Tuesday, 22 July 2014

My nasty ugly dog...

People have split views on Caesar.  Some people will tell you he is a well-built, muscular and handsome dog.  Others think he's scary.  I have moved from feeling a lot of the latter to thinking that he's the most gorgeous dog I've ever seen and actively seeking dogs that look like him.  But, I'd forgive those who feel that he's a scary looking dog because I know how I felt when I first saw him....

I'd gone to the rescue centre to look at a Jack Russell.

Now that I know and love Caesar though, I can see nothing scary about him; only his adorableness.  Well, at least while we're in the house.  What does get on my wick, though, is when I walk him and he runs around the park/beach/field/forest/... like an idiot making a ridiculous racket and having nearly everyone stare at us and think he's mental.  And me even more so for owning him!

I've never been a person that likes being the centre of attention.  And even less so for negative reasons such as having a screaming banshee of a dog dragging me along the road.  However, my saving grace is that I do know that Caesar, despite what people may think, is a nice dog.  The unfortunate thing is that I am unable to tell this to any of the people who stare at him as we struggle past; me fighting to pull him back and him wrestling with the lead to go forwards.  Our energies are opposing each other so much that we appear to be having a tug of war in the street.  I pray each time we leave the house that this lead is as strong as I'd hoped.

I don't disagree with the people that cross the road.  Or the people that move out of the way.  Or the people that stare in disbelief as I smile at them and dig my heels into the ground.  I don't disagree with people asking 'is he aggressive?' or with those who assume he is and simply move away.  I'd probably have been the same a few years ago - although it saddens me to think it.  However, as humans, we have a need to protect ourselves and Caesar, however harmless he is, does appear to be a bit bonkers when he's squealing away to himself in the park.  What, I have discovered he's actually saying is, 'OH MYYYYYYY....I'M SOOOOO EXCITED! PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE LET ME GO AND MEET THAT DOG/PERSON/SHEEP SO WE CAN PLAAAAY!'   It did take me a good few years to finally realise that this is what he was trying to communicate.  And it finally clicked when I made the connection between the noise he makes at tea time and the noise he makes on a walk; pure, uncontrollable, hysterical excitement!

He also makes it when we go to the vets.  But once we get into the consultation room he's fine and so calm that, last time, I took off his lead and collar to show them something and he stood there for a good few minutes as good as gold.  The problem is the part of the visit that involves making it from the door of the surgery to the consulting room without disrupting everyone in the whole building.  I hate it.  I cringe even thinking about it!  People stare, stupefied by this horrific noise which is amplified by the bare walls.  Once, another vet came out of the room and stared at me as I struggled through.  I was completely mortified!  But it's OK because my vet understands and she knows that inside Caesar has a heart of gold.  Plus, by the time he gets to her he's pretty calm!

One day, though, I was walking Caesar through the surgery.  I now wait outside the front door until the vet finds me   I had entered in through the front door and my destination was a door to the left, just through the waiting room.  I grimaced and hurried through with Caesar's lead as short as I could make it.  As we walked through the door, a woman commented 'What a nasty ugly looking dog..."  She had a small fluffy dog which she had lifted off the floor at the sight of Caesar.

I'm not sure I processed the comment until I entered into the consultation room.  Nasty?  Ugly?  I looked at Caesar who was whining pathetically.  He is 22kg of muscle and noise - I'll allow her that.  He is irritating - I'd give her that too.  But to judge him as nasty?  Is his squealing really so much worse than her own Shih tzu's yapping and growling?  I felt hurt for Caesar who is the most loving dog I've ever come across.  And, I would say this because he's mine and I love him very much.  But, to be fair to him, Caesar has never done anything to prove otherwise.  And, until he does, I will continue to believe it.

Comments like this come with the territory of owning a dog like Caesar.  And, it hurts to think that, no matter how nice he is at home, people will always think he's a 'nasty' or 'ugly' dog.  I am having to accept this.  I suppose I better develop a thick skin.  Part of me feels angry at her for her ignorance.  But another part of me feels sorry for them because, while they continue to close their minds, they will forever close their minds to bull breed dogs like Caesar.  And that is very very sad.

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Two and a half years ago...

Two and a half years ago, the name Caesar meant a Roman Emperor who I knew little about.  If you'd asked me what I thought about it as the name for a dog, I'd have said I hated it.  I'd much have preferred 'Fluffy' or 'Snoopy' or 'Star'.  But Caesar isn't a 'Fluffy', he's not a 'Snoopy' and I can say, in no uncertain terms, that he is certainly not a 'Star'.  He just isn't.  In fact, he's a 'Caesar'.  And, now that I have him I can think of no other name that would suit him as well.

Two and a half years ago, the only things I had to spend my money on were for myself.  I had freedom to spend on holidays, clothes and lovely things for my house.  Nowadays, I spend more money on pets than I do on myself and my wardrobe is starting to reflect this - as is Caesar's!

Two and a half years ago, I knew not what the term 'separation anxiety' meant.  And I knew how to leave the house without a second thought.  Step out, lock door.  Simple.  Now, the routine is much more complex; take Caesar to toilet, scan all of house for anything edible/destroyable/precious, find toys that are durable to leave out, shut kitchen door, throw self against kitchen door to check that it is shut, leave, lock door.  This adds a considerable amount of time to my morning routine not to mention general stress to my life when I'm at work and suddenly realise I've left my designer handbag hanging at the foot of the stairs...

Two and a half years ago, I believed that pets were pets and should never be allowed on furniture or in bedrooms.  They should have pet beds which were theirs and be grateful too!  Now I share my sofa and my bed and my life with a huge ginger mongrel and there's nothing better than snuggling up together on the sofa and watching a film!

Two and half years ago, I had enough space to sleep comfortably on a night.  Now I sleep in an odd shape with my legs over, around, under or balanced on a bundle of fur and muscle.  But, when it's not there, however uncomfortable it may be, I cannot sleep.

Two and a half years ago, I did not know how it felt to be greeted each night by a wagging tail.  That, no matter how bad my day had been, I'd be just as special every time I walked through the door.  I did not know that I could put my worries down with my bags and head out for a walk.

Two and a half years ago, I did not have the same capacity to forgive.  I did not realise how the fears of others can lead them to act in a way which is irresponsible and destructive.  I did not know that this behaviour was much less about me and more about them.  I did not realise that I could watch parts of my world be destroyed and feel sorry for the one who destroyed them.

Two and a half years ago, I went to bed alone when I was hurt, unwell or just tired, unaware of the healing qualities of a furry companion.  The calm constant lying at the end of the bed, cuddling into my legs or back.  The only company I can stand when a migraine takes hold.

Two and a half years ago, I knew that I didn't want a Staffordshire Bull Terrier or any cross breed of this type. I'd heard too much bad news and wasn't willing to listen to reason.  My favourite breed of dog was something small and fluffy, yet today I could not live without my Staffy cross boy - the gentlest natured and most loving dog I have ever come across.

Two and a half years ago, the name Caesar meant nothing to me.  It's strange how two and half years can make such a difference.