Happy days


My husband, our daughter and I had a whole week off to bond with the Miz Pembleton and Chow Chow. Both dogs were well-behaved all week but by Thursday, we noticed a stubborn streak in the young male. Chow Chow. He had been poorly the week before and had several vet visits before we noticed the return of an even healthier appetite. Chow had improved a good deal, gaining some weight and muscle tone, after daily walks and chasing the Russian neighbour’s black, cheeky cat.
Little Miz Pembleton had retained her sweet, wholesome nature and displayed only the very best and most considerate temperament. She whimpered when one of us walked out the room, and then eagerly jumped on us when we returned. She was adorable!
Chow Chow began to bark every time our neighbours came in or left. He had this surprisingly low growl that turned into a full bark, the closer strangers got. Then we noticed his soft, shy gaze turn into a full head-on stare down. He no longer hunched his back. Chow stood tall, for a Jackshund (Daschund-Jack Russell mix)!
By the end of day 5, his gaze was dominating, challenging and downright demeaning. By day 6, he was chasing Miz Pembleton round the house in mock-fights. By day 7, the late afternoon fights began to turn nasty. Chow would bite Miz Pembleton’s right ear, at the same spot each time and her left hind leg, also on the same spot. I decided to get him out and walking more. Chow loved the exercise but tired out rather quickly, which was a mismatch to his tough dog-walk! Next step, we decided to get him active in the compound and in our home by giving him the chance to play with his dog toys, which he could chew and fetch. The surprising thing is, Chow never once wanted to play fetch and selectively played with his chew toy at odd hours. His aggression continued, until we had to separate both dogs during walks and at meal times.
Miz Pembleton on the other hand was turning into a nervous wreck when they were alone in the room. I caught him growling defensively at her and realized these dogs were not bonded in any way, despite the agent’s insistence.
Day 8, we left the dogs lazing and half asleep for an afternoon barbecue close by. We hurried home to make sure we fed the dogs and walked them. As we opened the door, we noticed an eerie silence. Neither dog scampered to the door to greet us. Then as we shut the door, the shredded couch pillow and destroyed shoes became clear; strewn across the room, as though a hurricane had redesigned our living room.
Miz Pembleton was on all fours but cowering in a corner. Chow was unapologetic and growled at her as I approached. The challenge in his eye was unmistakable. She began to whimper and walk away slowly and backwards. That was the last straw.
Chow in the meantime cow-towed only when my husband told him sternly, ‘ Chow, you are a bad, bad dog!’ He crouched and cast his eyes down in a bid to escape impending scolding. Within thirty minutes, we had started a frank discussion about our individual concerns on each dog’s exposure.
Miz Pembleton loved her grooming sessions Chow disliked it. She loved dog baths, he hated them. She liked rice in milk, he tolerated it. She ate small portions; he could eat an antelope and often pinched food from her plate if we were not looking! Miz Pembleton sat waiting for her breakfast, and he knocked over the rubbish bin for a treat. She was well house trained but Chow had begun to ignore all his house training, peeing on nearly every carpet we owned! She had soft paw pads; Chow’s were rougher than industrial sand paper! Miz Pembleton answered to her name and he ignored his! That was our Aha moment – Chow was not his name!
So I played around with dog names and came up with B-B and he jumped up in response, polite briskness for the first time! I was so disappointed. As we got ready to go to bed, we agreed that the pound would be called and an offer to return Mr. Street Smarts made – at no refund.
By 9.30 a.m., we secured the deal and my dear, sweet husband Jay,w drove B-B back to the kennels in silence and dismay. It was hard on him, as they had bonded best. B-B clearly in need of a male mentor and my husband in need of the mentoring! Once they arrived, B-B nearly hurt himself leaping out of our car boot and very nearly ran off to the kennels before my husband could unhook his leash!
B-B strutted off in typical arrogant fashion, with head high, stocky body primed for the charge and never looked back, lest he turned into a pillar of salt! My husband realized he had to let go and turned to the office, cleared the paperwork and offered the payment as our contribution to their work, before heading home to peace and a sweet Miz Pembleton!
Discovering mangoes…..
Miz Pembleton greeted Jay with some apprehension. She had enjoyed her time alone and whimpered at the thought that B-B was due to strut in at any moment. Jay shut the door and Miz Pembleton’s mood eased into a relaxed, grateful and loving demeanor. Soon, she was lapping up all the attention and basking at being the sole source of attention.
Now Jay loves eating mangoes and with each slice, Miz Pembleton watched and waited for her share. One peel slipped onto the floor and she sniffed it and then bit a piece off and had a feast. Every time one of us eats a mango, we offer her some and she eats it up with such sweet appreciation, we feel obligated to share. Mangoes are now a steady favourite in our home!

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