A Diamond in the Rough

The organization Jerusalem Loves Animals has this dogs and cats adoption day every Friday in Jerusalem city center and I thought that now that I have more funds, I’ll go check it out. I never thought I’ll adopt a dog that day. It was more of a trial to see what dogs are out there. But when I saw Diamond, I knew that if I would not adopt her, I’ll regret it for a long time.

The day was boiling hot. There were about two dozen dogs in Gan Hasoos, downtown Jerusalem, most of them playing around, barking at each other, taking a drink of water every once in a while. People came and went. The volunteers of the organization presented the dogs to people interested in adopting.

I gave them a brief description of the dog I’m interested in: male or female canine, small to medium size, preferably young. They first introduced me to Toot – a five-month-old female dog, utterly skinny and not yet housebroken. She was adorable, playful and full of potential, but her skinny appearance and her refusal to go with me to a test walk made me feel she might not be the right dog for me.

Then they introduced me to Moon. A one-year-old female, very quiet and docile, black with a white belly, white paws and tip of the tail, and the most striking blue eyes you’ve ever seen. She spent most of her life in foster homes and is now looking for a permanent family.

Among all the wild barking dogs, she was the most quiet one, sitting on the floor, very nonchalant, and possibly tired and a bit anxious from all the crazy dogs and people, and also from the heat of the early afternoon.

They told me she’s all fixed up – spayed, has all her vaccinations, an implanted chip, a municipal licence, and is housebroken.

“The only problem,” one of the volunteers told me, “is that she has a tendency to run away.”

“Well, I’m too afraid to let any dog walk around without a leash,” I said. “I just don’t trust them enough to not run into a busy street and get hit by a car.”

In fact, the only time I would be willing to let her run free is in a dog park, a closed area reserved for dogs.

I took Moon out for a short walk around the block. She seemed sweet and quiet but very slow. She looked like she was falling asleep walking. I liked her calm demeanor but my boyfriend was worried she might be too boring.

I was more concerned about her age. One-year-old is young, but is not a puppy. But Moon was too sweet, and her coat was beautiful, and I thought it would be better to have a housebroken calm older dog than a puppy who may require a lot more training and patience, which I don’t have too much time for even if I’m working only 25 hours a week.

And besides, I thought, even if I find out she has some behavioral problems, she is not too old to be trained. So I decided to adopt her. I paid 600 NIS to cover the adoption fee, and then went to a pet shop to buy food, bowls, leash, collar, a temporary name tag, a tennis ball, a couple of bones and a mandatory muzzle for bus rides.

Since she’s a year old and was named Moon, and then named Lisa, and probably a few other names too, she wasn’t really responding to any names. So I decided to pick out a name for her and stick with it. I picked out Diamond, because of her black and white coat, which is reminiscent of King Diamond’s makeup, and also because her eyes look like two pretty diamonds. My boyfriend is not too fond of that name.

“But it’s a boy’s name,” he says.

“Well, since she’s named for royalty, you can call her Princess Di for short if you like,” I answered.

And just like he’ll have to get used to that name, Diamond will have to get used to us and our house, and both my boyfriend and I will have to get used to a third living being shacking up with us.

When my boyfriend and I finally took her home, the first thing she did was get acquainted with the neighbors’ dog, Baby. The neighbors being my boyfriend’s parents, and Baby being a Pekingese. She usually isn’t such a friendly dog, but she and Diamond seemed to get along fine.

Then we took her home and she crashed on the ceramic floor for about four hours. Yep, the heat sure did tire her out.

She’s been with us for the weekend and we started to notice some things about her that may need some work. When a volunteer from the organization called me on Sunday to ask how are things going with Diamond, I told them she is wonderful and we’re very happy with her, but that I still want to meet with the trainer from the organization and work with her on some behavioral things. They told me that it can be arranged and that I should wait about a week and make a list of all the things that need to be worked on.

This is what we’ve noticed so far:

1) She may have been calm and slow on Friday, but when she finally loosened up, she started pulling on the leash, which is a big problem for me because I don’t have a strong upper body, and if I have to take her out for a walk during winter time, my muscle condition gets worse when it’s cold and it’ll sure do a number on my hands.

2) She is a total sweetheart when my boyfriend and I are home and she sits next to us on the couch when we watch TV, or lies on the floor quietly when we eat dinner or clean the house. But when we’re out of the house, she wreaks havoc. I think it may be separation anxiety, and she gets bored being alone, but anyway, whenever I get home, I notice she destroyed something. The first time, she pulled the brush thingy from the crack under the door. The second time she took out some things from the lower shelf of the grrrlVIRUS display library, and tore some items to shreds. She also started working on tearing up the couch in the living room. What I feared most was that she was gonna do something to our guitars, or even worse, gnaw on the cables lying all around and get electrocuted. For now, I tried to reorganize the house in a way that she wouldn’t get to destroy too many things. I put the cables away and moved some things to the bedroom and closed the door. There’s nothing I can do with the couch. My boyfriend suggested closing off the living room area with chairs, but I didn’t have the heart to do it because she loves lying on the couch.

3) She goes absolutely insane when she sees a cat. I mean, what dog doesn’t? But I think it goes hand in hand with the leash-pulling thing.

4) She eats everything off the floor. And it’s not like we starve her. But walking with a dog who is more interested in attacking cats, and picking up shit, and pulling you till the skin on your palms is bright red is not very pleasant. 

I was considering buying a Gentle Leader, like the one Buxy had, which is great for training. And the trainer might also suggest I buy it. But I found a different brand collar, which is a little different than the original Gentle Leader. It’s extremely expensive and the size I found may not even fit Diamond.

Despite the hassle, my boyfriend and I love Diamond. When she’s with us, she’s a perfect angel. We took her to Blaze Bar last night to show her off. She kept trying to eat stuff off the floor, but in the process, she found us a guitar pick! I’m also taking her to the Pride march this Thursday. I hope she’ll be ok on the bus.

Also, today, when I took her out to the backyard, she found a butterfly and started chasing it around. It was too cute, I wish I had my camera.

She is really photogenic. Don’t you think?

Peace, love and Buxy would have loved her!

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