Thursday, November 16, 2006

Lucky isn't the half of it.

I get up every day at 5:15 to walk the dog. This is so wrong on sooo many levels, had anyone suggested 3 years ago that I would be doing this I'd've laughed in their face.

I am a night person. I always have been. I can be ragged-out and fall asleep on the couch at 6:00 PM and wake up at 6:30 PM and be wide awake until 2 - 3 in the morning. When I was in the military my favorite shift was swings. Go to work at 2:30 PM and leave at 10:30 PM. Stay up for a few hours with wife and babies and go to bed at 2 -3 AM and STILL get 7-8 hours sleep. I get my body clock from my mom, she's 65 and still stays up till midnight.

2 summers ago we "acquired" a dog. My son, daughter and wife were driving down the interstate one afternoon and noticed that a puppy was poking it's head out of the open trunk lid of the car in front of them. To their horror, within a minute or two the puppy had wriggled out of the trunk and fallen out of the car! At 70 MPH. My son, who was driving, had been honking his horn trying to get the driver ahead's attention but it didn't work. They didn't slow down, nor did they stop when the dog fell out and the car. My son stopped, picked up the dog - who was scraped up but didn't appear to be too hurt, and took off after the other car. They couldn't catch it, gave up and took the dog to the vet. He had some road rash but no broken bones or any other injury. I called the police and let them know about it in case the other people called looking for the puppy. They didn't. So we now have a dog.

We got him a kennel, set him up a run in the back yard and named him Lucky - 'cause he's damned lucky to be alive after falling out of a speeding car. He's a mixed breed, but mostly pit bull. He's black with a few white markings. He's as sweet as he can be (he's @60 lbs of pure muscle!) - until he gets out on his walks. When we first got him, I would take him for a walk after work. But when we would meet other dogs or cars he would go ballistic. It's like he thinks he owns the road and these others hadn't any right to be there. So, in order to walk off of some of his energy and keep these meetings to the absolute minimum - I get up every day at 5:15 to walk the dog. We rarely see anyone else and maybe 1 or 2 cars tops. I've lost 35 lbs walking him about 1.5 miles every day, but I plateaued and haven't lost any in about a year. I've recently doubled that distance and it is kicking my butt something awful. I am sooooo tired. But maybe I'll start losing weight again.

My next door neighbor has a soft spot for dogs, and he loves to watch Lucky play in our yard. He's seen the ballistic act and our attempts to control it with various leashes, including a choke collar. Nothing worked. My wife couldn't control Lucky and I had a hard time. My neighbor couldn't stand the way Lucky would choke himself trying to get at (car or beast). So, last week he gave me a new device to try. It is a head collar that makes him behave. It isn't a muzzle, but it kinda-sorta looks like one. (see above, and here's a link to it) It includes a strap that goes around his snout and another that goes around his neck just behind his ears. I didn't think it would work (I hava a lead for him rated for 250 lb dogs because he's so strong) as the straps were so thin. BUT IT DOES! Believe it or not, when he sees a car, all I have to do is put gentle pressure on the lead and he stops lunging and stays beside me. It's something to do with the strap around his nose that pulls his head down when the leash is *gently* pulled. He can't stand it. It isn't painful, it just bothers and distracts him - makes him shake his head. Anyway, he doesn't take me for walks any longer, I get to take him.

If I can recover from being dog-tired. (sorry - it was so obvious, I had to.)

5 deeply creased, dogeared comment(s):

urban-urchin said...

my daughter has been begging us for a dog and I need to lose 15 lbs. hmmmmm.

lucky is pretty damn lucky (not just to survive a fall like that but to have landed in your family)

Mother of Invention said...

What horrible owners they were and indeed , the dog is truly Lucky to have "found" you.

Thanks for the nudge on the light box. I may look into it if it's not too expensive. It can't do any harm.

daufiero said...

We use the halti-collar too (or gentle leader, whichever). Our dog (an anorexic 45 lb. Standard Poodle) is not that strong, but she has a real aversion to passing cars also. The prong collars never worked, but our trainer explained that the halti gives us the alpha status that reassures her.

We still have a problem when walking the dog with the children: she's very protective.

Bob said...

Urban-urchin: kids are famous for wanting a puppy or kitty. Until the pet: a) grows up and are no longer the cutest thing in the world; or b) have to be fed and/or their litter box scooped EVERY DAY, "geez mom, do I hafta"?; or c) nips or scratches said child and now the pet is the devil incarnate. But, pets are often - if not the fondest, at least among - the fondest memories of childhood. And taking care of a pet can be a great exercise in teaching responsibility.

As for weight loss - jenny craig would probably be cheaper in the long run.

Lucky is a happy dog, I will take credit for a little of that. Thanks.

mother of invention: when Lucky fell out of their trunk, they tapped their brake lights and then took off. I am convinced they knew he fell out and I still reserve a few choice words for them.

The light box is a place to start, anyhow. Good Luck.

Daufiero: It is really amazing. My wife couldn't reliably control him with a regular or even choke collar when a car/cat/person passed us on the road. Now, he sortof lunges, but immediately stops and shakes his head for a second - which is usually how long it takes the whatever to pass by. And it only takes one hand. No more tug-of-war.

meno said...

Bless you for scooping that poor puppy off the road and giving him a home. I will remember that halter/leash thing if i ever get another dog.