One of the dogs that is staying here with us right now is one of my favorite dogs on the planet. No names no pack drill, but I’m privately trying to find her a new forever home.
She’s small, feisty and funny as hell, and a regular client here at DD.
Now when I say feisty, I mean she will ‘cut a bitch’ as the saying goes, if someone forgets themselves and handles her inappropriately, so the knack, of course, is to handle her very appropriately. As is the case with all animals. Especially ones with teeth, I have found.
She requires careful handling by strangers, and is not a fit to be around small children, but then, neither am I; I am so very thankful that Pete has yet to rehome me.
The reason I’m mentioning her today is because one of the reasons she is being rehomed, the last straw as it were, is that she tried to bite the groomer.
I wasn’t there, I haven’t been told exactly how it happened, but I’d be willing to wager that she nipped at the groomer when she was being passed from her mother’s arms into those of the groomer. I very much doubt that she was leashed and placed on the floor as she exited the car, walked into the groomers salon and then the handle of the leash was given to the groomer.
Small dogs always seems be handed over to complete strangers in one almost seamless transaction don’t they? With feet barely ever touching the floor..... Think of how many choices are taken away from the dog within that encounter. And then try to imagine the same thing happening with a big dog.
It is so very rare that anyone hands over a 120 pound dog into someone’s arms and the recipient stands and holds them for a length of time, isn’t it?
The sad plight of the little dog seems to be that everyone thinks that they must just love to be hugged, that they don’t have viable legs to stand on, and so they are constantly pressured into physical transactions they don't want.
I’ve been guilty of it myself and now want to slap myself when I do this in the driveway because some gorgeous little fluff ball comes into my life, handed over direct into my arms by a loving and well meaning owner.
I can’t help it, I want to bury my lips in their soft fur and nuzzle and take in their scent....aaaahhh one of life’s great pleasures.
Until the poor soul starts wriggling their legs as if to say ‘Bitch let me down!’ and I’m reminded that they never asked to be picked up, that they are dogs and want control over their own movements, and lastly why the hell would they want my fat skanky mitts all over their chest, exerting pressure where none should be?
How selfish are we humans?
Why the hell does it always have to be about us?
If it feels good to us, we just blithely forge ahead and do it. Blissfully unaware of the poor dog with his or her ‘whale eye’ (white of the eye showing in angst) silently pleading with us to just piss off and leave them alone, to let them decide if they want to be touched by that person....
We don’t listen, though do we?
It feels nice, so, when they wriggle, we instead adjust the dog’s position in our arms, thinking ‘if they could just get more comfortable......’.
Then we see the neighbor or the groomer or whoever it is that wants to take her off our hands and what do we do? We PASS her over, like she’s a thing.....a plate, a suitcase, a cushion. Not a living, breathing thing who needs choices, freedom to make them and has feelings and deep emotional needs.
We give her no time to size up or smell the new ‘hugger’, no chance to shake off the pressure of the last overly-restricting ‘hug’...the poor thing has to be handed straight over into a new set of arms that she a) doesn’t know, and b) doesn’t want around her.
She goes from pissed off, to UBER pissed off in one swift handover. Ugh, it’s a veritable blueprint for a mauling.
The new ‘hugger is desperate to show that ‘all dogs love her’ and so starts to coo and smarm at the dog, wanting the owner to see how much she loves dogs, how good she is with them, how all dogs love her more.........
Truth is, if she were REALLY good with dogs she’d say ‘what a lovely dog, please hand me the leash with your dogs four feet on the ground so that she can feel safe and knows she has choices with me as I take her from you.’
Behold the plight of the little dog, who really can’t seem to win and who, the cuter she or he is, is more and more at risk of becoming a bite case.
Read the signs.
Respect your dogs need for freedom.
However small or big or cute they are.
Here endeth the lesson.