According to Wikipedia, the phrase "to open Pandora's box" means to perform an action that may seem small or innocuous, but that turns out to have severe and far-reaching consequences.
A few weeks ago I was contacted by someone about a deaf Boxer named Luna who needed rescue. I already had several deaf foster dogs and a few more waiting to come in, so my first inclination was to say that I was unable to help. However the dog was a three-year-old purebred Boxer who sounded perfect. We have several people in our rescue group who love Boxers, and she sounded like a very easy dog to place into a home (already being perfect) so I decided I would go ahead and take her and then maybe find another foster home for her with one of the foster parents who love Boxers, or just keep her until she was adopted. She was said to already be spayed so she wouldn’t have to wait several weeks until our vet could spay her, and she was supposed to be dog, cat and kid friendly. She was also supposed to be well-socialized meaning she should adjust to a new situation easily because she’d been exposed to lots of new situations as a puppy. So I made arrangements with the person to have her brought to an adoption event where I would be that Saturday.
Two days later, I received an e-mail from a rescue friend asking me to help with a four-year-old female Boxer who needed a new home. I often receive requests for help with deaf dogs, but the requests are usually spaced weeks or months apart. I’ve also only received one request for a purebred Boxer ever – most requests are for mixed breeds or pit bull breeds -- so it seemed like a very strange coincidence to get two requests within the same week for a female purebred Boxer. The deaf Boxer named Luna who I had already agreed to take had also been posted all over Facebook asking for someone to rescue or adopt her, so it seemed likely it was the same dog. However I explained to my rescue friend that I had already committed to another deaf Boxer and explained the situation. I said I couldn’t take her if it was a different Boxer but if it was the same Boxer and there were just multiple people trying to help this dog then I could take her. She confirmed with the person she’d been talking to that it was the same dog, named Luna, and I made arrangements to pick her up on Sunday. When no one showed up at the adoption event on Saturday with a Boxer, I figured it was definitely the same dog and the plans to get her to me had just changed based on the rescuers involved.
The plan was for the owners to turn in Luna to their vet on Saturday, and then I’d drive out to the vet’s house and pick her up on Sunday. The veterinarian and her husband also did animal rescue, so I was a bit surprised to receive a call from them on Saturday asking what time I could get there on Sunday. I spoke with the vet’s husband and he sounded a bit anxious to get her out of the house and said he wasn’t used to deaf dogs and couldn’t communicate with her well. I thought that was a bit odd, because deaf dogs are really no different than hearing dogs and shouldn’t be any harder to communicate with, but I thought perhaps he just wasn’t used to big dogs. So I drove to his house with a friend to get Luna and was surprised to hear the report from the vet and his wife. They said that the dog was a bit cage aggressive and a bit out of control. That didn’t sound like the dog that I was expecting. Then they said the dog was named Valentine, not Luna. And that she wasn’t spayed. That also surprised me. But there are always mix-ups when communicating through three or four different people so I didn’t worry too much. I figured the dog was deaf and doesn’t care whether I call her Luna or Valentine. Then we began the long drive home.
Luna/Valentine started out just fine in the car. She was very sweet. She let me put a seat-belt harness on her. She sat quietly. Then I started the car. And suddenly Luna was in the front seat sitting on my friend’s lap and the seatbelt harness was still in the back seat. After trying to tighten it and keep it on her several times we gave up on that. She was quiet and happy to sit on my friend’s lap until we hit the main road where we encountered other vehicles on the road. Then she jumped in the back seat and began barking. And if you’ve never heard a deaf dog bark, be happy. Because they usually have a high-pitched and extremely loud bark, and Luna/Valentine was no exception. She barked at every car that came up behind us on the road. So I tried to drive faster. Then she barked at every car we passed. It was a busy highway and it was not a fun trip. We had to make a stop at a dog training facility and she continued her excited barking and lunging and aggressive behavior on leash with every dog and person that she met there.