Friday, January 15, 2010


Ziggy. Just the name makes me want to smile and cringe at the same time. Because Ziggy is not just another dog. Oh no - he's something special.

Ziggy has been a challenge from the day I got him, when he urinated on the front seat as we were driving home. It was my fault – I didn’t give him a chance to go before we left the shelter. Then he became sick within a few days, and ended up at the emergency clinic. His stay was shorter than expected – I think they wanted to get rid of him as soon as possible – so I picked him up for the short 5 minute drive home, and he urinated in the back seat. You’d think I would learn. Actually, I thought I did learn – next time he went to the vet for his neuter surgery, we left plenty of time for basic needs to be met before we left the house. And when I picked him up from the vet that evening, we again stopped in the grassy area outside for several minutes. So I was a bit surprised when he left me a smelly “surprise” in the back seat on the way home. Ah yes – Ziggy quickly left quite an impression on me.

In addition to basic house-training issues, which is fortunately something he is starting to improve on, Ziggy has a more serious issue.  He is quite possessive of his toys and food and other things he considers his. He doesn’t mind sharing with me or Dave, but he will fiercely guard his possessions from other dogs. Also he is not very bright. He is willing to take on a 160 pound Great Dane (who would let him win) and a 60 pound pit bull (who would destroy him) with no thought of his own puny 25 pound size. We’re working on this possessiveness, but in the meantime I have to keep him separate from the other dogs when I’m not in the same room, for his own safety. Fortunately he is a “velcro dog”, and never wants to leave my side. This is an amazing thing about many deaf dogs – they can’t hear what is happening behind them, so they prefer to keep their person in sight at all times. And if they wish to rest, they often do it while touching their person so the person can’t sneak away without them knowing.

I definitely enjoy taking advantage of Ziggy’s deafness from time to time. Earlier this week I got up, took care of all the other dogs, got ready for work, and over an hour later Ziggy was still asleep in his crate. I didn’t wake him until the last minute since he was going with me to be dropped off at the vet on the way to work, and wasn’t allowed to eat beforehand. I have to admit it was very convenient that way. It’s nice when I come home too – I can get everything organized and greet the other dogs before Ziggy ever knows I’m there.

When I first got Ziggy I was a bit worried about him not being adoptable. It’s hard enough to place a pit bull, but when you add in that he’s deaf, and that he is very dominant with other dogs, it’s really tough. I couldn’t imagine trying to foster him for months while we looked for the right home, if there were going to be constant fights with my dogs. Actually I still worry, but the difference is now I’ve gone and fallen in love with the dog. I tried hard not to let it happen, but it did. His sweet, loving demeanor and goofy puppy behavior just got to me. His need to be constantly within four inches of me is so cute. He’s always looking up at me with those big green eyes as if to say “What next?”. So I have to believe someone else will see that same adorable loving dog, and that person will have no other dogs, or only submissive dogs, and will be able to look past his deafness and the fact that he is a pit bull and still want to adopt him. Tomorrow is his first PetSmart adoption day, and anything is possible.

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