I got up earlier than I needed to. I’ve been sick since yesterday, but I did a full day at work anyway. It’s funny that I finally get more hours like I wanted when I least want them. We got a new dog, or rather, I did, and I am at work all day and haven’t been around him as much as I should be.
He’s not quite right, this dog. He’s disturbingly smart, and learns things from simply watching us. He was supposedly a stray, but he knows all sorts of commands, and every time I tell him to do something he seems to know what I want. He follows me and stands nearby, just watching, always watching. He hasn’t gone to the bathroom in the house once. He lays on the floor pretending to sleep, but I see his ears twitch when I walk around the room, pacing. occasionally one of his animal eyes opens just a sliver.
I’ve had him three days, and for various reasons have already deeply considered returning him to the humane society even though he has been a more or less model dog. He doesn’t bark, he doesn’t bother. He’s obedient and intelligent. He sleeps through the night and scratches at the door when he needs to go out. He’s even loving and gets extremely excited when I come home.
He’s thought about biting me twice (the same occasion) and growled at me once. I’ve learned to leave him alone when he’s tired because he gets irritated. I know it was mostly my fault all of those time, but he’s a 125 pound dog with a massive head and a set of teeth to match. He may act placid, but he’s got a mind of his own and if I do something he doesn’t like he could seriously injure me. And it’s not even me I’m concerned about, it’s my pets.
The vet already said he is possibly a wolf hybrid. Wolf hybrids are legal in this state (I’ve even seen ads for them in local newspapers), though there are certain regulations regarding their vaccinations and what is to be done to them if they attack something. I didn’t enter into this with that on my mind; I assumed he was just a Malamute and there wasn’t much to be worried about. But all the things the vet told me are beginning to bother me. At first, when he told me, I completely denied it in my mind. I figured he was just a little odd looking. But now I see the way his tail hangs limply to his legs instead of curled over his back, how his eyes are set a little too close together, how the pattern on his coat is a little irregular, how his skeletal structure is kind of wrong, with his withers and shoulders nearly even instead of sloped. He could just be a ‘pet standard’ and be a little wonky in build from bad breeding. Or he might have another breed of dog in a little more distant heritage that altered his structure a bit. Even if he did have wolf in him, I would be willing to bet that it was a couple of generations back.
His behavior is not wolfish. He’s not shy or aggressive. He doesn’t hide. At the same time, even the vet commented how odd he was, how he didn’t act at all like any of the Malamutes he’s dealt with. He even tolerates my mother’s four pound chihuahua and appears to be friendly toward cats. Again, not very Malamute of him or very wolf.
Yesterday, however, I almost took him back. I am that convinced. Even if he isn’t and he is just a dog, I’m worried that his just acting how I want him to act, and that sooner or later he is going to do something I never saw coming. He’s got something sinister about him that I don’t quite like, and I’m not sure if the vet visit just made me paranoid or it was the other day when he grabbed my hand with his mouth. Twice. He didn’t even bite me, and his touch was so light that he didn’t even get saliva on my hand. But it was a clear warning of ‘don’t touch me’ and I didn’t like it.
The reason I didn’t return him is because he is an animal. I respect animals. I respect them above all else. He is not here to do everything I tell him, and he is not here to be a predictable, sweet yellow lab. I can’t expect him to be perfect, or to not get agitated about certain things. And I know that if I do something he believes to be threatening…I have no doubt in my mind now that he may hurt me intentionally. But I know that if he did something to even suggest that he was going to hurt me or one of my other animals, I would not hesitate to shoot him. That’s how it works. We’re on the same page in that respect, and I think that’s something we can work on. He appears to have similar concerns about me, though we play it like we’re already friends.
He gets skittish when I move too quickly. I saw the look in his eyes when I picked something off of the table a little too fast, the way he stiffened and his ears went back, like he assumed I might hit him with it. I’m cautious when I bend down to pet him, even though at times he will rub against me and sigh, wagging his giant tail. When I get home, he leans his whole body against my legs so I’ll pet him. I really don’t have all that much reason to be suspicious of him. He acts like any dog would act. I don’t know, maybe I’ve just been too long without a dog to know anymore.