Thursday, December 10, 2015

Bad Dog x 2

Behind that endearing face...
My boyfriend doesn't have a great track record of pleasing me when it comes to dogs. This time, he (bless his heart, don't strangle him, don't strangle him!) decided to adopt a rescue dog just a few weeks after we moved into our apartment. I had strong objections and tried to encourage him to wait until we were settled in a house again, but he ignored me.

Actually, it was a little amusing, because he kept trying to go to shelters to look at potential adoptees without me catching on. We were out on a shopping trip with a couple of friends when he started driving to this unknown location. "Where are we going?" we asked him. "Oh, there's just this thing I want to see." Turns out it was a pet store holding a dog adoption event. A week later, it was...He: "I have to go somewhere." Me: "Where?" He:"Just going somewhere with my mom." Me:"You're going to the animal shelter again, aren't you!" He:"..."

Well, despite my disapproval, he went anyway. And despite being told by the adoption agency that the dog in question (which he found online, making this into one of those bad Internet dating stories) doesn't like being alone, he decided it would be the perfect pet to spend 8 hours every day in an empty home. And despite knowing that the dog was used to being kept outdoors and wasn't well house trained, he was confident that he could teach the old dog new my home. Are we having deja vu yet?.

He planned to give the dog to his mom eventually, but our shared apartment was to be the training grounds where the beast (we'll call him Bubalou, because that's his name, as given by his previous owner) was to learn basic social skills (in the meantime, Jack Jack was relinquished to his mom temporarily since I did draw the line at one dog per household).

When he first arrived in our apartment, I had to admit he was cute. He was a puffball of fur and energy, and he had an adorable face with a wide-open smile.

Bubalou in his favorite position: Standing behind his favorite person. You can catch a glimpse of our housemate's dog hiding back there as well.
As soon as he was set loose, he began running around the place, panting, sniffing everything...and trotting into the kitchen to pee on the washing machine.

This uncivil first impression would have been bad enough on its own, but the substance that the dog emitted was like no urine I'd ever seen. It was brown. And it reeked to high heaven of something resembling mushrooms. I was so confused, I wasn't even sure he'd actually peed. But within a few minutes, he had done it again on the door to my bedroom. And within a few minutes more, he had vomited on the floor from overexcitement.

If I hadn't been certain before, I knew now that getting this dog had been a very bad idea.

The next day, while I went to work, Al stayed home to help the dog acclimate to his new environment, during which time he apparently imprinted on Al, becoming so attached that from that point on, he could not be out of Al's presence.

Staring adoringly at his true love

The next few days, we kept him in Jack Jack's crate (too small for him), from which he sprayed his urine all over the surrounding floor. After that, Al put an old shower curtain under the crate to protect the floor. Bubalou, in his fierce anxiety, managed to claw the shower curtain into the crate, and proceeded to chew it to pieces. Then Al purchased a heavy-duty tarp, which met the same fate. The neighbors left a note on our door claiming that our dog had been barking for hours, and could we please do something about it. I began to fear we would be evicted.

Meanwhile, Al took Bubalou to the vet, where we learned that he had a stone in his bladder the size of a marble, which explained the constant urination and brown color (old blood). To treat the urinary stone, Bubalou would have to be on a special, acidifying, diuretic dog food and not allowed to eat anything else until the stone had dissolved, which could take months. Let's read that again. Months. On a diuretic. This dog was destined to be peeing on an hourly basis for the foreseeable future.

Fortunately for me, when I first had the inkling that we might have to be moving into an apartment, I had made a deal with my boyfriend that if he wanted to bring his problem dog Jack Jack (who's actually a little angel compared to Bubalou) with us, instead of making him stay with his parents, he would have to be solely responsible for taking the dog out to go to the bathroom. And the same rules would apply regardless of who the dog was. So when Bubalou gets his midnight urges to empty his bladder, guess who has to crawl out of bed, put on his shoes and coat, grab his keys, and walk out to relieve the dog? Not me! That doesn't mean I enjoy getting woken up in the middle of every night (because I still do; it's kind of hard to ignore a frantic dog walking all over you); it's just a small consolation that things could be worse.

And at least I'm not bearing the financial burden of this dog. As soon as I learned about the bladder stone, I told Al this dog was way more than he had signed up for, and there would be no shame in returning him to the rescue home. After all, I had already decided that an apartment was no place even for a rabbit (let alone an incontinent anxiety-prone dog) and I had given Hansel up to a rescue family (that's right; the rabbit is gone).

But Al was more stubborn; he felt a sense of duty; and he has not yet learned the joys of spending a whole month's income on an ungrateful pet. But he will. The initial vet bill, even after pet insurance, was over 500 dollars.  His teeth need a deep cleaning, which will require anesthesia and big bucks. After the note from the neighbors, Al was forced to put Bubalou into doggy day care, for 35 dollars a day. The prescription dog food is 40 dollars a bag and lasts about 3 weeks. To help Bubalou overcome his separation anxiety and get properly toilet trained, Al had to hire a dog behaviorist at a cost of over a thousand dollars.

Al also invested in some stylish doggy diapers to keep Bubalou from flooding the condo and the office
(where he gets to spend the day when the boss is gone).
I will stop now, but I'm sure this story is far from over. Prepare yourselves now. In the book of Badly Behaved Dogs, Bubalou's chapter has just begun.