Indie, Installment 3: Devil Dog and Crazy Lady

December 23, 2011

This is the continuation of the story of my first foster, Indie.  It could easily have been titled, My first and Last Foster, but I’m too stubborn (not necessarily in a good way) for that.  If you haven’t, I suggest you go back and read the first two installments before going on to this one.

Devil Dog meets Crazy Lady

So now I have his attention.  He no longer tries to keep me out of my own house.  In fact, he eyes me with rapt attention any time we are going in or out of a door, wondering, I’m sure, if the crazy lady is going to show up again and keep dragging him out the door and into the yard, only to change her mind and give him permission to come back into the house, then change her mind again and drag him back out into the yard.

However, he has taken a dislike to his collar being put on or taken off.  The first time it happens, I get this little playback in my head of one of the kennel staff at GFFL saying that he doesn’t like anything being pulled over his ears.  But in the excitement of getting Indie into the car, I just nodded my head and filed it away for future reference.  Well, my friends, the future is here.  There is no buckle on a martingale collar, so it’s over the ears or nothing at all and Indie has clearly decided it will be nothing at all.  I’m not talking about balking or pulling away; I’m talking about snarling and curling his lips with major attitude.  He means business.  This is not the quiet, elegant, greyhound we all know and love.  This is Devil Dog.  So I distract him with treats.  Then when I get the collar on I praise him and gave him another treat.  Yes, Indie, Crazy Lady is back.  Get the collar on, praise him, take the color off.  Put the collar on, praise him, take the color off.  However, Indie’s quite happy to indulge Crazy Lady with all this because the treats keep coming.  And Devil Dog goes away.

Within the next few days we get our first winter rain in Sacramento, so out come the raincoats for the dogs.  We buckle in resident greys, Alex and Ava, then without thinking, throw a coat over Indie, who goes berserk, again with the snarls and curled lips.  And here comes Crazy Lady with the treats.  Coat goes on, treat and praise, coat goes off, treat and praise, coat goes on, treat and praise, coat goes off, treat and praise.  And Devil Dog goes away.

In our den, we have one couch that the dogs are allowed to sleep on.  They know that is their only piece of furniture and they are actually quite good at just using that couch.  So after a few weeks when I finally get  Indie’s attention, I introduce him to a certain spot on the couch and give him permission to get up.  Well, he is in heaven.  He “gets” that it is his place and will always go to his place on the couch.  The problem is, although he will always go to his place, Devil Dog actually commandeers the entire couch, and not in a good way.  So again, here comes Crazy Lady with the get on the couch, get off the couch, get on the couch routine.  And Devil Dog goes away.

The unusual thing about Indie is that he is absolutely great with the other dogs.  He loves them.  They love him.  He and Alex are best buds, no rivalry.  They love exploring together, chasing the errant squirrel who thinks he can use the back fence as a freeway.  He’s really smart, and funny, and joyful.  Heck, he’s even cat safe!  It’s just people doing things to him that he will not tolerate.  He loves to be petted, but that’s it.

Mutual Respect

I don’t know what his back-story is other than being a racetrack dog, but obviously he has lasting trauma.  He can turn from prince charming to a devil dog in an instant.  And Devil Dog is really scary.  But Crazy Lady is really scary too.  So, bring it on, Indie.  We’re in for the long haul.



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