I’m on edibles, y’all.
Look at this dog:
Cat included for size comparison. That pit bull you’re looking at? The one beside the normal-sized house cat? She’s full grown. We call her a teacup pit bull as a joke. She can fit under the overhang of our lower kitchen cupboards to snuggle up against the heating vent. She can also fit in your lap, which is handy for a breed that does sit in your lap regardless of their size. Her feetsers are itty-bitty. She’s just the smallest damn pit bull I’ve ever seen. Until about two months ago, I could put her in a shoebox.
Let me tell you about this dog. My Baba decided that she loved our pit bulls so much, she was going to get one of her own. She went down to the shelter where they had an adult pit bull but the shelter workers were concerned that he was probably too large and strong for an eighty-year-old to walk and they encouraged her to look at others so she wouldn’t die from being dragged six miles by a galloping pit bull.
Since we’re basically a broken record about our belief that there are no bad dogs, just bad training, Baba got a better idea. She would buy a pit bull puppy from the step-son of one of my father’s friends and train it herself.
You see that on step one, we’re already off track here, right?
The person who bred the puppies insisted that they needed to be rehomed right away. They had already been weened and were eight weeks old.
Now, that? Is not an eight-week-old puppy. Even as the runt of the litter, that’s not an eight-week-old pit bull puppy. Her eyes were barely opened and very, very blue. That unicorn toy that’s roughly the same size as she is? That’s a Beanie Baby. When I saw this dog, my first thought was, “Oh my god, she’s adorable!” and then, “Oh, shit. Those scars tell me she’s not a learner.” This puppy had no bite inhibition at all. At her first vet appointment, the doctor was horrified that she’d already been weened and separated. She backed up my first assertion: “This is not an eight-week-old puppy.”
Worst of all, Baba named the dog Sophie.
Come on, family. Get it together.
You know what’s not a great combination? Pit bull puppies with no bite inhibition and paper-thin, eighty-year-old skin. It became quickly apparent that Baba could not keep the dog and all of her blood. She had to choose between the two. Because our daughter had already fallen in love with her and because we have pit bulls (the best thing you can do for your pit bull pup is to let it spend time with other well-behaved pit bulls), we took the dog. I quickly changed her name to Puppers because what kind of jerk off would have a dog named after the main character of their books?
Anyway, you know how I said that there are no bad dogs, just bad training? I stand by that and just assume that Puppers is the exception that proves the rule. I don’t know what the means, actually, because I’m not good at math. I’m not saying she’s a bad dog, per se, but she’s definitely a dog who does not give a fuck. About anything. She does what she wants and if that lines up with what I want, great! If not, too bad. She has absolutely no drive to please anyone.
We have managed to teach her some things. Not to bite, for example. First of all, we had to change any command we used with her because she’d been told “no” so often already that she didn’t even hear it anymore. “Gentle,” I would say in a soothing tone as I separated the jaws of serrated puppy teeth sawing through the flesh on my forearms, “I only like gentle dogs.” Eventually, that worked well enough to remind her to stop jumping up on people, too. I mean, at least forty percent of the time. And she doesn’t bite anymore, but she does start to bite. To correct this, I say sternly, “No pit bull face!” Pits can have a real scary looking face if they bare their teeth and they’re a breed of dog that just can’t get away with that nonsense.
One of the ways Puppers has devised on her own to curb her biting is to grab a toy, press it up against the person or other animal she wants to bite, then bite the toy. Which is pretty smart, I guess, and a great alternative to having to get the cat’s head out of her mouth. However, the cat does not appreciate having a toy jammed forcefully into her side or face, so this doesn’t always work out. Despite their perceived peacefulness in the photo above, their relationship is tumultuous at best. As a result, we often have to break up the fights resulting from Puppers’s enthusiastic, often humping-based, attempts at friendship. “Gentle!” and “She doesn’t like that!” tend to work more than the cat’s shrieking, hissing, and needle-sharp claws. Pain seems to be no behavioral deterrent at all, judging by the number of times she’s had run-ins with stinging insects, only to go back for more.
I really didn’t want another dog. At the time we adopted her, Puppers was our fourth dog, when we had just started preparing ourselves to be down to two. My seventeen-year-old beagle passed a few months after Puppers came to live with us and brought us back to three. Deep in mourning for the dog that was rarely found more than two feet from me at any time and fed up from trying to train a beast that still drew blood from me on a daily basis, I thought I was never going to love Puppers. But then, she got big enough to be allowed upstairs. Every morning, Mr. Jen would let her into the bedroom as I slept and she would attack me with love, burrowing under my head, frantically licking my face, then tunneling under the covers to snuggle, her tail thumping wildly. No matter where I go or what I do, when I get back, she’s thrilled to see me. She’s big enough now that she no longer sleeps in her crate and consistent learning/grudging acceptance of our silly rules has earned her the right to sleep in bed with me, snuggled up against my butt, so now I wake up to much calmer puppy snuggles. Then I remember how much I so didn’t want to take on another dog and how I was sure I would resent this one for being an ill-behaved little monster.
As I write this, Puppers had to be scolded for eating a tube of paint. She was remorseless.
This dog is naughty and terrible and I love her to bits. I hope hearing a little bit about her brightened your day because IDK about anyone else but my brain is flippin’ fried so this is about as high concept as I can be right now.