Zoey. Who is this flash of fur, this pouncing, spring loaded canine? If you were to sit in my living room, you would find yourself thoroughly entertained by this white haired terrier, who leaps around playing with grapes and takes naps with her squeaky monkey toy.
Going from a geriatric dog to an almost puppy is quite a change up. Suddenly, we find ourselves not checking on the dog to make sure its breathing, but instead to make sure she’s not rolling in mud, or licking the grime off of air conditioners.
The road to training the perfect dog, however, is not by any means gilded. Zoey’s first two weeks were filled with mishaps.
She was fond of jumping up on furniture and people, sprinting like one possessed by Forrest Gump when let off the chain, and yowling like a small child when left home alone. Laying down normally seems to be beyond her capacity–instead, she drops shoulders to the ground first, scoots along the ground with her backside elevated and her tail wagging, then collapses dramatically down to her side. When excited, her brain shuts off entirely. She also enjoys finding trash and walking around with it in her mouth…Q-tips, used tissues, plastic jugs, whatever tastes delicious. Her ability to learn quickly, however, is astounding.
Zoey quickly learned that to be petted, she had to quietly sit down, instead of wiping her muddy paws all over your shirt. Her want, however, is to climb up into your lap and smother you, like a heated blanket. The result is an adorable action, in which she uses her paws like hands and hugs your legs whenever she’s sitting next to you.
Her athletic ability is boundless. Oh, were you expecting to eat that pork chop bone you were holding? Too late! One Olympic leap upward, a gentle nibble of the lip, and the bone is being carried away by a wire-haired blur. She’s not only a fan of meat, however–she’ll also gobble tomatoes, lettuce, apples and green beans.
Teaching her not to run off was a big one, one we didn’t want to rush. So for nearly two weeks, we went on about twelve walks a day, with her squiggling against the harness and chain like a hairy grub who possesses the unnatural strength of an ox.
The first day of freedom off this restraining chain ended badly–winding two stray dogs, she took off after the frightened canines, (who ironically are 3x as big as she,) and kept going, and kept going… We knew chasing after her only rewarded her, but we had no choice: it was catch her, or lose her. So there we went, in the dead of an icy winter, with me wearing a thermal top, running shorts, camouflage boots and a flapped hat, sliding down an icy road after a riled animal.
But little Zoe is now on an amended path. Most of her psychotic quirks have faded into cute idiosyncrasies, and she now trots along at your side amiably, without sprinting off into the wild blue yonder. She does, however, still enjoy mud.