Thursday, July 13, 2006

Cohabitation - Part III


Tyson Tyson Tyson.

Tyson is a great dog. He just doesn't have much going on upstairs. He LOVES the boyfriend with an obsession that's only been equaled when I watch Orlando Bloom onscreen. Tyson is a rescue - the boyfriend took him in when he was about 2 years old. We don't know what happened to him, but we DO know that he was found in Lake County near Chicago, and was probably bred for fighting. If you met Tyson, you would know his personality is super non-aggressive, which is probably why he was found wandering the streets. He's a fighting reject. In all probability his severe case of separation anxiety is due to being abandoned.

The important thing to get out of that description was the "severe case of separation anxiety" part.

To put it in layman's terms, when he's not with the boyfriend, he's FREAKING OUT. When we go out with Tyson, and the boyfriend has to go somewhere alone (convenience store, bathroom) Tyson will stand rigid and stare in the direction that the boyfriend has gone until he returns. Seriously. It's disturbing. In the boyfriend's apartment, Tyson was allowed to roam free while the boyfriend was gone and he was apparently okay with that - I guess he understood that the boyfriend would eventually return. In OUR apartment, he is confined to one room (the dog room/guest room was the plan) when we are gone. When we're home, both dogs are free. Apparently, Tyson doesn't like this arrangment.

So, let's talk about how I had beautiful, perfect, wonderful, white carpet in my new apartment for all of 48 hours. Then we brought Tyson in. The first day, when Tyson realized that he was confined in one room he began the freak out. To put it mildly, it sounded like we were pulling his legs off. One by one. Slowly. Casey (who doesn't make a sound in her crate) was freaked out by Tyson's freaking out, so she added her barking to the melee. It was fabulous. Did I mention that we're still in an apartment? Did I mention that Tyson can apparently freak out for 4 hours or more before he falls into an exhausted stupor? Did I mention that he started frantically digging at my perfect carpet in an effort to get out of the room, dug THROUGH the carpet, scratched all the paint off the bottom of the door, pulled out one of his nails in the process (!!!) and KEPT DIGGING!

This has been going on every day for a month now. The background music to my life is comprised of howling, scratching, frantic whining, and crying. It never ends. A couple of times, Tyson thought it would also be fun to pee all over the carpet to show us how incredibly freaked out he was. (I'm pretty certain we got the idea from the crying.) We have found a temporary solution to the carpet (otherwise, I'm convinced that Tyson would be in China by now) and we had an animal behaviorist come to see him (yes, Tyson needs a doggie shrink. I wish I were kidding) who had some interesting suggestions, but nothing has yielded the peace that I'm seeking in my apartment. Nothing. If Tyson's not free, it sounds like he's dying a horrible, painful, LONG death.

Why doesn't he get to roam free? Because I am A) not a fan of dog hair and slobber all over my furniture B) not going to let a dog dictate the rules, and C) fearing for my cat's life. What Tyson needs is to be crate-trained. Unfortunately, he is 85lbs of muscle, and he pretty much doesn't stay in a plastic or wire crate if he doesn't want to. When the boyfriend's not around, he doesn't want to. Tyson's just a great dog all around.

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I have dreams of accidentally losing Tyson. You know, opening the door and having him slip by and run away? I dream, "Would the guilt be too much to bear if I could have a peaceful household?" Somehow, I don't think so.

To be fair, the boyfriend loves his dog. His dog loves him. Tyson is a great dog. He loves people, he's gentle, he's patient, he's laid back. When he's not confined, he's actually a better dog than Casey (who's still a puppy, mind you.) But that's as long as he's not confined. In the confined cases, he starts to sound like I'm slowly boiling him in oil. I wish I knew what happened to him in his past.

So we had to move Casey to another room. So much for my dog room/guest room idea. Now its Tyson's room. Until he's crate trained, I can use that room for nothing more than housing a dog who's practically foaming at the mouth, hyperventilating, and chewing bones faster than we can give them to him. Great.

This cohabitation thing is working out wonderfully. Seriously. I'm so glad I did it.

Oh yes, and my mother called yesterday to tell me that they're planning some remodeling in their house. First up, removing the carpet in their formal living room. Can I make certain to bring Tyson with me the next time I visit? She hears that he can help with that. Hardy har har har.

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