About 3 weeks ago, Anna brought home Riley. I was consulted about the possibility of the
acquisition of a dog from death row in one of the pounds, but I was not
informed of his arrival until I got home from the Roanoke. I was
also a bit surprised by his appearance.
Definitely not what I was expecting…..small, less than 10 pounds…."so he
can fit under the seat in the airplane when we travel.”. He was also very fluffy. Fluffy to the point that the only way to confirm his gender is through careful examination. A casual glance would not reveal his
manliness. Riley is also very white,
not like white as in a white labrador with always a twinge of yellow on the
shoulders or down the spine of the back.
No this dog is all white, like white, white. This dog is so white that it might otherwise
be named Snowflake, or Cottonpuff. At least it’s not “yippy”, the only thing
that he had going for him when we first met.
For the first two weeks, Riley and I had some bad “vibes”
going back and forth. I had no reason to
like him and I probably reminded him of someone bad in his life that he once
I would call him, he
would go the other way, under the couch, under the table, behind Anna. He wanted nothing to do with me, which could
become a problem. Although Riley is Anna’s
dog, as much as she travels, I am the one who will inevitably be left in charge
of his care and wellbeing. Maybe we weren’t going to be best friends, but
we had to come to an understanding that I’m not that bad of a guy and would never hurt the little feller.
It started with us sitting down on the kitchen floor next to
the open fridge, Riley under the kitchen table, me trying to find the way to
his heart through his stomach. A bit of
cheese, a sliver of ham, crumb of bread…..these little dogs really don’t need
to eat that much. From the open fridge and his tea cup sized dog
bowel, we tolerated each other. The
closest that he would come to me is when I had ice cream, finishing the last
spoonfull or licking the last bite off of the stick of a ice cream bar.
This past weekend, it all came together between Riley and
myself. Anna went up to DC to visit a
friend in town and left me with Riley.
First day when I got home from fishing, the little sucker had forgotten
totally who I was. He was pissed about
being left home alone all day and didn’t want to have anything to do with
me. I ended up dragging him out from
under the bed and taking him to Dairy Queen.
All was fine with Riley’s world after that. It would have been crushed if he only knew what people were saying about him. "Look how cute SHE was” or
“What is HER name?” "Oh, where did you get that little fluffball, will he retrieve ducks?" I’m glad that he didn’t’
hear the guy at Jim Dandy asking me what I was doing riding around with a “fluffy, white rat”.
Next day, we were going to change all of that. I had to drop the tower boat off at Mobile
East Marine to get some overdue not-so-regular maintenance completed. After dropping off the boat, I’ve got a
couple of hours to kill, so Riley and I make a drive to New Bern to see Kathy
Roberts of Paws-n-Claws. Riley got
bathed and shaved, trotting out of the “spa” sporting a blue Mohawk, no
confusion of his masculinity now…..but what is Anna going to say about what I
have done to HER dog?
After dropping Riley off at the house and running a trip in the afternoon, I was hoping
things between Riley and I would be a little better, I come in the house, call him and he comes
about half way down the hall rolls over and pisses all over himself. Nice.
After getting picked up and lightly scooted out the back door, I had a
revelation and Riley and I had a conversation.
My revelation was that this little guy is accustomed to
being picked up, carried, swaddled and doted on by Miss Anna. Rewarded all the time for what? Looking cute? That ain’t going to happen with
me. He’s a dog and I’m leader of the pack.....at least til Anna gets home. If he wants my attention, he’ll get it by
doing what I say.
I have been owned by Labrador retrievers, both blacks and yellows, since my teenage years. Even though, I am a “dog person”, I still have a lot to learn about little dogs, but geeze, they’re still dogs. That afternoon, Riley and I started some scaled down basic obedience training, especially, Sit, Stay, Come. With reassuring lifts of the head and scratches under the chin, he began to “get it” and me and Riley have been just fine.
Since Anna’s been home, Riley has latched right on to her, but at least he does come to me when I call him. What do you think?
Some differences that I’ve learned between “little dogs” and
If you don’t give them water, they both will drink out of
the toilet bowel, but little dogs have a greater chance of falling in and
Little dogs don’t eat much, a couple grains of Ruby’s left
over dogfood and he’s fine. A leftover
bag of adult dog food will probably last a little dog’s lifetime.
Little dogs and big dogs both like to chase rabbits…..except
the rabbits turn around and chase the little dog when it gets close.
Little dogs and labs both have gas, just not as much of it.
When walking a little dog, you can ignore the grenade that
it leaves in your neighbor’s lawn, not as easy to do with the landmines that
labs leave behind.
Little dogs don’t mind getting a bath…..
When little dogs bite…..it’s cute?