xtitsx: (Default)
( 21 Jan 2017 10:50 am)
regular readers should know that Monster acts a goddamned fool when she is left home alone.
she'll tear up the carpet, chew up the blinds, knock over our plants.
one time she jumped off of our second-story balcony and spent an hour wandering around our neighborhood until a family of Mexicans snatched her up and called my phone umber on her collar.
that's why we call her the Monster.
there is just something wrong with her that she can't just chill the fuck out when both the PSE and i are out of the house.
a normal dog would lay down on the couch and take a fucking nap.
maybe at the worst they would sit nervously in front of the door waiting to jump around and celebrate when you come home or listen to distinguish the familiar sound of our car from the other cars in the parking lot.
Monster immediately freaks the fuck out in a panicked frenzy like the apartment is on fire.
the PSE and i tried everything we could, soothing doggie-relaxation music, pheromone sprays, a Thunder Shirt, five different kinds of Veterinary-prescribed anti-anxiety medications.
nothing did anything to make the Monster less of an ass every time the PSE and i left her home alone.
after several weeks of me going off to school last semester and the PSE going to work at a ramen restaurant and coming back to find our house trashed we decided the best way to solve the Monster's problem was just to never leave her home alone again.
the PSE quit her job and soon thereafter i got off of Law School for Winter break.
the Monster spent a good two months never being more then fifteen feet from the PSE and me, unless she went darting after a cat out on a walk, which is another one of her idiot problems.
it was a good two months, with the Monster being pretty much the perfect pet.
no trouble whatsoever, except for the cat-chasing.
but you can't live your life tethered to your pets, as much as i might think you should be allowed to, so last week the PSE began working with the Monster to try to get her acclimatized to the idea that at some point she might find herself home alone again.
we were hoping that after two months of being by our side all the time, of knowing that she is a member of our family and feeling secure in that, that her separation anxiety might dissipate.
no such luck.

last week, on my very first day back to Law School, the PSE took advantage of me being out of the house to test the Monster home alone.
that would have been a difficult task in the month preceding because it would mean i would have to leave the house and fuck if i don't want to do that if i don't have to.
the PSE set up her laptop computer to record the Monster's behavior while she was away.
the PSE got dressed in her out-cloths which triggered the Monster's anxiety.
in times past the Monster might attempt to slip past the PSE and run out the door with her but this time, the Monster was pretty good.
the PSE said “goodbye” and told her to “be good!” and went to go run errands for a half hour.
the PSE went to Office Depot to pick me up a binder and to the Dollar Store for picture frames for all the art we'd been drawing [see a post last week] then came back to appraise the situation.
the carpet did not appear to be torn away in front of either the door or the patio.
the plants had not been knocked over.
it seems that the Monster was a good dog while the PSE was out.
the PSE went and looked back over the recording she made to see how the Monster spent her time.
the Monster sat in front of the door for a while then she went to go lay on the sofa.
at about the ten-minuet point in the recording the Monster disappeared from view, she went into the bedroom then came out a minute later.
towards the end of the video she would swat at the front door, hitting some bells we have strung up, jingling them and looking back towards the bedroom, as if ringing them might summon us.
when that didn't work Monster spent the rest of the thirty-minute video moving around the apartment not quite at ease but far from the frantic state she normally would work herself into by this time.
all-in-all the video of the Monster's first time home alone in over two months was a pretty good sign.
until the PSE went into the bedroom and found that the Monster had peed in our bed.

the Monster is housebroken.
she didn't come to us housebroken. when the Monster came to live with us she didn't seem to have any idea whatsoever that she wasn't supposed to piss in our house.
it was frustrating, but after about two months of taking the Monster out on walks seven times a day she figured it out.
now the Monster will hold her pees and poops until the PSE or i will take her outside to relieve herself and we only have to do so maybe three or four times a day.
they say you can't consider a dog house-trained until they have gone sixty days without any accidents.
Monster hit her sixty-days dry, got herself a chip like the alcoholics do, and we considered herself cured.
then she went and did something like this.
but peeing in our bed while we were out of the house wasn't about not being house-trained. this was something else.
they say dogs don't have a sense of spite, but what the fuck else could it be!?!

the Monster has peed in our bed once or twice before and has peed on our sofa maybe three times.
all when we leave her home alone.
this is a things that some dogs will do sometimes, according to the internet.
the internet will hypothesize that they do it when they're feeling insecure, to remind their people of their smell, a way of saying “remember me!!! i'm here!!! don't forget me!!!”
i don't know if that kind of pathetic behavior makes sense or not, i guess it does, but for all the amateur dog psychology none of the internet hypothisizers say anything about how to get the fuckers to stop.
i mean, we can close our bedroom door, but that won't stop the Monster for pissing on our sofa if she really wants to make a point.
so, it seems that for all of our hope that the Monster might be over her separation anxiety and all of the problems it causes, we're really not anywhere.
that was disheartening.
and gross.

two days later i went back to Law School again for my second day of class.
i called the PSE when i got out to check in and once again, her voice was heavy with disappointment.
it seems the PSE and the Monster got into it again.

this time while i was at school the PSE decided to work with the Monster some more.
her plan was to leave the house for shorter periods of time and to give the Monster a stick to chew on while she was home alone as a distraction.
the Monster enjoys chewing on sticks and the idea was to get her to associate being left home alone with stick time instead of freak-the-fuck-out or piss-on-our-stuff time.
so the PSE got dressed, told the Monster to “be good” and gave her a stick to work on while she went out.
the PSE went outside for five minutes then came back and picked up the Monster's stick.
the stick is only for when the Monster is home alone.
then the PSE went out again, gave the Monster the stick back, and this time was out for ten minutes.
she came back, picked up the stick a second time.
each time the PSE recorded the Monster on webcam and each time, the Monster showed no major signs of anxiety.
though, to be fair, five and ten minutes are normally within her ability to tolerate.
the PSE repeated this two or three more times that afternoon.
on her last cycle the PSE gave the Monster a chew stick to work on, went outside for a while then came back and tried to take the stick away from Monster.
but Monster was wise to the PSE's shit by then and didn't let her.
the Monster took the stick in her mouth and tried swaying her neck around like Ray Charles, trying to dodge the PSE's grabby hand.
after several frustrating seconds of that she growled at the PSE.
the Monster has never growled at the PSE or i or anybody else.
she's growled at cats outside before, but never a person.
this wasn't just a warning growl, either, there was a meanness to it.
the PSE was not going to let the Monster win this fight so she persisted in trying to recapture the stick and that's when the Monster bit at her.
she didn't make contact, but she made the effort.
the PSE jumped back and the Monster took her stick and ran off to her bed, which is in a crate next to our bed.
the PSE locked her in there for an hour as punishment but the Monster didn't mind. she had a stick to gnaw.

this is a big deal.
Monster's gentle disposition is the best [and maybe only] thing she has going for her.
Monster isn't especially good-looking, she's not very bright, not very obedient and with her cat-chasing predilection and separation-anxiety she can be a downright disaster sometimes.
Monster's only real redeeming quality is that she is the most gentle, most loving thing i have ever met.
all she wants to do is sit in our laps and get pet all day.
whenever the Monster sees us, her tail will start wagging with wide arcs of joy and love [which is probably nervousness and emotional manipulation as a survival mechanism, but, we'll take it.]
you can forgive a lot of less-then-ideal behavior when all somebody wants to do is be loved by you, but, if the Monster starts developing a temper, well, hell, that's just game over.
the PSE and i lived with a nasty dog for years.
Dog was mean as shit. she would bite the PSE and i [the PSE more then i] for the slightest provocation real or imaginary.
we cannot go down that road again. i am not spending another dog's natural life living in fear of getting bit whenever we displease our house-pet.
and Monster's got some huge teeth for her size, too. she is half Terrier and Terriers are built to kill rats.

when i got back to the house we let Monster out of her crate and she came and cuddled with me, business as usual.
she cuddled with the PSE, too, though, something had changed between them that day.
i am hoping that this is just a fluke, that the Monster was having a bad day and that, after this, things will get back to normal.
we had six months and seven days of Monster being nothing but gentle and sweet with us.
i'm hoping we can just get back to that.
but in the back of our minds we will always know that the Monster can snap.
and that's a sad thing.
it changes our relationship a little bit.
you can't unring that bell.

//[onward ho!]

September 2017

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