26 March 2011

Smart Dog, Dumb Human

I adopted a "special needs" dog a few months ago. Olivia was born with what we lovingly call a "kickstand" hind leg, and she developed a severe case of separation anxiety. She was rescued from a hoarding situation (lived in a house with 31 other dogs) and came from an abusive home before that. To say that she's had it rough during the last two years would be an understatement.

I'm not what one would normally call a "pet person," so bringing home a dog was not part of my "plan." However, when I saw Olivia at the PetCo, I knew I needed to bring her home. For the most part, I think Olivia enjoys her new home and new caregiver (me); she isn't affectionate like other dogs I've known--she tolerates me petting her, haha--and she has a detached but needy attitude. (How's that for dog psychotherapy?) Olivia does, however, follow me everywhere I go; she won't even go outside on our patio if I don't walk out there with her.

Olivia especially hates it when I leave for work in the morning. Initially she was swift and smart enough to dash out of the door after me, so I had to be tricky when I left to keep her inside the house. During the last few weeks, Olivia has suffered from intense pain and hasn't been able to move very much. (It breaks my heart to see her suffer so much!) She, nevertheless, figured out a way to prevent me from leaving for work: she limps over to the garage door and plops her little body in front of the door, positioning herself in such a way that I cannot open the door.

The first time this happened, I just laughed. What a smart dog I have! She figured out that if she wanted me to stay home--and that door was taking me away--that she should not let me open the door. Brilliant plan!