It’s not what you think it means. I adopted my first dog, Chani, in 1991. She had been kicked and hit by her owner, a deputy sheriff, and had rocks thrown over the fence in the yard where she lived by neighborhood kids.
She was abandoned at one of the nation’s first no-kill shelters the same week I began volunteering there. As nearly a year went by, I visited her every Friday, even in a neck brace when I was unable to take her for a walk. There was chatter, and I was told by a former volunteer/staffer she had one more week to live.
She was a danger to men (people in uniform or any man who wore a hat) and children (rocks). I had her home the next day. We got training, formal and individual and I fixed the problems. I started walking over her when she was laying down to show that I would never kick her. Then faster, then running and jumping over her. Her reaction was “who is this strange woman I thought I knew?” Complete calm. Ready for the walk, training 101 and individual training. Our trainer had two highly trained Shutzhunds, German Shepherds. Chani stared. That was not taken kindly. No one stares an alpha dog in the eye. She did not know that.
Our neighbor worked for the Navy and usually wore a t-shirt, shorts and sneakers to work. One day he showed up in Navy dress whites. Chani freaked out.
I said, this is Chris! He reached out. She got it and everything was onward and upward from there. Sadly, Chani died 10 years after her adoption but she had friends.
Zoe is nearly 13 years of age now, an Australian Shepherd mix also from the pound, with no hips. We had her at six weeks, and she loves uniforms, especially postal workers. I don’t know what scientists think but can say two things: she knows a blue pant or short with a dark strip is the postal carrier; and she does sleep and dream about chasing bunnies and goes through REM sleep. Oh, another thing, dogs remember things for more than 45 minutes. Do something fun for Zoe, it is ROUTINE. She loves routine. Food or walk schedule. Routine. And yes, she remembers the routine even if we leave and return.
Lynn was here for a while and Zoe finds her in the neighborhood and drags me across the street to see her in her uniform. It’s funny how dogs are so different. Chani was abused and it took her a year to love kids and longer to love men in uniform. Zoe seeks them out, kids and other people and dogs as well. We formed Zoe, I rehabilitated Chani. Oh, if I met my husband ten years earlier Chani would have loved him and sped up the process.
In the end all the kids in the “tot lot” would call CHANI! They would run up to pet her. We started out years ago with “Mommy Nazis” and dog owners and became good friends. We cleaned up the park when college kids broke beer bottles and everything was OK. They stood by the swings and slide and let their little ones pet my dog. It was a sad day when she left us. Sometimes I got a hi, Dee but never again a shout-out.
Here, Zoe is a bit of a mascot who gets along with everyone. Of late, in an elderly stage, she has a five year-old buddy who wants to toss a ball at the park for her for 1/2 hour and she just looks at my husband and says she’s tired, then goes for the ball again to make the child happy. That’s our girl.
I wish we had children, but we have a dog. A great dog who goes Postal in a good way. She just wants a pat on the head and a “good dog.” Hey, she loves all y’all but still wants Lynn. Cheers, Dee