We ended up being the proud owners of this wild dingo dog last Labor Day weekend, when Connor asked about getting a dog of his own. Our 11-year-old golden retriever is our faithful and well-rested family dog, but the boy was interested in having “a dog that’s just mine, and not anyone else’s.”
The intention wasn’t to give into a five-year-old’s whim. I thought it would be a great learning opportunity about dogs and cats residing on death row at the local animal shelter. My vision was that we would visit the shelter, and see all the animals, and talk about the people who were there to adopt them. As it turns out, they were having a $50 adoption special that weekend and, well, hubby and I are suckers for canines.
After ruling out puppies and pit bulls, we found some medium-sized dogs. The first one, a black lab mix, seemed to have a problem with his leg. Nope, sorry, too many potential vet bills. But there was a cute brown dog. Let’s take her to the pen and check her out.
She was friendly. And distracted. Well okay, there are tons of dogs barking and tons of people around, so it’s very distracting. We cut her some slack. And she didn’t seem to be a barker, so that was a bonus. So we signed up to adopt her.
Although she adjusted well to her new home, and new “family,” we started to notice some things. First, she totally freaking conned us with that whole “not barking” act she pulled at the shelter. A leaf falls from the tree in the backyard, and she’s off barking up a storm. She barks at the birds, she barks at the other dog, she barks at the fence. Sometimes she stands at the window, inside the house, and barks at imaginary things outside. We got an ultrasonic bark stopper, held it in front of her face while she was barking, and immediately felt stupid as she kept right on barking.
We got her lots of chewy toys to welcome her to our house. Then we got her a gi-normous dog crate when she tried to chew on the couch. That’s where she goes when we leave the house for the day. It gets to sit in my living room, and is now part of the decor. Yay! You know what else is part of the decor? The big area rug with fringe chewed off one side.
Connor started asking if we could take her back, because she is so hyper and noisy (which is ironic, since the boy is also hyper and noisy). I explained to him that she was part of our family now, and we have to have patience and teach her how to behave. Who am I kidding? We can’t even teach the boy to behave. The energy of the boy and the dog, combined, could power a large city like Los Angeles or Chicago. Even our faithful, tired old dog was losing patience, because new dog wanted to wrestle…about 11 hours a day.
But she loves us. Fiercely. Anytime someone comes over that she doesn’t know, she runs and stands next to me, barking loudly (of course). When old dog is out in the dark abyss of the back yard, and I’m standing at the door calling him, she charges out to find him, and leads him to the door by pulling on his neck with her mouth.
She is noisy, messy, and has poor listening skills. She looks exactly like a wild dingo, despite the fact we were told she was an Australian Shepherd mix. She drives us all insane. She has elevated our nut house to a full-fledged crazy house. But she’s part of our insane family now. She’s even grown on Connor, enough for him to show her his schoolwork this morning and tell her he loves her. Ironically, it is a booklet about “My Dog.”
Connor named her “Dora,” after that chubby girl that runs around the jungle unattended, except for her pet monkey. We usually just call her Dingo. It fits.
And by the way, here’s a picture of an actual dingo, in case you didn’t believe me.
P.S. If you like Dingos, click here.