This is the first part of the story behind having to give up one of my dogs.
I may have told this story before, but if I haven’t I have a confession to make. I once surrendered a beloved pet to the shelter. Her name was Sasha.
Sasha was a goofy Australian Cattle Dog/Blue Tick Coonhound mix. I used to joke that she didn’t know whether to herd things or to hunt them. I joked about it, but it was the truth. She was a confused dog. So confused that I’d say that dogs of different breed classes should never interbreed because their offspring are off in the head.
For about eighteen months, she was a decent dog when on the leash, in the backyard, or in the house. Off leash was a different story. Due to her breeds, she liked to chase things and it didn’t matter what it was. When she was only four or five months old, she took off after a car and ran head first into the car. The owner, thinking that she’d hit my dog, mouthed “I’m sorry.” I think I said the dog was okay, so the driver kept going and so did my puppy. I chased her down the street and finally caught her. She was unharmed, but that dashed my dreams of her ever learning to walk off leash.
As Sasha got older, her hunting instincts went into overdrive. She had a far off look in her eyes, like there were other places she wanted to be. There was once that she was so off in lala land that she completely ignored the fact that I held her breakfast in front of her nose. When I called her several times, she blinked and looked at me like, “Oh, I didn’t see you there. How long have you been standing there? Oh…it’s breakfast. I guess I’ll eat.”
On walks, her nose led the way and no amount of Cesar Milan, Positive Training, or whatever kind of training there was helped curb this. However, I did manage to teach her to sit when cars passed by. She got to the point that she’d sit patiently and watch the car go by and not try to chase it. That is as long as I didn’t tense up and freak out. So I guess I can’t be too hard on her.
I loved that dog. Then the Lab came to live with us. His name is Cody. I know for sure that dog is still alive although he’d one of the few dogs that I’ve ever met that I’ve felt pure hatred for. Cody was a big baby, wasn’t well trained, had sever separation anxiety and knew how to climb fences (he was too fat to jump them).
You probably can guess where this story is going.
Though dopey, Sasha picked up on things. Sometimes she had to learn the hard way. Learning to climb the fence was as easy as watch and mimic.
It didn’t take long for my car chaser to learn how to climb our back fence. Nothing stopped her, not an electric fence—she’d push through the pain. Not a tie-out—she somehow learned out to get out of her collar no matter how tight it was (I think she used the top of the fence to pull off the collar), not standing outside and telling her off every time she touched the fence (a person can only stand outside for a certain amount of time). Nothing we could do stopped her.
I worried about animal control taking her. Only, animal control in the small town I lived in only picked up strays. If there was a known owner, they wouldn’t pick it up. So that left the fear that I was going to come home and find my dog dead on the side of the road.
We lived on a busy highway with vehicles (specifically semis) passing our house at 40 or 50 mph depending on whether they were coming into town or leaving town.Sasha chased them all; ran out into the road and chased them. When I saw this I didn’t know whether to scream, run toward her, or close my eyes so I didn’t have to watch my dog get killed.
Apparently dogs have angels because Sasha was never fatally hit. Keyword fatally. I know for sure she was hit once, but I think she had been hit multiple times. The first time she was hit must have been minor because after that incident she never ran into the street chasing the cars, but ran along the yards beside the highway. Something had changed her mind.