Friday, July 29, 2011
Late in the day, I brought Diesel back home to my house and snuck him in the side door. It appeared my contact for emergency shelter that night was a no go, which worked out for the best. Leaving him in a pen somewhere totally strange would have been unnecessarily traumatic and I would've spent the night worrying about him.
We came into the house through the basement and the very first thing he did - the very first thing - he did after seven hours of exercise and more stimulation than he'd had in years, was pee in my brand new chair. It was the first upholstered chair I ever bought new. I put it together with my bare hands a couple of days earlier. He's tall too so it wasn't just on the side. It shot straight into the seat and ran down onto the carpet. That was the moment I learned I could scream and twirl at the same time. Stella couldn't get in her crate fast enough.
He slept like a baby that first night. He didn't want to go into the crate at first but sliced turkey is a powerful motivator. I woke him up at three-thirty in the morning. It was cruel I know, but I wanted him to understand from the very beginning who was running the show. We started day two with a long ride in the car and an even longer walk at Spring Hill Cemetery and ended up at my friend (and savior) Beverly's house around seven-thirty that morning.
I apologized. Not only for arriving so early but for bringing along a big giant dog that she and her husband hadn't planned on having as a house guest. They already have two elderly dogs but offered to let him stay since his owner was still across the street, tying one on. I ended up calling the six days that followed "Diesel's Summer Camp period". It would prove to be a big slice of the life Diesel craved, the freedom to run around a big (secluded) yard, rest where and when he wanted to, mark every last chain link in the fence as his very own, have multiple humans loving him up and dog friends, for the first time ever.
There was just one hurdle.
If Smiley were a guy he would drive a rusted out LTD. He's a beefy dog, a wire-haired mix of Terrier and Whupass. Rest assured no strange, mega-he-man type dogs are invited over to Smiley's house unless they understand and abide by the rules. There's a test and apparently a hazing period. It's easier to pass the test if you are a female, of course because Smiley likes him some girl dogs but if you happen to be a big beautiful manly dog who stands around looking like (as Beverly called him) Captain America AND you're still what they call "intact" - Smiley has news for you. With no fear whatsoever he's going to stand up on his hind legs like a bear, rest one paw on your back and threaten to tear off your left ear. He's going to peel all of his lips back and show you a nearly complete set of rotten teeth, while he curses the day you were born. In front of everybody. Smiley is from Texas. The best thing to do is just stand there and take it.
At first Diesel looked at us like: "Is he serious?"
It got heated a couple of different times and lasted longer than any of us would've thought primarily because Smiley's girlfriend Pepper showed up and Diesel felt compelled to express his dude-ness with her and old Smiley went off like a rocket once more.
Fortunately, Diesel's man parts weren't the only things intact. His survival skills are multi-faceted. Instead of launching an attack the likes of which might have caused no telling how much chaos and destruction not to mention all of the humans going haywire, he chose the high road, soaked it all in, put up a low level defense and went galloping off around the yard. Eventually, the two of them decided that collusion was the perfect option and by later that night they were patrolling the yard together on some real or imaginary squirrel hunt, with Diesel as the extra muscle to Smiley's worldly ways.
That week Diesel and Stella got to play together for the first time in three years. Diesel went to the vet and got "tutored". He returned drunk and confused but a grill full of chicken brought him back to reality, good as new. He is listed on Petfinder at Critter Cavalry Rescue of New England. There, I'm told, people are more likely to appreciate his magnificence. Active dog-lovers in any state are welcome to apply. Of course, there may be a test to pass. And some hazing... :)
After three years of small-time bickering, Stella and Diesel finally had the chance to play together.