Thursday, January 26, 2017

Family Dogs - Jersey

I decided to use my blog to pay homage to some of the pet dogs in our family. As a child, I can never recall a time I did not have a dog. What’s not to like about a pet dog? They are loyal, color-blind and have an uncanny ability to read the intonation of our voice, decipher our emotional state, and provide comfort at just the right time.

Our eldest daughter’s first dog in North Carolina is named Jersey which is a tribute to our previous home state of New Jersey. At 10+ years old. this dog is the senior matriarch of the Parlante dog clan. Jersey is regal, stoic and has a mind of her own and yes … she is dog aggressive. Of all the dogs in the Parlante clan she’s the only one with an “arrest” record resulting from a sheriff’s visit after she confronted another dog while asserting her territory. Whenever she spends time in the kennel, she was earmarked as dog-aggressive. She was always kept separate in a specially appointed room with a regular child-sized bed, television and use of the run with no other dogs accompanying her.

When I first met Jersey I thought she should be a movie star. She looked and behaved like a junk-yard dog. Her black and white fur grew in every direction imaginable, requiring frequent buzz-cuts. She preferred to sleep under tables (likely a reminder of sleeping under cars in a junk yard). She understood English and the family had to resort to spelling out words when you did not want her to react. Eventually, she even learned how to spell. When she heard the letters, R – U – N, she knew it was time to jog.

While Jersey was dog aggressive, she never exhibited that behavior toward people and certainly not toward her family. She typically ignored a house full of guests and preferred to sleep in her designated spot. She is extremely devoted and protective toward her family. She seldom ate her meal without some added embellishment like a dollop of gravy or chicken stock. When we dog-sat she would miss the family and not eat at all.

Only one time, we dog-sat Jersey at our home. It was a long night as she wandered through every room looking for her family and trying to adjust to her surroundings. I finally fell asleep to be awaken silently in the dead of night with her inches away and breathing on my face. Even in the darkness I saw her wide open eyes appealing me to do something! I knew one possible solution.

We spent a few minutes bonding together under the dining room table. I gave her a plush towel, and tried to convince her we were sleeping under a junk car.

It worked!
Robert Parlante
January 2017
(The next dog on the list is Remy)

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