WE WERE blessed to have a puppy dog at the time of the pandemic, a three-month-old mixed American bulldog, Chico, which arrived in April and became part of the family.
At first, he looked odd to me, as I was used to fluffy in house shitz shu's growing up, Chico was not fluffy with his white fur with black spots. He also had a quizzical look in his eyes on most days, like he was confused all the time. I pitied him.
On the first nights, he barked for half an hour at the terrace where his spot to slumber was made, shrill, irritating yelps I knew the neighbors could hear and was afraid to be reported for disrupting the peace. We made a makeshift bed for the mutt, with old clothes and foot rugs, which he initially hated, or confused as he is, maybe he didn't know what they were for.
As it was the season of the pandemic, shoes were parked at the terrace as well, with the "fear" of letting the virus into our abode imminent, it had to be done. Chico found this amusing as hell and decided to chew on our favorite sneakers in the course of the night an present it to us in the morning.
I was not amused.
I bought a shoe rack then to put outside, to make it harder for the confused canine to get to our footwear, I also put the chewed on sneakers and slippers at the bottom rack as a "decoy" for him to continue wrecking until he got over his shoe fetish. This worked. I was happy despite having two less shoes from my collection.
After a month, Chico finally got the hang of sleeping on the old clothes and food rugs, he now understands this was his bed and the yelps only lasted few minutes before he accepted his fate to sleep outside the house.
He was getting to be smart, or so I thought.
One morning, I woke up to a terrace with filled with shredded cloth and shoes all over the floor, Chico the Dog, toppled the shoe rack and "ate" his bed, mercifully, he was so busy tearing the foot rug and clothes apart that he forgot to feast on the shoes on the rack.
I was thankful for his persistent confusion at this point.
What to do with a cluttered terrace, any human with a dog would know the only way to fix it, is to clean it yourself, whatever yelling and tantrum one may want to indulge in would be a futile attempt to reprimand the dog. So, clean I did and reprimand the dog I also did later.
Since he was not technically "my" dog, I left the training to the daughter who was gifted with the mutt in the first place, logic dictates, it is her responsibility anyway.
So I did, mandate the cute daughter to train the confused bulldog to make him a model canine.
At first, Chico the Dog learned to "sit" on command, cute yes, but useless just the same, he would stand up and nibble on our slippers just the same. The patience of my instant dog trainer was commendable to say the least, she went on and taught Chico the Dog to "paw" and "High-five," again, it was cute, but still useless to me.
Eventually, Chico the Dog learned to "stay," this was good, he sat still, he also learned what "no" means and stops nibbling on our slippers when we say it with enough conviction.
The latest trick he learned is "roll over," and "play dead," it's cute when his tricks are done one after the other.
Now, if Chico the Dog's last two tricks can be cascaded to some the bad apples in my country, then all will be well.