Friday, January 20, 2012

"Pet" Peeves

Until about two years ago my “pet” peeve was not having one--a pet, I mean. I love dogs, my family usually had dogs from my childhood through adulthood, but my husband kept putting off my hints, telling me “in five years.” This went on for 17 years. Then a year and a half ago he suddenly said to me, “We can get a dog now.” Yaaay!!! Within three days we were at the SPCA.

So now Honey is part of our family. And as much as I love her, I do have a few peeves about my pet.

First I need to explain: my family has always had lovable “mutts”--mixed breeds, pound puppies, whatever you call them. I’ve always preferred them because they have better temperaments than purebreds—or so I thought. The last dog we had, a shepherd mix,  was a real sweetheart, so good-natured. So that was what I wanted again, no question. The description on Petfinder said Honey was a “Shar-Pei/terrier mix,” and she looked adorable—a few little wrinkles on her head, a partly black tongue, and a curly tail the only Shar-Pei characteristics. The rest of her was hairy little terrier. Never having had a terrier, I didn’t know what we were getting into.

The description also called her “shy.” I figured okay, I’m shy, too. I understand. What it didn’t say was that she was timid. A scaredy-cat. And like lots of cowards, she covers it up by being aggressive.

So here are my “pet” peeves.

My dog is antisocial. She hates other dogs and little kids--I mean toddler-age kids. She barks and scares them. It’s really embarrassing to meet someone else walking their dog on the street when they want to let their dog meet mine--they usually say, “He/she’s friendly,” and I have to say “Mine isn’t,” usually just before she starts growling and barking at the other dog. I always have to apologize to dog owners and mothers of toddlers. This is usually with larger dogs than she is, though--the fear again. Sometimes we’ll meet a smaller dog and she’ll actually sniff a little and turn away without insulting dog and scaring owner. I started giving her a treat when another dog approaches; now she looks up at me for it. (“See, I let that dog just walk by. Where’s my treat?”) I do wish I could take her to the dog park, though.

My dog chases squirrels. I don’t just mean she “chases” squirrels around the yard for fun. I mean she turns into a raving lunatic whenever she sees a squirrel. She believes that squirrels have no right to exist in the same world she inhabits, and she’s determined to eradicate every one of them. Let her spot one from the window and she sets off a cacophony, raking her nails against the glass and all but propelling herself through the window, glass and all. Let her spot one on a walk and she goes into full battle mode. Her body stiffens for a moment; then she lets out a shriek and her strong little terrier legs start windmilling against the pavement, her nails scraping as if she’s making furrows in a cornfield. Her 30 pounds trump my 130+ pounds every time. She’s pulling me with the full power of her obsessiveness toward THAT TREE, the one she just saw the little gray tail scurry up. She throws her body full length up the trunk and screams in her anger and frustration that she can’t climb it like that furry little devil just did. And God forbid the furry little devil runs along the power lines over her head. You’d think the world was ending. She thrusts herself into the air and turns in a full circle, screeching. It takes both my husband and me to hold her back. I swear someday she’s going to figure out how to fly just so she can grab the little critters off their branches.

 Honey being good

But, as people keep reminding us, she is a rescue dog (was a year and a half old when we got her) and we don’t know what experiences she had before she came to us. Besides, she’s so darn cute. And in the interest of equal time, she does have a few pet-peeves of her own. So here are Honey’s peeves:

1. Getting a bath, having her ears cleaned and her teeth brushed.

2. Not being able to eat twenty-four hours a day.

3. Never being able to catch those blasted squirrels!


  1. I'm laughing, but let me explain. I had two, TWO, llasa apso-terrier mixes. I bottle fed the runt. She was a loveable lunatic. Walking her was like flying a kit and she acted like the joan Crawford of the dog world. She was so loveable with us and so mean to her brother and other critters that we had to run interference. I cried for weeks after she died, but Simon stole her favorite toy and never looked back.
    Honey is adorable, enjoy the chaos. (And terriers are Chaos)

  2. hehehehhe... sounds like a good place to pet those peeves:-)

  3. I have a rat terrier and I can tell you, he is almost 12 and he hasn't slowed down a bit! He barks at all intruders. All things he perceives as intruders and sometimes just to hear his own voice. He is either barking, eating, begging for play time, begging for rubs or sleeping. He has no in-between. But he is the most lovable and most adorable boy dog ever. Enjoy the mania and the nonsense, that's a terrier! ♥

  4. Thanks for sharing Honey with us Elaine! We had one dog for about ten years, but never one after that. I was alwasy sure tht none could live up to her loving and gentle nature. We've certainly missed having a pet at times though. They are a real addition to a family. Who knows - she may even mellow with time!

  5. elaine,
    honey is a cute. antisocial isn't bad. just a part of who she is. just remember that she trusts you. therefore loves you. like no other. have fun.


  6. We've never owned a terrier mix but we do have a Shar-pei x Goldne Lab cross. He's reasonably calm. We have a friend who raises terriers. The pups, especially, bark incessantly. And they are all the bravest, non-stoppable dog in the world, I think.

    AS you said, you have no idea what Honey's past was so you missed out on the socialization training and you got what you got. Chasing squirrels is probably in her instincts.

    It doesn't matter, though, she loves you--probably adores you as most rescue animals seem to do with their owners. That bond is pretty special. Enjoy the time you have together!

  7. I'm with Honey on the not being able to eat all the time thing. ;O)