While my daughter was away, our first dog, Perry, had to be put down. That was a hard day; he had been a faithful dog.
Perry was bought as a puppy to be a watchdog, a protector for our family. I put bars on my downstairs windows for safety – not to keep burglars out, but to keep Perry in. I was afraid he would go through the window after an animal or human who was walking by. He did not like anyone to come in the house. Or in view of our house. It didn’t matter if they were friend or foe – this was HIS house, HIS territory, and he did not like anyone outside of our family here. I could not open the front windows or blinds because anyone walking where he could see, was in HIS territory.
He would stand up on his hind legs when I answered the door. He was taller than me when he stood like that…but he didn’t like the feel of the screen on his paws and wouldn’t touch the door. He just stood tetering on his hind legs and growled. He scared annoying door to door salesmen/solicitors off of the porch every time, by looking them straight in the eye.
Perry was handsome. His coloring, his proportions, were beautiful. He was a boxer mix with a crazy row of fur down his back. We wondered if his unknown father was a Rhodesian Ridgeback. That crazy fur stood up whenever he was upset. It made him look dangerous.
Fearing he would escape, I had a fenced area – six foot high – constructed outside my back door. That way my kids would not have to try to hook him to a chain. He was 100# and very strong. The tall fence and ‘beware of dog’ sign did a lot to make us feel safe. No one would see that tall fence, hear that bass-voice bark and break into our house. No one. I used to say he reminded me of the creature in “Alien” – the way he showed his teeth.
As ferocious as he appeared, he was really a big baby. He hid under the dining table when it thundered, or when Tori threw a tantrum.
I called him ‘laundry dog’ because he used to follow me down to the basement and wait there while I started the next load. He followed me everywhere around the house.
He had a big vocabulary. He seemed to understand clearly all my verbal commands. He didn’t always obey them, but I have no doubt he understood them.
Perry loved the kids. He laid outside the bedroom doors when I went to work early, just waiting for the kids to rise. He was not crate trained – we had a big dog crate when he was little, but he ate it. Yes, Perry ate the ASPCA-approved crate.
We joked that he was part goat. He ate everything near the floor – toys(you may recall that I referenced the Barbie massacre in an earlier post), crayons, my son’s birthday money (my son had dropped it- we were, thankfully, able to retrieve enough pieces to replace all $100 at the bank), Christmas ornaments that he would jiggle off the tree – yes, even glass ones. We bought him big cow leg bones to chew – he would grind them right up. Nothing upset his stomach.
He did NOT chew my furniture or try to sit on the human chairs, but we bought him a used giant ottoman to sleep on. We also made him a denim bed out of old jeans that we called the ‘mutt butt.’
An end table that he had used as a hiding place as a puppy had to be retired because he kept trying to hide there as a full-grown dog – his rear end was too big and he would knock over the table.
When we first noticed the growth on his front leg, we didn’t think too much of it. It didn’t seem to hurt, it was not in a spot that could be operated on easily – so we just watched it. At the vet’s suggestion, we made him wear a sleeve – my daughter’s old turtlenecks, adding padding (kotex) to the sleeve as necessary. The neighbor kids thought it was hilarious that this big ferocious dog wore pink shirts. They would have cracked up if they knew he was wearing kotex!
When his growth became painful, another trip to the vet – the suggested cure was amputation of his leg. Perry never learned to lift his leg to pee – whenever he tried, he tipped over. I did not see how, with his really broad chest, just one leg up front was going to work for him. I thought the kinder thing to do was to put him down.
It was a sad day. My sister tagged along to keep me company. The pound will put down a sick dog down for a very reasonable fee, so that is where we went. When we took him in, he was very scared of the other dogs, who were barking. This was out of character for him; he was obviously not feeling well. Feeling sorry for him, the worker kindly led him to where they keep the the little puppies to await his fate. He was only 6 years old.