Three weeks ago I got a little brown dog. Her name is Lou and we have developed quite a relationship. We take walks and are around each other for many hours each day so I have grown to know her well. Yet being the authority figure in her world I don’t always know what to do.
Some aspects of caring I am not so sure of, like discipline and patience the more we are around each other, I believe that I am beginning to know her better although lately things haven’t been so great.
Lou is a Jack Russell terrier-German shepherd mix and can be feisty at times. One day, in fact, she bit me. Not, I believe, in any way that would cause alarm. I bled for while and I bandaged the wound and dismissed it. When people asked about the wound I said, “Oh it was nothing,” and the answer sufficed.
Later that week, Lou, being her typical old self, once again bit me. This time I felt anger and immediately retaliated. I grabbed Lou by the neck told her what a bad little dog she was and placed her in the kennel for the evening. She whined a little but did not do much of anything else.
I felt content with my decision and was sure my actions would rectify the situation. The next morning she walked out of those four plastic walls and cheap metal cage a timid dog.
As the day progressed she regained her spunk and spontaneity once again, becoming the free dog she once was. Only this time she was a little different. I don’t know what it was but she looked at me funny, in a way that was not trusting. Oh well, I thought, I will deal with her later to regain that trust.
I felt like I had accomplished the task at hand. Lou had misbehaved I had been the just-yet-fair disciplinarian. She knew now who was boss and she would not mess with me again.
Ultimately something inside did not care about our relationship or if she even respected me but that she did not act out.
Well if you didn’t see it coming, Lou, just three days later, walked over to me as I lay on the ground, hooked her bottom jaw below my eyebrow and jerked up, opening an inch gash right above my eyeball.
“Lou!”, I screamed, as I put my hand over my eye to feel it moist with blood.
I quickly ran to the bathroom, grabbing some tissue and a Band-Aid, tended to my eye, and went to find this evil culprit. I found Lou alright, hiding under my coffee table. That little coward. I grabbed her paw, shook that frail frame and then whacked her right on her mouth causing a large yelp in response. As soon as I loosened my grip, she ran.
I felt bad in a way but had enacted justice for such terrible behavior on her part and I knew that I had taught her a lesson. Or did I?
Lou doesn’t wander too close at my side anymore. She doesn’t run to me when I get home and every time I raise my hand she shuns. And every chance she has she nips my heal or turns over her water dish, quite annoying. And to boot my eye became infected. In my blind vengeful rage I lost total sight of my own well being to pursue retribution, but let me tell you it felt great to hit that dog.
Well it felt good at the time. I feel rather empty now and I’m pretty sure my dog hates me.
With the good intentions I felt, I acted with hatred and anger.
If you have any advice on how to deal with Lou please write your local congressman.
Jason Cooper, a senior photojournalism major, is photography editor of the Campus Times. He can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com.