Bob McPhail 4:30 p.m., Aug. 29
- Community Blog
- Maggie Belle
I've lived in a single room loft in downtown for a little over a month now. Having moved from my four bedroom, quarter acre home in Encinitas. I am an artist and poet by trade so it seemed not only exciting but a place to conjure up and sustain my creative juices. Also, my house was being foreclosed on.
As for the creative juices, well they have flowed but mainly in response to my dog, Maggie. She's a boxer mix and with her came a lot of boxer traits, like the steadfast belief that she is a human being. A very neurotic human being. When I got her from the pound, she was three years old and while describing my new dog to others, I would say, "she has issues". One of those, was the desire to be an only child. She promptly cleared my house of all my other pets. She also emptied the yard of all wayward bird and vermin. My mother suggested she was only trying to protect the family, I was grateful my son and I were big enough to fend for ourselves. I strongly suspected she was brought to the pound because she had eaten everyone in her last household.
I realized early that Maggie had issues with other animals but what I didn't know was that she had separation anxiety as well. Though from the get go it should have been apparent. She was the only dog at the pound that had a sign reading, " I NEED a person", instead of ,"needs a good home". I learned, driving home from the pound, that Maggie wasn't a ride dog but I didn't associate it with separation, just a distaste for my upholstery choice. I wasn't worried, with a large yard at home I knew it wouldn't be necessary to take her in the car often. Once settled in at home I ignored aberrant behaviors thinking they added character. The panting and crying I was met with when I came home I thought theatrical but cute, signifying how much she cared for me and her artistic flair for drama. The same with the deep scratch marks imbedded in the glass patio door, drama and the possibility of diamond claws. It wasn't character however. it was desperation. What I thought were quirky behaviors that seemed somewhat incidental in a home with a large yard have become intolerable in a small city apartment.
Maggie, is frantic here when alone and is only at peace if I am too. I feel as though I have locked in syndrome. Only, I can't even move my left eye without her darting for the door in a panic, terrified she might be left behind. The inside of my closet, where I had originally kenneled her when I left so that she would feel safe and womb encased, has been torn to shreds. I pity her mother!. She has torn the plaster down in there to the bare metal studs, just as she has with the entryway and my front door. If I do have to go anywhere without her, I return to new scratches, more exposed metal, overturned trash cans, a sofa that has been moved with it's cushions spread out on the floor, an unmade bed (o.k. this one might be mine but she has certainly been up in it, a definite no, no when I am home) and one or two forms of excrement to clean up. Always done on the one rug I have in the apartment.
I have tried leaving things out to entertain her, I bought toys and a ball which I put treats in. She ignored the toys and promptly lost the ball, not an easy endeavor in a one room place. Once, not finding the ball, I hid cookies and peanut butter around the apartment, hoping she would spend time finding the treats and would forget about my being gone. I came home to white patches on the hardwood floor where she had licked off not only the peanut butter but the wood stain as well. After a month, my new apartment smells and looks like an animal lives here, a deranged ape.
I have to walk Maggie three times a day here, so far she hasn't got the hack of, "curb your dog". She likes to pee and defecate as she walks. There isn't any indication she's 'going', no slowing down or missed step. Unless we are in the middle of an intersection where the light has changed. Then she inherently knows to stop and do her duty, while I have to stand amidst the blaring horns, waiting for her to finish or else drag her as she goes and listen to the shouts of "idiot" from the cars inhabitants. Most times however, I don't know she's done her duty until I hear the person behind me yell, "God damn it!". A friend of mine has nick named her Memphis Maggie after the famed Memphis Belle World War II bomber plane. He thinks I should put a sign on her butt warning people behind us of possible "drops".
I do have doggie poop bags, which I use when I know she's pooped. I get them from the neighboring community where they are left on posts to help dog owners keep their sidewalks clean. In my neighborhood people just figure the dogs can go where they do. I buy bags as well but since she does the "walk and drop" and waits for me to discard one bag before going again, it takes about four to five bags per stroll. I invariable run out, generally in the nicer neighborhoods where I purloin bags.
When I have to go into a shop I tie her out front and race through my errand to curses by shop owners and shoppers alike for leaving a crying unattended dog out front. Last week a poor homeless guy was trying to give her his only sandwich to quiet her down, he should have given her his rum. I also have to take her in the car now as well. Besides howling to the point of police calls, licking the windows to opaqueness, shredding the seats and peeing, she nervously sheds all her hair. A friend of mine gave me alpaca chaps (don't ask) , I threw them in the back of my car and when I went to retrieve them, I couldn't see them. It was like a color blind person trying to see the number in the colorblind test. I knew the chaps were back there but for the life of me, I couldn't find them amidst her hair. And she has a boxer coat!
For the time being, we are home. The trash can lids and sofa cushions are duck taped on. The rug is rolled. I have tacked nails into the inside door and along the walls to discourage Maggie from jumping up ( like the no landing strips for pigeons). And I have taken her for a walk, my ears are still ringing! I have also decided to take my vets suggestion of medication, though I've doubled the dose. It seems to be helping. The panting and crying have stopped, at least from my side. Maybe tomorrow I will give some to Maggie.