Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Gutenberg part 3


As time passed, Gutenberg became part of our family. Jake and Heather's fear of her quickly disappeared, as she became their playmate and protector. However, it was Nick that she loved most. Probably because he was the only one who could even come close to matching her energy level. They would tromp through the woods, wrestle, and sleep together. She waited for the bus to drop him off from school, and didn't leave his side until he got back on the bus the next morning.

We quickly discovered that Gute had a few . . . quirks ? She would bark and growl at anyone carrying any kind of stick. I don't know if she had been beaten, or if she instinctively recognised it as a potential weapon. It took her a while to understand that the broom and mop were just cleaning tools.

Likewise, she seemed to comprehend that guns, even squirt guns, were bad. The only time that she refused to accompany Nick, was when he took his B.B. gun to the woods.

She was also terrified of fire. Unlike Honey bear, who loved to curl up in front of the fireplace for warmth, Gutenberg would leave the room. If she couldn't find another family member in another room of the house to be with, she would sit outside the room and shake in fear. When she first came to our family, even the flame from a cigarette lighter would frighten her. Eventually, she learned to overcome most of her fears, based on the level of trust that she had for the person holding it.

Unfortunately, she was never able to trust anyone outside our family, and my mother. No matter how hard we tried, Gutenberg refused to see anyone outside our family as anything other than a threat. No matter where we lived, there always had to be a "safe place" for Gutenberg to go when guests arrived. Gute didn't really need a reason to bite a stranger in the butt. I always felt a little sad that she missed out on meeting new people and alot of family time; But when a guest arrived, and I took her to her safe place, (usually Nick's bed room) you could actually see the relief and tension go out of her body. It was obvious that her aggression was based on pure fear.

In alot of ways, living with Gutenberg was like living with an animal that could never really become completely tame. She always had an instinctual wildness about her. Her sense of smell and hearing, her protective instincts, even her prey drive, was alot stronger than most domestic dogs. I know that alot of people thought that we were crazy to have a dog like her in our home, but we didn't choose her, she chose us. I suspect that she had been surviving on her own for a long time. She needed the safety of being part of a family - or a pack. I think that everyone needs that.

She wasn't always easy to live with. While Honey bear had "special needs" as a three legged dog, she was always the typical happy, friendly, kind of goofy, Golden Retriever. However, Gutenberg was almost the complete opposite - very driven and intense ; but still , playful and affectionate with her family. The contrast between the two became alot more apparent when we moved out of our house in the woods, to the suburbs with my mom. Our entire family composition changed, both human and canine.

But that's another story.
It's late, I'm tired, and I'm going to bed.
Good night.

Love,
Susan

2 howled back:

christopherc said...

These tales of Gutenberg are delightful and warming. I suppose anyone who has an affinity for pups would feel drawn in by these tales, but I can't help myself for feeling the love and adoration being conveyed about this lovely child.

Hope you have a nice Wednesday!

-C

Mel said...

You know I'm not really an 'animal' girl, not having grown up with pets that much or understanding dogs, but I really do enjoy your dog stories so much.

love mel