I had no idea instinct rules

I am feeling a bit embarrassed, ignorant, and just, well, dumb. Charley went into heat for the second time. I was going to take her in to get spayed the weekend before she spotted, but something came up, so that didn’t happen. I wasn’t too concerned because My last dog that passed, LB June, a little pit bull runt, did not get spayed until 5 years of age. I had to deal with the bleeding, and occasionally she’d hump a leg, but that was about it.

The week before, she’d been acting extremely odd. She periodically looked very vacant and lost. She would sniff the grass and then just stand, and glance around. I would say to her, “What is up, Charley? What is going on?” She’d drop low and start slinking, along, tossing guilty looks back at me, her ears pinned, scanning the surrounding area. She’d do things to annoy me, such as, wrap herself around street poles, all the while looking at me. She’d walk back And forth in front of me, tripping me. It would stop when I would accidentally step on her, and a loud shriek would come out. (That’s got to be the worst sound- like she was getting kicked or something.) She’d drift over to people passing by and act as if she was going to jump on them to say hi., knowing that wasn’t okay.

She briefly spotted only once, so I guess I assumed she was not as driven, and the same as LB June. I was taking her to the one dog park that I knew very few dogs went. If anybody has spent any time with her, know that it is imperative she goes outside to get at least some (a lot) exercise. Almost there, she stopped about 5 blocks from the park abruptly. Her and the leash fly out of my hand. There we both stood in a total stupid stare off. I think we were both thinking what IS going on. Her ears were fully erect, a mix of bewilderment, fear, and just pure animal look about her. She then turned and started rapidly trotting off.

I was shocked. I tried talking to her in every voice I knew that would get her attention. I’d step closer, she’d move further. A few people tried to grab her leash. She got to the end of the block and turned the corner, out of sight, right into 4 lanes of traffic. I was horrified. I think I yelled out “WTF CHARLEY?!?!” She stopped, saw me, dated through traffic again, running towards me, only to turn and go back through AGAIN. A total of three times, 4 lanes!

I finally got her down an alleyway, and, in my fear, I yelled at her, telling her if she thought she was just going to go wherever she wanted to go by doing this, she was wrong. I told her I was never going to take her there, to that park, EVER AGAIN!!!

But I knew it wasn’t that. She’s pretty stubborn, but for her to pull a stunt like that was RARE. I mean, unheard of.

We get back to the LINK station, got on the train, and that is when she fell back into her little girl, almost puppy-like, Charley Waffle. Her demeanor, her body language. She kept snuggling closer and closer to me with her head on my lap and sighing. My heart totally went out to her. Her face was buried in her paws. It was a really sad walk the rest of the way home.

I feel so bad because I compared her to LB June. They are two different dogs, just like people. I realized I can’t lump them all into one category. One stereotype, as ALL DOGS are like this one way. But what really got me sad was, I realized she was in this battle of her instincts and her wanting to please me, to be a good girl. Her face was just a misconstrued mix of emotions, reactions, instinct, and just plain confused when that had happened.

After this, I was telling people the story, and it seemed everybody knew that dogs in heat go feral and will jolt at any opportunity. Some people told me they even crate them during this. The way there were talking about it was like it was a known fact. I swear, I had no idea it was this bad for them.

Worst of all, realizing how horrible it was for her.

I have, now that it’s too late, researched the matter extensively. I can put two more things under one of my pages,” What I’ve Learned About Owning a CHARLEY WAFFLE .” Don’t take the cone off, until stitches are gone, and don’t ever underestimate that animal instinct. Once again, I’m glad she’s ok.

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C.W.

A lot of things can happen in a half century. Life is so weird.

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