Alvin sticks out his tongue when he is nervous

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Alvin's a Bad Influence

It is so interesting to watch dogs observe one another and start mimicking each other's behavior.  As you all know, Alvin is obsessed with food.  My dog, Timmie usually can take or leave food, to the point that if I don't feed him next to me he will ditch the food to be near me.  I have watched Timmie's behavior recently change towards food and he is no about as gone-ho for it as Alvin.  Every single time I walk towards the kitchen Alvin is right there begging for food.  If I go into the back yard and come back in, Alvin is right there begging for food.  Timmie has now started to display the same behavior and I now have two dog leaping around like lunatics in hopes for a treat and they often offer up such a compelling argument that they get one.  My cat, Maddie's food is up off on the ground in a place that the dogs have not been able to access and Alvin is forever staring dreamily at it.  That has put her food on Timmie's radar and although he has been trying, he has not been able to get it.  Tonight I went to the store and I came back to Alvin greeting me at the front door but no Timmie, which was immediately suspect.  I looked and Timmie had managed to get up where the cat's food is and was just polishing off the entire bowl of very expensive cat food.  If Alvin could have clapped his paws in shear delight he would have done just that.  He was jumping and dancing around as though "they" had just pulled off the ultimate trick.  I'm not sure what he was so excited about because he didn't get any but Timmie and Alvin have managed to form quite a team and I now call them my two hooligans.  Timmie really likes Alvin and he just loves having a side-kick that doesn't take the attention away from him.  If any of you have seen the recent Youtube videos of the little British girls singing Super Bass or seen them on Ellen then you will understand the reference of Alvin being Timmie's (Sophia Grace) Rosy.  Every time Timmie runs out in the back yard to stir up trouble, there is Alvin right next to him.  It is clear that Alvin has no idea what is going on but Timmie just loves to have someone following him around.  So, I think Alvin thought that "his team" had finally scored one against the cat and got her food.  Timmie was so encouraged by Alvin's jumping for joy that he mistook it for an invitation to play and tried to engage Alvin but Alvin decided that "the team" needed to disban immediately and headed for the safety of the bedroom. Alvin ended up on the better side of that deal because he won't be the one with a stomach ache from eating a whole bowl of cat food. 
Alvin's been busy being his cute self.  He has started to lick my nose a lot when we are in bed and it is clearly a sign of affection.  Shortly after he first got here he would sometimes like my face and although I really don't like dogs licking my face, I couldn't help but find it endearing/  It remained endearing until I realized that he only did it right after I had eaten and was only looking for food.  Now at nighttime he will often lick my nose but only when he is feeling particularly loving.

Alvin has completely forgiven me for bathing him.  He goes into the bathroom as usual and you would never know that that was the room of horrors for him just a few nights ago.  Alvin is very resilient.  Due to his habit of being literally under my feet when walking I have accidentally kicked him many times and each time I feel just horrible but he is right back in the thick of things before I can even finish the apology.  Last night my mom was over and while she was walking she warned Alvin not to walk so close and said, "If you keep doing that one of us is going to get killed and I think it's going to be me because you are so darned sturdy."  I worry that he is going to cause her to fall before her knee surgery and then I think I am going to have to keep those two completely separated during her rehab.  It is another reason why it wouldn't be a bad idea for them to have their knee surgeries at the same time because at least then Alvin will be on crate rest and can't trip her.

In the meantime, Alvin has seemed to tapper off in his progress of being touched.  He is a dog that constantly wants to be around me but he just doesn't enjoy any touch that comes over his head.  I can scratch his head and back all I want, as long as we are in bed and he is sleepy.  I don't know what has happened to cause him to be so leery but I don't think it helps him to try to force the issue.  I keep reminding myself that it's his healing on his time table.  What I can't figure out is with him being so resilient when I accidentally kick him or when I purposefully bathe him, what has happened that causes him to still be so frightened of being picked up or touched.  I was holding on to the belief that those fears were just part of his quirks but the more I am with him the more I am convinced that someone did something bad to him.  It would take a particularly disturbed individual to hurt Alvin because he is a dog without any fight or assertiveness.  He squats like a female when going to the bathroom, doesn't mark on walks, won't so much as play wrestle with other dogs, virtually never barks, and it is clear that it wouldn't even enter his mind to bite or snap at anyone.  If the Bible verse is true that the meek shall inherit the earth than little Alvin is someday going to be at the very top of this world, wearing a crown and sitting on a throne and I just hope he at least lifts his leg and pees on whomever hurt him in the past.  I am not going to allow myself to ruminate on the fact that someone hurt Alvin because it doesn't change anything.  What has happened has happened and Alvin now has a chance to have a forever home with someone who will appreciate all that is unique to Alvin and he will spend a lifetime feeling safe and nurtured.  What I am certain of is if it hadn't been for Camp Cocker Rescue that he would have died in a scary, dirty shelter because there as much as people care, there just aren't too many people or rescues that would take a skittish dog that clearly needed very expensive orthopedic surgery.  He is the kind of dog that rarely gets saved but the founder of Camp Cocker drove literally hours in a storm that was so bad that the shelter personnel had to go pick her up in a big truck because the road was flooded.  Camp Cocker took him in without conditions or stipulations and by not allowing him to end his life in a scary shelter, that rescue has helped right the wrongs of the human being who previously mistreated him.  I often look at Alvin and am so grateful that someone was willing to look past the fact that he was going to be a very expensive dog and that he was going to be hard to find a home for and only saw his value because being around Alvin makes you want to be a gentler, kinder person.  He has clearly taught me, and many others that sometimes the most valuable little beings are the ones we nearly overlook.  In the meantime, Alvin just keeps being his wonderful little self and every night he falls asleep having the space between and above his eyes scratched (his favorite) while being told what a very good boy he is.  That may sound touching but let's be honest, he'd trade that in a heartbeat for the option of a trough full of kibble that he could roll around in, inhale, and fall asleep in while eating.  He may be sweet but he still has his priorities.

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