Sunday, February 8, 2009

And ... buh-bye, by Christopher

We gave Pete the dog back to his previous owner yesterday.

In my brief time as a journalist I learned you've got to lead with the biggest news, then fill in the details.

Pete bit Sarah on the leg and drew blood. Then he bit me on the leg and drew blood. Thirty minutes later, I tried to clip his toenails and drew blood.

Then, I took Pete to the kitchen so that he would bleed all over the tile instead of all over the carpet. Then Sarah came in and shut the kitchen door behind her.

Then the door handle came off in her hand.

In the 6 months we have lived in our apartment, we have never shut the kitchen door. When we shut it for the first time yesterday, we inadvertently locked ourselves and a bleeding dog in the kitchen together.

I performed door surgery. I had no tools in the kitchen, but using a shish-ke-bab skewer and a fork I was able to get the door open again.

After an extended period of time.

As we exited the kitchen , and Pete began biting us again, we decided to call the previous owner to ask his advice.

He sounded totally unsurprised and he later disclosed that Pete had been "given back" by the last owners for similar reasons. He also said that he thought he had a veterinarian at the German embassy who might be interested in taking Pete, and might also be more capable of dealing with him.

An hour later Pete was gone.

Pete is a good dog, but a loner. The only times that Sarah or I could really pet him or even touch him without bites was when he was about to fall asleep or locked in a crate. His primary form of interaction with us was biting us. When I told his previous owner about the biting, he told me that I needed to be more firm. He suggested that I do what he has done for the last several months; keep a shoe in each room and when Pete bites or misbehaves, hit him really hard in the face with the shoe.

Pretty soon, he assured me, all you have to do is pick the shoe up to frighten the dog into behaving.

Which explains why most of our 'positive reinforcement' training didn't work.

I could write more (a lot more) on the topic of Pete and his ignominious extradition from our lives. But I'll leave it to Sarah to follow-up with some final thoughts; maybe some final photos and videos.

We're both very glad that Pete is gone. And we're both a little sad, too.

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