This House Ain’t Big Enough for the Six of Us. – A Bump, a Fight and the Summer of Love is Officially Over
By Leslie Gallagher
Kenny was progressing so well. Each day brought slight improvements, each week we would cheer when we saw something dramatic. Though our house was a lot quieter with the Pooh gone, we managed to immerse ourselves in working on Ken and it helped stop the screaming in my head when a wave of pain about Pooh came on. Kenny was developing into a bit of a clown and he tried hard to keep my spirits up. The other house knuckleheads looked for Pooh for a few days and then came to realize he wasn’t coming back so they went back to their usual routine of beating the crud out of each other on a daily basis. Herein lies the next BIG PROBLEM. India (half blind 8 year old albino Doberman) and Kashmir (even blinder 2 year old albino Doberman) have a daily ritual of attacking each other, usually after breakfast and again after dinner but inevitably a few other Clashes of the Titans would occur throughout the day, though they didn’t last as long or make me laugh as hard. It was an interesting ritual: celebrate a delicious meal by beating the heck out of your sibling. Sure, why not? And because Monty is the House Fun Police, he always had to jump in to yell at the two of them and get in a bite or two as they raced down the hallway. Then Lou would join in and run around the house screaming his fool head off, trying to bite Kashmir as well, and acting offended when Kashmir actually bit him back. All in all it was pretty loud and hilarious with Kashmir over the moon excited that so many dogs were attacking him all at the same time!!! Awesome!!! Thrilling!!! Best day ever!!! If he could have had twenty dogs attacking him he would have died and gone to heaven. Sometimes India would get tired and collapse in a heap and then either Monty or Lou would take over as Chief Attack Dog. Then one of them would get tired and the next guy in line would up the ante. On a big day, India, Monty and Lou would all give up, panting in exhaustion and Kashmir would recruit old Casey to attack him. Casey only has about half her teeth so it wasn’t exactly a fair fight but she is usually game to help out a bit. Ken, however did not join in this game. Nor would I have let him. He had obstensibly been dropped at Dobie Rescue for, among other things, not being well socialized with other dogs. And we knew he had spent many years there in a cage, getting no socializing at all, so I was not comfortable encouraging him to play, even with my pack that was fairly safe (other than deranged Kashmir). But most importantly, Ken was recovering from a paralyzing neck injury and in my book that means no hard play ever again! At least nothing that would affect his neck. He would play gently with India (the perfect child) and she played gently back with him. This was a game that Ken loved as he adored India. His little butt stump would get all wiggly whenever he saw her and she’d immediately get into a play bow and then he’d try to get into a play bow and they’d grin and giggle and carefully chase each other around the bed. It was adorable. Then one night it all ended. Our happy-go-lucky home came to a crashing halt. And its something I still feel bad about. India and Kashmir had decided to do a full on pre-dinner assault. They were flying around the house, up and down the hallways, yelling, biting, grinning, racing past with big smiles on their faces. Little goofball Lou was trying desperately to keep up with all the long legs running around the house. Monty (being a German Shepherd) was lying down, half in the hallway, half blocking the kitchen doorway. Kenny was standing in the hallway, politely watching Bryan cook dinner and waiting to be fed. Kashmir came ripping through the kitchen at 100 miles an hour, leapt over Monty and accidentally crashed into Ken, knocking him down. Ken was not happy and growled at Kashmir. Any other NORMAL dog would have ignored it and kept on going. Kashmir, who has a high A-hole quotient decided to growl back instead of apologizing. A screaming match then ensued. They both started full-on yelling at each other and needed to be separated. From that day forward Ken deemed Kashmir his bitter enemy. Kashmir had become a threat to Kenny’s well-being. Which was such a shame as they had lived peacefully together for months. Kashmir, was oblivious and slightly afraid of Ken at the same time. I take that back. He became terrified of Ken. As the days went by we had to keep them separated, obviously. Do-able. But when nighttime came it got tricky. Ken was X-penned in our room, so he went in first. We put towels or a blanket on the X-pen as a visual barrier. We would then let Kashmir in as he sleeps in bed with us and Kashmir would literally shake upon entering the bedroom. Kashmir has a very young, baby personality and Ken clearly meant business. He acted as if he was going to rip Kashmir’s throat out if we’d just allow it. In the morning Bryan would wake Ken up, slip a leash on him and hustle him out of the room as quickly as possible. It was an uncomfortable arrangement, to say the least. Bryan and I were so sad. We had hoped that Kenny would live comfortably with our pack forever and clearly that wasn’t to be. We consulted and worked with our dog trainer for several months to see if we could reach a détente but Ken’s dog aggression had been awakened and Kashmir was a wreck around him. He could not relax. He wanted to get Ken to play with him like everyone else did, but Ken really just wanted Kashmir and Monty to move out so that he could live happily ever after with India. Even more amazing, several of our incredible clients offered to pay for all kinds of trainers to see if they could work it out as everyone could see how bonded Ken was with Bryan and how much he loved his girlfriend India but no amount of training could undo a lifetime of not being well-socialized with males.And as a 10 yr old Doberman he was unlikely to change at such a late date in his life. Worse, a few weeks later, an employee was throwing a tennis ball for ball-obsessed Monty and Ken jumped in and attacked Monty, leading to an expensive surgery.Poor Monty never knew what hit him, but we knew we needed to find Kenny a home and fast. He had begun to show aggression to multiple male dogs in the facility and we knew Kenny needed a girls-only home. He really loved female dogs and was fine with little dogs. Big male dogs were just too much for him. We needed to start the next phase of Ken’s life in a safer environment. On to Plan B.