“What is Clemmie barking at?,” asks Gray. Again. And again. Because the barking, it never stops.
“Honey is Clemmie still barking?” Yes, yes she is. And no, I don’t know why or how to make it stop. I used to try to give her the benefit of the doubt and pretend that she could just hear better or see better than most dogs, but no. She is the only dog I have ever met that can literally stand in the middle of the backyard and bark for hours at absolutely nothing. Not to imply that she won’t bark when something is happening. God forbid there be repair men in the house fixing something, anything – that’s an automatic 3 Advil kind of day.
Clemmie is a lab mix. If you listen to her crated you’ll know she is part hound dog. If you look at her tongue you’ll know she has chow in her. And if you had seen her as a puppy you would have thought that she was a daschund.
I made the crazy mistake of adopting her to befriend my baby boo, the best dog in the world, the day before I started orientation for vet school. Almost instantaneously, it was a notable disaster that commenced with her howling the entire night every night as we implemented crate training. All the toys we had for the boo she ate or destroyed. The baby gate and fencing we had always used for the baby boo she went right over. The trash can, no obstacle. Walking on a leash – not a viable option. I tried to take her for a walk to get some of the energy out of her system in the hopes she finally sleep through the night and she laid down in the middle of the road. I ended up carrying all 15 pounds of her puppy stubbornness 8 blocks back to the house at which point she had a resurgence of energy and ate my pillow.
She and Winston, aka baby boo, had a love hate relationship right from the start. It was very much a relationship of co-dependency and battery. Clemmie would bite Winston. Winston would growl and then they would sunbathe together on the patio. Granted Winston may have started it occasionally by making eye contact and being first to start the growling, but he didn’t have a mouth conformation that would allow him to actually bite back. She gave him scars, stole his toys, and drove everyone crazy. After about a year I tried to find her a new home. We found her a lovely farm 25+ miles north of our current home. It was a beautiful hobby farm with open fields, several kids, and plenty of room far away from neighbors that might object to her barking. Lord knows ours did.
Three days later she showed up on my doorstep. She had no interest in me and ran right to the backyard to nuzzle the boo, who was slightly less excited to see her (yes, that’s an understatement). After that there was no turning back.
If I re-homed her she would run away to get back to the boo. She couldn’t be turned into a shelter, because she had a history of biting Winston and I didn’t want her to be put down due to her inability to get along with other dogs. OK, well she’s only ever bit Winston and she’s great with people. In fact when people meet my puppy dogs they tend to prefer Clemmie over Winston. Clearly first impressions can be misleading.
She is also a black dog and sadly black animals have long been associated with evil and bad luck in our culture and thus, are often the last animals to be adopted and the first to be euthanized in shelters. I simply couldn’t take that risk. I had taken her home, stupid though that might have been, but she was mine and mine she would stay.
With her itchy ears, anal gland impactions, and food allergies she has cost us a fortune, but she will never die. Ever. I’m convinced that long after the boo and our other beloved dog Dante (well Gray’s beloved dog) head off to a better place, we’ll still have Clemmie. And here on earth Clemmie and I will sit, both pining for Winston. We are certain long after our other darling dogs are gone Clemmie will live on! Still barking. Still reminding us how lucky we were to have the other two.
Don’t get me wrong she has her moments and seems to like Gray an awful lot. She has the most expressive eyes and clearly never tires of affection. If only she would stop the constant licking and would gain some perspective on personal space, but hey, we are focusing on positives here. We will never be caught off guard by a knock at the door and there is nothing cuter than watching her carry around her baby, a stuffed frog.
Parents say you should love all of your children equally…………
I am still trying to figure out if this is true for dogs…