Saturday, January 15, 2011

The saga of Silbey

Today in the rainy mist the prospect of keeping an untrained large strong dog looked much less appealing. Scooby refused to go outside until he had to, then begged to come in. My great experiment in letting both of them into the back room at one time began with a dog fight--I forced Silbey outside and sent Scooby to my office. He soon wanted to go to his bed and has sulked there all day. I did let him wander the house this morning but Jacob was here and wanted to let Scooby lick him--except Jacob makes Scooby really anxious, and I don't trust that. So there I was separating two dogs and a four-year-old who declared that the new dog was his best friend. "Juju, when you die--and I know you will because you're old--I'm going to take care of the new dog." Oh, and there was also the matter of keeping that blasted squirrel from eating all the bird feed. My day was filled with animals--and a curious child. I took the child home about eleven and got a huge bag of dog  food which, in retrospect, was a mistake.
As I considered Silbey might not be the dog for me, I thought about all the emails from many of you who congratulated me on this humanitarian adventure--how could I let you down when so many were cheering for me? I thank you for your messages and hope, as you read on, you'll see this has come to a happy conclusion--just not the long difficult one of me keeping and training a large hunk of untrained, loveable dog.
This afternoon Jay and Susan arrived back in town and let their dogs out in the courtyard. Silbey was immediately over the five-foot fence and in their yard, where Pecos, their senior dog, tried his alpha dogs technics--another dog fight. They brought Silbey back about five with Jay's considered advice that Silbey was too much dog for him (a strong, healthy man in his 40s--oh, did I mention he's my good-looking neighbor? I keep forgetting to say that). Susan said her fear was that he'd pull me down, trip me, etc. If he's too much dog for a man in his 40s, he's sure too much for a woman in her early 70s with iffy balance. But they went to dinner with friends who have a ranch just outside town and bingo! Silbey has a new home--with acres to roam and run and a stock tank to roll in. These are apparently animal people, raising cutting horses, etc., and were immediatley interested in a yellow lab.
I think I'm breathing a huge sigh of relief. Silbey is absolutely one of the sweetest dogs I ever met. This afternoon, after I got Scoob settled in his bed, I let Silbey into the playroom, and he simply sat by me as I read and petted him. He was perfectly calm and content; when I went to answer the phone, he stayed frozen in spot until I came back. Let me put a collar on him with no fuss. We talked and loved, and he is indeed a wonderful dog. But it's all those little--or are they big?--things: he's afraid of hardwood floors, I have to drag him outside (no small trick since he's 80 lbs. I suspect), and he's so underfed he'll fight over the least scrap of food. I think he's beginning to know about "Stay" and maybe his name, but most commands are beyond him. And housebroken? Who knows, but  I doubt it.
I'm left with the satisfying feeling that I've found a good dog a good home. And now I can get back to my life--if I just make it until late morning tomorrow.

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