“You’re right, he’s a nice puppy”. I said. “He’s very affectionate and he’s got short hair so the allergies shouldn’t be a problem. And he’s so small, I’ve never had a small dog before, he’ll be easy to handle. No problem, ” I said. “Ok, I’ll take him off your hands if you can’t keep him”.
And the terrier puppy wasn’t so bad. House training wasn’t that difficult, mostly getting him used to my schedule. Very intelligent, he picked up on it within a week. Few problem messes after that. He loved the children, though not while they were toddlers. He growled and bared his teeth as they wobbled around, even when they weren’t anywhere near his food dish. My brother thought it was an attempt to establish dominance order. He had to spend time in his kennel when toddlers came to visit. Kennel, never used one of those before. Never had a small dog before. Never had a terrier before.
“Oh, how much different could it be, I’ve handled all kinds of big dogs for fifty years, ” I said. But never one so territorial, so fanatical about keeping joggers, walkers, cyclists, wild turkeys, hens, blue jays, squirrels, moths, katydids, pictures on kibble boxes, dogs in newspapers, .... out of his territory. And he noticed everything, cyclists three minutes before they came into sight. Barking, helping in high pitched, frenzied yelps, tearing around the house from door to window to window to see. Launching himself from chairs and the couch, using whoever was sitting there as a foot hold. Leaving gouge marks. I said lots of things then. Never had a dog I couldn’t keep off the furniture before.
Now, thinking of it from his point of view, his people are all alive, no one’s had their throats torn out. No one’s been attacked by bicycles or squirrels. His pack is all alive and the food cache is safe. It must be working. He must be doing what he’s supposed to be doing. It’s as it should be. By his lights. Somehow, it makes it easier to live with. By his lights he’s doing what’s right, even if his pack is so ungrateful.
The Buddha said that patience was the highest asceticism. I’m keeping the terrier dog. It’s good for me. I say. At 2:00 on a Sunday afternoon. A terrier is a different kind of dog with their own ways. But he’s still no boarder collie.