The Prescott Dog: Hazel Howls
Pickle. A remembered taste formed in my mouth when Mom and Dad first brought him through the door. Some years ago Dad was eating a sandwich in the truck and a pickle fell to the floor. Before he could stop me I had scooped it up. Big mistake. I couldn't get that nasty thing out of my mouth fast enough. Watching this strange adult dog approach brought back that memory as he snooped and paraded around my world, my home.
As the two-leggeds were gushing and trying to encourage me to engage with him, (a male of all things, now Dad's side might get two votes), I decided I was going to have to take control of this "situation" right off the bat.
In the past I endured the Bella years. That snappy and moody bulldog kept me on my toes, and eventually we managed to tolerate each other. Then came the fostering years (still ongoing). First, the puppy Lucy came through the door. Yes, she was beautiful and smart. A tribute to her breeding and lineage. Lucy was a handful and had a masterful way of swinging her hind quarters at me during play. She was fostered and trained as a service dog, and I hear that you can see her beautiful and smart self working up north on a college campus.
Before Lucy moved on, another foster puppy, Butter, arrived. Although Butter came from the same pedigree, she had a mischievous streak that was unpredictable and gave Dad a run for his money.
When the fostering of those two came to a close, I was looking forward to my retiring from being a nanny.
Now this. A white fluff ball of possible trouble. I can sense that he is not a foster dog, or a visitor.
For the next 36 hours I read this dog the riot act. Every time he came near me I vocally went over the rules and boundaries of the household. I snapped my teeth and bared them at each approach. It was working as far as I could tell. He stayed demure and quietly kept out of my way. During my barking alerts he did not attempt to assist or add his two cents. So far so good. Until the third day.
On days one and two, Dad and I discovered that this dog did not know how to play. Dad would throw toys for me so I could do my scramble and fetch. Then I would shake the life out of the toy and bring it back to Dad, (most times). With this dog however, Dad had to put the toy in his mouth for him. Then we would watch him paddle anxiously from room to room not knowing what to do with it. Not the brightest bulb around, it seemed.
Then came day three. Dad lofts one of my "favorites" into the air. With a short gallop, a slight jump, and my jaws closing on the airborne target I turned to run back to Dad. Immediately I am met by a supersonic white blur of a missile that stops right at my muzzle and issues a loud, sharp, commanding bark. I drop the toy instantly out of shock and alarm. The toy is quickly snatched up and taken away.
"He can talk!"
Dad's words broke the spell as I stared at the white dog enjoying my toy.
Yeah, and he's fast too, Dad." This was not the "shy wallflower shelter rescue dog? I thought he was. "What?s his name again Dad?"
"Tucker," Dad said in a whisper.
"More like Sgt. Tucker it would seem," I sighed.
After that day, I had to change my approach. Now, some months later, I appreciate having a companion near my age. Not only is Tucker smarter and faster than we first thought, he is very loyal to Mom and keeps her feet warm at night.
In early November Sora arrived. Another foster puppy to be trained as a service/facility dog. Tucker adopted her and serves as nanny and playmate. I?m so grateful for him now. I call him Old Uncle Tuck sometimes and when Dad gets to my nerves I call him Au Pair. When I do, Dad threatens to put pickles in my dinner.
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