Thursday, August 25, 2011

Me and Dali

 Too bad that the movie, Me and Marley came out first. Yes, people, my dog's name is Dali, an English bulldog. Unlike Marley in the movie, my dog is very well behaved and listens to instructions well enough. Since my blog is like a diary of sorts, I thought I should have at least one post of her.



The first two photos were taken right after I bought her, barely 5 weeks really, and technically a bit too young to be sold by pet shops. Was already determined to get myself a dog again, its been many years since I had a dog or two. I went to a pet fair thingee at Mid Valley and she was in a cage with two of her brothers. The way I chose my dog, I was always certain that there had to be an eye to eye connection, not a woof-woof enthusiastic jumping dog saying "take me". Its a life long thing so there has to be a deeper connection. When we met, we kinda stared at each other for more than 15 seconds, no barking (not by me anyway). Done deal there and then, all in 30 seconds. 


She was so tiny compared to her brothers. The guy manning the stall said she was very tiny because she was the last of a litter of 6. As you can see, she was no bigger than my thigh. Puppies are just like babies, they are the world's biggest lying advertising syndicate. Both just looked adorable, cute, blah, blah ... but wait till you bring one home and care for. The first 2 months were hell when it came to toilet training. First it was getting her to do it in the toilet. Then it was the usual feed in the morning and take her out for a walk 5 minutes later, same routine for the evening. Chances of success for the first two months was 50-50.

At times I was so exasperated because there would be no shit even after walking around for 30 minutes. Then go back, and get my own shower, only to come out and find nice doo-doo waiting for me. It would have been understandable if it was at places where I could see, but she liked to do it way deep underneath my bed. As my bed is heavy and against one side of the wall, it was a mammoth task to clean it up. If it was once in a blue moon, that would have been tolerable... try getting this 3-4 times a week. I was so exasperated that I seriously considered giving her away or selling her. Now, as I looked back, I can understand why I would have those thoughts but am grateful that I have the fortitude, grace and character to ride them out.

Many people think its fun to have a dog, but they forget that that they also suddenly took on an extra job as a professional shit picker. Twice a day, without fail, after a while you think to yourself if its worth it, ... but when they are  family, do you really care to count.

One of the early joys of owning a dog is when they first recognise the name you gave them. You call and they respond, guess they are a lot like babies. Next will be being properly toilet trained, I think that was after the third month. Dogs are very loyal, they greet you wildly when you come back, they snuggle up, they follow you here and there. They are so dependent on your love, affection and care. Is this the need to be needed which is why so many people rear dogs? To an extent, yes. You also form a bond, and the bond is based on how much time you put in. Some people have dogs just as guard dogs at the front porch, they don't even have time to play with them.

The bonding process comes from time spent together (not delegated to your maids): walks, playtime, bath time (very important), morning clean up, evening clean up, massages, combing and grooming, etc... The thing is if you do less, they will still be loyal, but if you put in your share, it will come back to you in multiples. People who say that they are just dogs, just really don't get it. Its like saying to your kids "they are just kids".

 trying to get into the Christmas mood and failing miserably, 
"dude where are my presents"

When all the training and repetitions are done, you think you have fully trained your dog ... actually you wonder if its you who is training the dog or you being trained. Now I am trained to feed at the right time, pick shit at the same hours, clean her at the same times, walk her at the same times ... we might be the ones actually being trained!


Once the toilet training part is done, the hardest part is over, she would no longer be willing to stay in her cage at night, barking incessantly wanting to be with me. Thats ok I guess, the need to be needed, plus I was staying at a condo 2 years back, so she got to sleep with me. The funny thing was that she had to be touching me when she sleeps, what I mean is that she needed to be in constant contact with me. Mine was a huge queen sized bed with one side against the wall. What happened was that she gets warm with her fur against me, and I would shift in my sleep, so for the first few nights when I woke up, I would be up against the wall and she right next  to me with the other 2/3 of the bed empty. I thought it was funny and ridiculous at the same time, but this went on for weeks. Nowadays, I got used to her, I have a comforter on the bed and she gets to be on  the comforter so I don't have to change the bed sheet every 3 days. Its a matter of getting used to it, now we share the bed comfortably and she still sticks her body next to mine, I just learned how not to move myself anymore.

when Dali met Lily at my mum's place

The other thing about owning bulldogs is their breathing. Owing to their makeup, they snore like a 30 year old man. I mean really snore, not like a girl's snore. You get used to that pretty fast I guess.

While the bulldog has short hair which is easier to upkeep, they also shed like crazy, some things you learn to live with. She sheds enough hair to make Telly Savalas or Yul Brynner look good within a week. Have a good maid service if you want a dog like that.

Having all those  "troubles", I would never change her, or have a different dog, because she is who she is. She is highly loyal, affectionate, friendly and clever.  Bulldogs must be the most misunderstood dog breed ever because people use bulldog images in the beware signs when they want to scare off people. The reality is that they are the worst guard dogs ever, they are so friendly, rarely barks and just need to sniff a new person to confirm that they are their new friends. Although there have been instances when I have seen Dali being ferociously angry, when the insecticide man comes over, must be something about their smell of the chemicals they use. She would be lunging at them like a Rottweiler. Other than that, she is the friendliest dog ever.

meeting a normal sized bulldog, "watcha looking at dude"

I do not like my dog to do tricks as I think it demeans them. However, she needed to learn a few basic instructions. She is good with stay, sit, roll over, go eat on her chair, move closer, finish your food.. what more do you want to ask for. My brother would try to teach her more complex stuff, which she will oblige, such as walk around, stay, lie down, play dead ... but I try to stay away from all that.

with Sidney, playing some gross "stimulation game", oh the expression is too Category 3

As in all genuine dog lovers, we still get the guilty pangs of not spending enough time with our furry friend. The thing about dogs is that they are quick to forgive. How not to love them even more. Just the fact that she now only pees and shits in the garden grass is  worthy of a Nobel Prize in my books.

At 9 months at a park

Of all the dogs in the world, people will think she is one of the luckier ones with a decent owner like me. Real dog lovers will realise that we ourselves are the lucky ones to be blessed with a furry life long trusting loyal affectionate friend like her.

One funny thing about most pet owners is that they talk to their pets. I thought that was a bit crazy at first but after a while, I find myself talking to my dog the same way as I would to my own kid. It hit upon me cause when I heard my next door granny talking to her grandchild, ...  the tone, the message, the words were all alike! "Why aren't you finishing your food", "come here, take your bath now", "I ask you to come, come right now" ..etc... 


This is her favourite pose

I love her because she doesn't bark incessantly (like my neighbour's stupid dog). She does so only when there is something really important - a person at the door, or something "new appearing in our garden" (a bird or a squirrel). Dali has this quiet persona that is hard to ruffle, a sort of nonchalant way of looking at her surroundings. It takes little to make her happy ... why can't we all be that way.


Dali as she is today, just over 2 years old 

You think you have just a dog, but sometimes she will wake up earlier than me, but will not wake me up but sit and wait for me to wake up for at least half an hour. As she probably needs to pee in the morning, she will wait till she cannot hold it anymore and paws me in bed. If I still refuse to wake up, she will use her final trick which is to lick my face, like that anyone will also wake up.


Dali would never get on the bed without me. She would wait quietly by the side of the bed waiting for me to finish my mundane stuff on the computer and internet surfing. If it goes past 1am, she cannot tahan anymore, and would paw me at my chair, asking me to go to bed. Only then would she jump into bed and snuggle next to me to sleep ... would your wife or husband do that??!!


 Here she is pondering on the meaning of a dog's life

She is lucky to have such a "nice owner" but we all know I am luckier to have her.

13 comments:

m said...

Love this SD!
But i have a cat :)
And i can agree with you that I am lucky to have him

tchtax said...

Always wanted a bulldog.. nice big paws.
Does it drool a lot?
What was the $$$ for Dali?

Salvatore_Dali said...

yes they drool but mine does not drip saliva out ... it was RM3000 when i bought it

Remnant 888 said...

Delighted to see how she has grown. Been too long you din potray Dali. By the way, female are very attached to the human male, dont ask me why..

Dogs are indeed wonderful creatures: their intuition, the ability to sense what is required from yr gestures is simply amazing...

SD, try feeding Dali fresh carrot juice every alternate day by a syringe. Really is good for skin (allergy, itch if any)and immune system.

Mum's dog once had a serious itch rash and was biting into skin. With carrot juice feed and exterior soak-bath using non-caustic oxygen-based bleach (Kao Bleach Colour Powder) to exterminate possible mites, we resolve the issue within days.
Cheers, SD.

clearwater said...

I have 3 dogs; 2 fierce energetic doberman crosses who drive me nuts and keep my lawn less than immaculate, plus 1 geriatric golden cocker spaniel. All neutered females. Have to walk them only at 6 am when hardly anyone's around. Can't walk other times because the dobe crosses are always on the lookout for stray cats and dogs to bark at and chase. No amount of disciplining seem able to cure them of their high prey drive. Excellent watchdogs, though. Your Dali is really ugly-cute, if you know what I mean. Visited the dentist lately? I can see how you can get so attached to her.

bonny b said...

Aah...dogs always give back unconditional love to their owners. And u know what? Dogs teach us more about humility than most people. A dog-loving person is a sure sign of that person's compassionate character. So glad there are so many of u around. As for training 'misbehaving' dogs, try watching Dog Whisperer on NatGeo for some tips on dog-psychology. Woooof!

clearwater said...

Cesar Milan, aka Dog Whisperer, and his calm assertive energy methods don't always do the trick. Cesar's good but no magician. Sometimes, breeding & genetics trumps all and no amount of 'whispering' will work. A neighbor once had a American Pitbull Terrier that was so hyper aggressive it killed any cat or animal that strayed into its large bungalow compound. Loved much by its owner but never allowed out for walks. Lived till 15 years.

viv said...

what a DALIng! but dogs do tend to be possessive and that may be problematic when she needs to share the bed with ur partner :P

jeeralang said...

Great post. And good to know that at least one member of your family owns a cat.

On whether our spouses would wait patiently for us to get into bed before jumping into bed himself/herself, I'm prompted to ask: would we give in to our spouse if he/she did what your beloved Dali does (ie really cannot tahan then paw you to go to bed), or would we continue what we're doing and just tell him/her to go ahead without us? Often I think we take our human loved ones for granted more than our animal friends.

wizardteo said...

good, i am envy and slightly jealousy that you life can be much comfort with it, relly envy and slightly jealousy!


wizardteo

wizardteo said...

plenty to say, much to comment about, but as long as you think is right, keep going, don't stop, saluate!

Hal said...

A nice article and a pleasant change from the usual topics on financial matters.

You'll probably like that Richard Gere movie - Hachiko - A Dog's Story. Grown men have confessed to crying a river after watching it!

Gary said...

Awesome posting!
And Dali rawks!!!!

I could not agree with you more on the 'professional shit picker' duty - I had a Bullmastiff named 'Titan' for 9 yrs and if there was a market for canine poo fertiliser, I'd be rich.

Happy holidays, SD & Dali!