Let me start by explaining that until November 2015, I had not had a furry pet for 21 years. When my nephews were little, they had leopard geckos, which were cool, kinda, but they mostly just slept and couldn’t stand to be in the same tank together. So, having Lola has reminded me of lots of pet related things I had forgotten.
However, Lola is a little odd, even for a dog. She has lots of phobias and hangups. She likes to watch cartoons, creature features, and musicals. She also likes music and has learned how to change the song on my iPhone with her nose when I’m trying to write. There are two basic problems with Lola. The first is that she is willful, a collie trait, despite training she pretty much decides whether she is going to listen or not. The second is that she is smart. While I don’t really want a dumb dog, we have to force Lola to wear a collar and a harness because she has learned how to slip out when wearing just one of these items and unless I want her to stop breathing, I can’t really tighten them anymore. For another example, see the above mentioned iPhone thing.
So, I’m working with a smart, hyperactive, attention seeking, phobic, willful, runt of the liter, collie/GSD mix. I’m going to give a list of things that scare her and don’t scare her to show you what I mean…
- Prowlers – not afraid, as a matter of fact, she keeps a very close eye on everyone in the neighborhood and when we go out for the last time at about 2 AM, she is very aware of who should and should not be there. She can even identify cars. However, in January & February, we caught a man trying to break into cars. She went nuts! It took everything I had to hold her and call the police. Despite her slightly stunted stature, I think she could have taken the guy. He hasn’t been back since February.
- Water – Puddles are fine, baths are not. As a matter of fact, she is a little weird about water. She will drink fresh water from her dish, but if it has set for more than a few hours, she would prefer to drink from the toilet or a puddle. No amount of getting on to her or punishing her stops her from drinking from the toilet. Only changing the water every couple of hours does.
- Bigger animals – Definitely not afraid. I chalk this up to the herding instinct. She attempted to heard quarter horses one day while visiting a nephew/niece. They did not want to be herded and she eventually gave up. And bigger dogs just mean more of a challenge for her. While her favorite dog is a basset hound, she loves to play with bigger, stronger dogs, I suspect her being 55 lbs of pure muscle has something to do with that. I have seen her take on labradoodle/pitbull mixes, full pitbulls, australian shepherds, and mutts. She has the strength of them and far more stamina. Essentially she wears them out. Did I mention she actually loves everyone and everything that will play with her?
- Passing Gas – if it’s silent, she’s fine. If it’s someone else, she’s fine. If it’s her and she makes noise, she runs away like she’s been shot at. This can be particularly entertaining for me.
- The Dark – Absolutely not. She hates going into dark rooms, she doesn’t like to sleep in the dark, she won’t even chase a ball into a dark room. Every room has a nightlight because of this and when we go camping, I have to leave the TV in the living room on so that she has plenty of light to go from small area to small area. Most nights, she curls up and sleeps in that light. I can even mute the TV, as long as it’s on, that’s the important part.
- Helmets – My neighbor drives a motorcycle from time to time. She loves him when he isn’t wearing a helmet. The moment he puts it on she acts the same way she would if there was an intruder.
- Mechanical Stuff- She loves going for car rides. She hates semi trucks. She barks and whines when we are next to one. She also hates the garbage truck, the recycling truck, any type of mower, weed eater, tiller, or other mechanized gardening tool, and the vacuum.
- Bristles & things- Brushes (doesn’t have to be hers), brooms, dusting rags, the scrub brush on the kitchen sink, the nail file (not hers), and blow dryers are among her least favorite things too. Brushing my own hair is a challenge, brushing my teeth is worse, and I can’t remember the last time I got to blow dry my hair… When we break out the broom, she attacks it, even growling and jumping on it.
- My Books – Everyone, even the dog, is a critic. She loves boxes, she loves the UPS guy, the FedEx guy, and the mail gal, however, if a shipment of my books arrives, she freaks out when it’s opened and barks at the books. She doesn’t do this with other books, just mine…