Running the gauntlet

Recently I acquired a new dog, 3 baby gates, 1 large economy size dog crate, and a routine that would rival any special forces military operation. Since I generally rank in the 70 percentile range on problem solving skills, a trip to the garage requires a lot of thought.

Maverick is a Great Dane, who is good with new people, my cat, the neighbor’s dogs, the mailman, and the odd axe murderer. He rarely barks, he doesn’t chew, and he has the largest bladder capacity I’ve ever seen on an animal. What he doesn’t have is any love for my existing dog, Colt.

We’ve had to set up a maze of gates and blockades to keep the dogs separated, we’ve shelled out big bucks for a trainer to come and evaluate the problem, and we’ve said several novenas on their behalf. Still, Mav will go crazy when he sees Colt.

“What were you thinking,” you might ask, “bringing a dog that requires a 300 pound linebacker to control into your home?” Let’s review. Three years ago, I attempted to turn Colt into a therapy dog, until I realized that he didn’t like wheelchairs, walkers, or the smell of old people. Two years ago, I suffered multiple fractures to my shoulder while walking an English Mastiff who yanked me off my feet and dragged me across the pavement. One year ago, I had my heel ripped to shreds by walking into the middle of a dog fight. Obviously, reality and I aren’t on the same page where dogs are concerned. Fortunately, the trainer assured me that the dogs can be socialized.

No possible remedy was overlooked. In preparation for Mav’s arrival, I put new batteries in my friend’s shock collar and tried it out on my thigh. I then removed the batteries, hid away the shock collar, and vowed never to give the police cause to taze me.

I don’t have small children or grandchildren, but my house is baby-proofed enough to keep an army of toddlers at bay. There’s no danger of Legos being flushed down my toilet. If I’m in the kitchen and want to go to the garage, it involves an accordion gate, a sheet of plywood, a metal gate, two doors, and a GPS. I’m surprised the dogs can even smell each other.

As a society, we are willing to go to ridiculous lengths for our pets. I look forward to the day when the dogs can be in the same room together. Meanwhile, I’ll have to photoshop the annual family Christmas picture and plan my trips to the bathroom in advance.