Garrett Harris 4 p.m., Dec. 22
- Community Blog
- Postcards From the Purple Buddha
My Pain-In-the-Butt Valentine
Most of the time, Gus is a pain in the neck. He sleeps on top of me and digs his claws into the skin on my legs. A few months after I endured reconstructive surgery on my eye, Gus decided to sleep head to foot and ultimately socked me with his back foot. My eye throbbed for hours.
On February 4, I took him to the Valentine's Day photo event at the Escondido Humane Society. As always, he got attention. And even though he's a sixty-pound hard-body, a purebred pit bull by design, no one was afraid of him. No one ever is. I think people are so engrossed in staring at his long ears, it doesn't even dawn on them what breed he is.
"Look at those ears!" "I love those ears!" I hear it constantly. Once we get the ear issue out of the way, people ask, "What breed is he?" They look surprise when I say he's a blue-nose pit bull. I've even had one person argue that he looked like a giant French bulldog, which he is...for homeowners' insurance purposes.
Gus is far from being one of those beady-eyed killing machines you read about in the news. He's more like Spanky from the Little Rascals--all about the fun. He's goofy and soft-hearted; wouldn't last two minutes in a fighting pit. If another dog growls at him at The Mayflower Dog Park, he turns and runs. He expects me to take care of him.
Recently, Gus' girlfriend, Nancy, had to be put down. She turned out to be one of those beady-eyed killing machines. But before I took her for that last ride to the shelter, she grabbed ahold of my senior dog's neck and wouldn't let go. When Bliss started fighting back, the two dogs crashed into a table knocking over a glass. Gus immediately came looking for me with an expression that said, "What the hell was that?"
I was using the restroom and he insisted on sitting on my foot. Occasionally, he cautiously peered out the door to see what was going on. In his world, he can't imagine ever fighting like that. Even if another dog steals a toy from him he says, "Oh boy! Now you've started a game where I have to steal it back!"
Gus is all about the fun. When a one-hundred-twenty-pound wolf dog pinned him to a park bench, he said "Mom! Help!" I had to jump in and rescue him.
So much for owning a guard dog!
At Saturday's event, Gus became nervouse the minute we walked in. He had come from the County shelter in Carlsbad and I wondered if the sights and sounds were so familiar they scared him. He truly hated being incarcerated. And as happened during captivity, his eyes turned red, he started to pant and he wouldn't sit still for more than a second. After a few minutes, his skin turned flakey like it had after being kenneled for a month. He was just too stressed.
When it was his turn to get his picture taken, the girls led him to a special spot. He wouldn't settle down no matter how many treats or toys they gave him. He kept hopping up and circling around the room. But at some point, it dawned on him that he was supposed to be enjoying the experience. Then he lay down beside the fuzzy hearts and smiled. As you can see, it was a great shot!
Who could live with a dynamo like Gus? Well, sometimes I think I won't survive, but when I see him resting his head on his daddy's lap while they watch T.V. my heart just turns to mush. There's nothing he could do to make me get rid of him. He's my very own pain-in-the butt valentine. See the final outcome. He's one handsome boy!