When my husband and I adopted our Pembroke Welsh Corgi, Katie, from a breeder about two years ago, we were told that she wasn’t cut out to be a show dog thanks to a herniated belly button and a sweet disposition. But we were looking for a lovable pet instead of a paraded pooch so we signed the papers, handed over a check, and loaded our tricolored bundle of fur into the car. Little did we know what “sweet personality” actually meant.
On the surface, a sweet natured pet means you’ll never be in a room alone again; you don’t have to worry about her running away; and she seems to rejoice at the sight of you or any other living being. But aside from the Miss Congeniality award, it means having a dog that is timid beyond compare.
Katie, who has never been abused, neglected, or even disciplined too much, is deathly afraid of many household items, including the tv remote control. I’m sure the remote has never attacked her, but if it lands a little too loudly on the coffee table or gets knocked off the couch, she runs for cover. The good thing about this unnatural fear is its use in quickly removing her from the couch. Just wave the remote around like a magic wand and the dog disappears. It’s a real lifesaver when you’re eating anything on the couch from a plastic bag.
Although our cowardly canine is a good fetcher, she is absurdly afraid of any ball larger than the size of her mouth. This goes for my son’s little red ball, my husband’s soccer ball, and the family basketball. The mere toss of a sports ball elicits enough growling and yapping to arouse the neighbors’ suspicion that a prowler might be on the loose.
As if this weren’t embarrassing enough, she’s is even more afraid of a Frisbee. I gave up on the idea of a flipping Frisbee-catching show hound about a year ago, but when a dog food company sent me another plastic disc in the mail recently I had to give it another chance. Not only did this new toy create the usual barking and growling, it also brought on a violent case of shaking and cowering. And that was before I had a chance to even throw it into the air! Alas it has been consigned to the yard sale pile along with an overstuffed pet bed that also caused too much anxiety.
But the demons of dogdom--lightning and thunder--get little more than perked ears out of Katie. She braves out a midnight summer’s storm like the toughest German shepherd, or at least we think she does. While many dogs are running for cover, she’s usually already under the bed. In her defense, it’s the safest place to sleep in case a burglar should break in during the night or a large ball should fall from the toy box. Where else would a dog with a “sweet personality” who’s too short to jump in the bed sleep for safety?
By Amber Stephens