Wednesday, October 17, 2018

The visitors: in which Russell loses his shit

Russell (center) has dangerously low self-confidence. Yesterday, he reminded me of this by losing his shit when my friend D. dropped by around dinner time. Forgetting how heavy Russell's emotional baggage is, I let my daughter open the door while I stirred the onions. Russell freaked out and tried to save us, and I arrived just in time to grab his writhing form just before he slipped out the door teeth-first. I carried him to the bedroom, where he proceeded to have a total meltdown. He's valiant—I'll give him that. It's just that D. is the opposite of nefarious, and Russell seems to have missed the memo.

Russell spent the first seven months of his life tied to a tree, during which time it seems he formed a few general impressions: 1) men are bad. 2) tall men are very bad. 3) tall men leaning over are very, very bad. As a result, no greeting of anyone even remotely mistakable for male goes down in my household without Russell being locked away, or at least a stern warning being issued. "Don't look at the brown dog, he's afraid. Don't touch him. Pretend he doesn't exist."

There are exceptions to Russell's impressions, such as my friend Rob. When Russell met Rob, Russ threw the book away and wrote three new rules: 1) Rob is good. 2) Sitting on Rob is very good. 3) Lying on Rob's chest while Rob lays on his back, entranced by Russell's loving gaze, is very, very good. Another exception to Russell's rules is my boyfriend, who spent a couple of years diligently pouring love and kindness upon Russell in order to earn the privilege of leaning over without being barked at.

I know that Russell could be helped by more practice, more treats, more positive associations, and more of my time devoted to exercise and training. I don't have that time to spare right now. Apparently, though, I don't have the most phobic dog ever. When I googled, "my dog doesn't like men" just now, I hit on an interesting thread in which a top comment was, "my dog hates people and the world."

Just goes to show you that life could almost always be worse.

Do drop by again, D., if you're reading. Just don't try to pet the brown dog.

1 comment:

  1. No wonder Russell finds such evident joy in running free after being tied to a tree during his most energetic puppy months! :(


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