Monday, April 6, 2015

The Gezzer Worries About Gus

Gus’s story starts with his mother.  She was beautiful, young, and socially prominent in her small Border Collie family in Southern Virginia, near the North Carolina border.  Living in her neighborhood---in the kennel next door, as a matter of fact---was a gorgeous red and white Grand Champion Border Collie, for whom, apparently, Gus’s mom had the hots.  Being young and, on at least one occasion, unchaperoned,  mom managed finally to meet Champ---face to face, to be polite about it---sometime in the Fall of 2011.  Gus’s mom and the Champ met and, weeks later, Gus and his 10 sibs appeared.

Gus was the largest of the brood and the only one who looked like his dad, the Champ.  He also had dew claws which, in the culture into which Gus was born, was a scandal.  Gus and his sibs were not wanted, to say the least.  Still, they were pure Border Collie, and it was decided to let them live.  His first three months were spent being fed and watered, and that’s about it.  Sanitation in his brood’s living space was minimal.  His mother seemed not to have a maternal bone in her body.  The woman who helped his mom with the raising of the children just wanted them to grow up and get out.

So it was that I came upon Gus.  He was a very shy, retiring giant of a pup who waited until he was very sure of a situation before allowing himself to get involved.  His brothers and sisters all seemed to be pronounced extroverts, vying to be the first in the crowd, while Gus always sat alone in the back of the room and just watched.  When he came to live with us, he changed a lot and changed very fast.  He loved to play with other dogs and with me.  He loved little kids.  He welcomed the attention of strangers.

In the last year or so, Gus has changed.  He’s become very aggressive with strangers, canine and human.  He bullies Baxter, our very large black Lab.  His behavior with strangers has become so unpredictable that he often isn’t included with the other pups who live here go out of the yard to play.  Now comes the news that he won’t be welcome in the new dog park the city built about a mile from our home.  This dog playground is a great place designed so that dogs can get together and run free in a large fenced park.  There are toys and structures that promote dog play.  But not for Gus.

Our daughter, Annie, has had similar problems with my grandpuppy, Marnie.  Her vet prescribed Prozac for Marnie and her inter-puppy behavior has improved 100%.  I hate to give Gus chemicals, especially those that will affect his brain, but I am thinking that I will have to get him some Prozac so that he can play with the other pups in the city’s new canine play area.
The fact that I feel the need to write about this shows to me, at least, what a huge part of my life and my heart Gus has become.  Like any dad, I want only the best for my (not so) little guy, and, like any dad, I want him to have the same opportunities that all his peers have.  So I guess Gus is going to start taking antidepressants.  I never would have believed I would do such a thing, until Gus.

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