On Facts, Opinions and Lessons II

By Lynn –

Between packing, working, moving, unpacking, moving the big stuff, unpacking some more, organizing, shopping, getting insurance/electric/internet stuff set up, and starting my new job, it’s been an interesting past month or so. And I learned that my Buick holds just about as much as the old Blazer truck I used to haul stuff around in when the Buick was at the car doctor. Talk about WOW!
It’s been two months since I quit the pet store, and I’ll try and keep that store and this new one separate in blogs. This one will be finishing touches about the one back home, and the continuation of that last blog that I promised I’d finish one of these days…

I learned that people are proud of their papered purebreds. Especially the GSDs, but then again, I really only asked people about that breed in particular, don’t ask why. Someone came in with a beautiful shepherd puppy from Czech lines, and the owner said she was registered AKC…that set off a bell in my head, which only grew louder when I noticed how those dog wasn’t your typical puppy. She may have been only a few months old, but she was already showing some behaviors that indicated that she was quite dominant, protective and not really afraid of much out there. My co-worker clued into it too, and when the pair left, she gave me that desperate grimacing look that said “He has no idea what’s on the other end of that leash.”

I learned (well, I pretty much knew this already but the lesson was reinforced) that the AKC is full of it. Dogs of all breeds would come in and with certain ones, it was very apparent that bad breeding was more than involved. I saw bulldogs who had trouble breathing, GSDs whose backs were so roached they needed a camel saddle instead of a collar, pugs with eyes about to pop out…realize though that this is only a sample, and only really represents a portion of the dogs who came into the store. I only worked at one store (there were more than half a dozen locations), and a lot of dogs were ‘regulars.’

And honestly, some of the healthier dogs I saw were mixes and rescues. This isn’t to say that all purebreds walked in riddled with problems; in fact, many were healthy and happy dogs who were a pleasure to be around, if not overly boisterous and out of control. (Remember the saying “It only takes one bad egg to ruin it for everyone”?) Of the obvious problems that stood out, very few mixes had them. There was one in particular I remember, a Boxer/Dachshund mix…a very strange-looking fellow who had the body type of the Dachshund complete with the knock-kneed front legs, but the body was much bigger, sable-brindled and the head was definitely Boxer-ish. Other than being a bit malnourished (he didn’t eat well at the shelter, they said), the only outward concern we could find about him was those odd front legs. I know even mutts aren’t exempt from all problems!

It’s also my opinion that a good amount of people know next to nothing about Doglish (it’s Cherie’s word for Dog Language that I like, so I’m using it here!). There were those who were willing to learn and ask about what a particular action or posture meant, and others we’d just out and say what was going on if it would have resulted in something unpleasant. Of course, most of them know that “tail up” = Dominance, “tail tucked” = Submission, but that was pretty much the extent (and I met some people who didn’t even know THAT). The subtle facial expressions and ear positions were hardly noticed by a lot of people, especially when dogs were meeting each other at the ends of their leashes. And of course, when something DID happen, there was the usual “But he’s never done that before!” followed by the scolding, shame-shame “Be nice, she’s a friend!”

I was told one day that someone brought in a spaniel who was barking incessantly the whole time. Apparently the owner was finding miniscule spaces in between barks and shoving a treat in its mouth and praise it, after which it would go straight back to barking. Even after my co-workers explained that there wasn’t enough space between the barks for the woman to be rewarding silence, she still couldn’t get it right. Far from her being unable to learn how to properly fix problem barking, she’d simply taken advice from wrong sources, people I’ve read in books who refer to them as “wincers.”

I guess that’s all I can think of to say at this time. I’ve been in my new place for a week and still haven’t slept a whole night through, so I’m pretty much out of ideas and memories for the time being. Enjoy though, and I hope someone gets something out this.

Warning though: next entry or so might be a bit depressing on many fronts. The only way I can think to phrase it is what my boss tells me: “Welcome to _____ County, [state].” NO other way to put it.