way she acts at the dog park.  While Bessie absolutely loves the dog park, Olive acts like we’ve just taken her to some terrifying place where monster-dogs are all out to get her.  She runs around barking hysterically.  Once she even jumped up on top of a picnic table and barked in some poor woman’s face.  We just pretended we didn’t know her.  My my, that is SUCH a poorly behaved little black doggie! Somone should really do something about that awful dog! Another time, while dog sitting, a friend took Olive to the dog park and because of her crazy shenanigans another dog actually attacked her.  I told you the rage was contagious!  Olive was fine, but we’re not going to be taking her back to the dog park for a while.

And so, I’m faced with a puppy equivalent of the Incredible Hulk.  She’s all cuddles and cuteness when we’re home, just the four of us, happily entertaining us and playing with her sister, fetching tennis balls and performing acrobatic leaps.  But the minute we decide to take advantage of a nice summer evening for a family walk, it’s like she is transformed into some completely other Mr. Hyde type dog, lashing out at every other puppy we meet.  She makes me hate her outside the house, ready to sprint all the way home when too many other people are also out with their dogs, just trying to enjoy the evening, but apparently provoking crazy levels of hate in my silly little dog.  But then we get home and she completely melts my heart again.  I just don’t know what to do!  Think Cesar would come to South Carolina?


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