April 16, 2008


I haven't yet written about my maniac dog, Harley. He is a three-pound bundle of...well, I'm not quite sure what. Officially, he is a yorkie-poo, a cross between a Yorkshire Terrier and a Miniature (or Teacup, not quite sure) Poodle. Unofficially, he is a craziest dog I have ever met.

When we got our cat (who is normal), we put up child gates to keep her off the wooden floors and away from the leather furniture. Well, that didn't work for long, so we put them away and once again enjoyed being able to walk through our house uninhibited. Then, about a year later, we decided to get a small house dog. Our original thought was to get a miniature dachshund: they were smart, fairly trainable, and the miniatures did not seem to have the back problems of the full-sized (though I truly couldn't tell the difference in the sizes). Upon seeing a classifieds ad in the paper, we went to a local, well-respected breeder who reported having a new litter of dachshunds, ready for inspection and deposit until old enough to be taken to their new home. We thought that would be perfect, as it would give us about two weeks to buy the various puppy things we would need, and try to start introducing Tigger (our cat) to dogs of all shapes and sizes. Instead, my husband fell in love with the yorkie-poo who was ready to take home that day. He had the yorkie markings and coloring, and my husband was convinced he was almost one-of-a-kind, despite the breeder's repeated statements that genetics really could repeat the feat of a yorkie-looking cross quite easily. In fact, he said, the usual litter consisted of at least one puppy colored the same way. My dear husband didn't seem to hear. I agreed we could take the puppy home (he was really cute).

Upon our arrival, Tigger sniffed the invader, hissed and fluffed up to proportions I didn't think were physically possible, turned tail and hid under the computer desk. My husband went to the store while I tried to coax Tigger out and show her that the puppy was friendly, to no avail, of course. Obviously, the strange thing had duped her precious feeder and litter box scooper into thinking it was harmless. She would not be fooled.

My husband came home from the store with well over $100 in puppy bedding, toys, food, shampoo, dishes, bathroom pads and a collar, leash, and cage. Silly me, thinking that the money we spent on what would have been a free mutt ten years ago would be the worst of it. We began setting up the puppy's area, and decided it was time to break out the child gates again, to keep him off the hardwood floor and the leather furniture. Thankfully, there was no way he could get over them, even full grown.

Nearly six months later, one of the pet gates has a Harley-sized hole chewed through it. One of his strange behaviors is that he never goes through that hole. It's like he wanted an evacuation route, just in case. We have gone through multiple telephone lines and various electric cables after they were chewed through (how he is still alive is a mystery). We've only gone through two and a half eight-pound bags of puppy food, but way too many bathroom pads. They are more expensive than his food. We are training him, but he's kind of dense. If he's outside when he has to go, great! If he's not, there's a fifty-fifty chance he'll actually go on the pad, unless it's only 'number one' and then it's about a ninety-five percent change he'll use the pad. He has learned absolutely no word commands, although he has learned that to pull on the leash is to get choked by the leash being pulled back. Still, the connection between that and 'heel' fails him. Mostly, he is pure furry energy. Other dogs are the only way to lure him in if he gets off the leash. If you give chase, you will lose to his racing genius. At less than foot long, and maybe six inches tall at the top of his head, you wouldn't think he could do it, but I doubt the person who wins the next Olympic race could catch him. He joyously looks forward to each day, and what he can chew or destroy next. We timidly creep forth from our bed each morning, wondering what important thing we accidentally left within his reach, and sighing relief, not when we find he shredded nothing, but when we find it was only yesterday's junk mail. If he shredded nothing, we contact the Vatican to notify the Pope of a miracle. Walks are frequent, in an attempt to curb his endless puppy energy. He has dedicated himself to licking any part of your skin he can get to, and frequently enjoys climbing up on either me or my husband and attempting to lick our face off. If there is food around, it has his full attention. His pure yorkie markings still remain, although the grey fur he's developed on the top of his head have stopped people from asking where we found a miniature yorkie. The question now is if we are sure of his age, as though people simply can't believe that a puppy can have grey fur, despite his ancestry and the number of grey poodles out there. He and Tigger tolerate each other fairly well.

We will get him neutered soon, the vet said it might calm him down a little. His saving graces? He's not a barker, and he's small. If something comes to his attention and he thinks it something worth talking about, he'll belt out a little, but usually we can go the whole day without hearing from him. If he runs into you or pulls on the leash a little, you can't really feel it, and it certainly won't knock you over.

So that's my maniac dog: willful, energetic, irrepressible, annoying, happy to lock his jaws or teeth around anything in his reach, and always ready for a good lick attack. But, he's our Harley, and, better or worse, he's here to stay.

1 comment:

Ross said...

Hi K8E, Harley sounds a riot! In my experience with the numerous dogs we've had, we don't own them - they own us!

And the thing people say about only cats having nine lives? Not true. Dogs have a healthy set of nine themselves :)