Z’s mother got a dog a while ago in response to Z’s pleading. Mistake #1. Z doesn’t want a dog. I know this because she would look at Snowball and ask if we could get a dog someday. Ok, at the time Snowball was old and sick but really, that’s rude. Then after Snowball died we got Freckles. Z would sit and look at Freckles and ask if we could get a dog someday.
Z will not interact with Freckles. At most she’ll pet her once a weekend. Occasionally she’ll walk her as long as she doesn’t have to touch her. She also got furious this winter when she found out that Freckles can’t make snowballs.
She doesn’t want a dog. She wants a cartoon character. Bolt specifically. She wants to be Penny and Penny has a dog therefore she needs a dog.
So her mother, who also doesn’t know dogs, went and got a dog like Freckles against our advice. We suggested a Golden Retriever. She got a spaniel mix. The dog is terrified. It won’t come out of the cage. The SO has had to coax it out from under the porch when he drops off Z. It is a very, very unhappy dog.
Since day 1 I have been predicting the day when she tries to give that dog to us. I say no. One dog is more than enough for me. But he agreed to keep the dog this weekend when we had Z because his ex was going out of town.
I had never seen the dog before. When I came home from work on Friday night I was hit in the chest with such a blur of canine enthusiasm that it took me a second to realize that it wasn’t Freckles. This is the pathologically timid dog? She played with Freckles, she went to the park and played with other dogs and people, she slept in bed with us. The only thing she refused to do was to have anything to do with Z. That’s ok because Z refused to have anything to do with her unless I mentioned that maybe she should play with her suddenly happy dog. Then she would think about but never actually do anything with her. What kind of kid is sitting on the couch next to a dog that she professes to love and doesn’t think to pet her unless prompted by an adult? Petting consists of maybe one or two strokes and then Z is done.
The dog was happy all weekend until Z started screaming last night. The dog freaked. We tried to explain to Z that she is scaring her dog with her fits. A dog like Freckles just ignores her when she comes unglued but a more timid dog hides and shakes and then refuses to be in the same room with her. Trying to talk to her calmly about this started more shrieking which scared her dog and made Freckles sigh.
Notice I haven’t called this dog by name. That’s because I don’t know what it is. She came with a perfectly acceptable name. Then they had a trainer tell them that because she is timid she needs to have her name changed (WTF?). So Z changed her name to Bolt. Half the time she calls her Bolt and half the time she calls her by the old name. I responded by calling Z “Steve” any time she used “Bolt” to illustrate the stupidity of randomly changing names especially to names of the opposite gender.
They were also advised to never say the word “No” in the dog’s presence. Ok, I agree that this dog does not need to be reprimanded when it is scared. But they’ve taken it as the word NO is a no-no no matter what context or tone of voice is used. I want to point out that this type of behavior partially created the horrible behavior of Z but I don’t think anyone would listen. I mean what do we know? I’m a vet and the SO has had dogs his whole life. That’s not enough to elevate us beyond our status as an awful @#$$%#%^ ex-husband and his horrible girlfriend. Why listen to us?
The SO is taking the kid and dog home now. We predict she’ll be back in her cage immediately.