Monday, November 26, 2007

A Despondent Dog's Photo Essay on the Starbucks "No Dogs" Policy

My dog has issues. Specifically, she hates being left alone, and yet she is left to fend for herself in my house for nearly nine hours a day. With three exceptions, every time I open the door, she is right there, stunned, delighted, and not just a little pissed off to see me. What's weirder is that she reacts the exact same way when I pick her up from doggie day care, where she plays harder than almost any other dog in the pack. Darby would be perfectly content to go to work with me every day and sleep underneath my desk.

I know how I created this situation. I got Darbs in the thick of the divorce and took her with me everywhere. I have this great travel bag for her that looks just like a gym bag, and I would sling that thing over my shoulder while grocery shopping, running errands, having dinner in a restaurant (she'd be in her little bag on the floor or a spare chair), or wherever else I was at. I confess that, more than once, I entertained the idea of bringing her to a movie theater, as she is as quiet as a mouse in that thing. She was just content to be brought along.

Somewhere along the line, Darbs grew very territorial. If anyone approaches me, even in kindness, she growls. She growls at dogs that are walked past our building. She is afraid and aggressive with kids, which is unacceptable. You kind of never know when she is going to react badly and nip. And I never, ever would have believed she would be a nipping kind of dog. When she was only five months old, I took her to a very crowded bar (that was dog friendly) and stood on my chair, cheering the World Cup, along side two hundred or so patrons. Darbs' reaction was to yawn and sleep. At some point, Darbs became kind of neurotic and certainly unpredictable, as she has nipped at (and broken the skin of) K's daughter, my niece, and my stepmother, all without any provocation.

And other than that (I sound like a battered wife), she is a perfect dog. She is mellow, loving (but not too needy for attention), loves long and furious walks and is a great companion. We took her to Portland this weekend and she was amazing - both in the three hour car ride down and back and while there. She wasn't aggressive or nippy or anything of the sort. When the pea and I went to bed, she was pretty judicious in affording joint custody to our respective beds. The pea was with me when I got Darbs and actually held her in her lap on the drive home, and I routinely pawn off Darbs to her, so Darbs truly has two mommies. I just need to get her weird and unpredictable freakouts under control.

Also need to work to get her separation anxiety in check. Case in point? This morning at Starbucks. Darbs takes issue with their nationwide no pets policy.

Dejected and alone

Sprawled out in full on despondency.

Upon making eye contact with her owner, who is balancing two cups of coffee, a bottle of water and a muffin

1 comment:

Talix said...

"...who is balancing two cups of coffee, a bottle of water, a muffin..."

...and a phone cam. She's too funny (when she's not Darjo).