Wednesday, July 13, 2011

And then there was Taro...(part 1)

You know sometimes I have so much to write I end up writing nothing because I don't know which story I should go with next!! Is there a word for that? I know writer's block is one side of that coin, how do they refer to the other?

Pitan chillin` at the vets!

I had to make sure I had the telephone number correct. Another corgi? I never see corgis here and now there are two in hokenjyos miles apart that need picking up? You met Pitan briefly earlier on. Remember? the sweet, very well-fed, rotund in the nether regions, 12 year old, cardigan corgi.She loved her people and their food scraps, in fact people = food scraps. So much so that whenever we were about to put food into our own mouths we had a backdrop of an urgent Pitan bark "Me too, me too!" "Hey guys! over here" Admittedly we were overly generous with the treats when we had to get her into the travel crate but the buck stopped when the latch was fastened. She was fine with that until any type of food appeared on the scene outside her reach, then she would noisily assert her claim to it.

Sheesh! when did steps get so high? You are going to lift me right?

We got to the Ofunato pound and the familiar friendly faces I had met the last time were there to greet us. The wonderful new, initiative taking vet and his equally positive thinking assistant. Enter Taro, a Pembrooke corgi. He is 7 in dog years which makes him 49 in ours, but like all in their forties and beyond, he was in complete denial. I knew we were going to bond! He strutted his puffed up chest once out of the pound's cage and promptly took the official for a walk, even though the original intention had been the other way around. He was raring to go, glad of his taste of fresh air.

The vet told us he had a bite history that was sketchy.Hmmmmmmm,...."sketchy" ...doh-yu imi? (what does that mean?) Well, A-PAR-ENT-LYYyyyyy he had snapped at a family member and since they weren't Taro's direct owners they decided to lighten their burden and send him to the pound.
-Ok, so "snapping" or actual biting? through play? teasing? out of the blue? food related?
-"Ehhhhhhmm... don't know for sure"
-Do you know if it is with Kids or adults? males or females?
-"Ehhhhhhmm... don't know for sure"
-Ok so the history is "sketchy" right?
"Yeah, yeah that is right, sketchy" :-D
Sometimes you just have to give up when you are ahead. Knowing that there was potential for teethiness was our "ahead" in this instance. Our taking him or not taking him did not depend on how many oral/dental infractions Taro had tallied up beside his name but rather on what we could avoid doing to make him feel the urge. It wasn't other dogs. He met Pitan in the carpark, they checked out each others calling cards and then pretty much ignored each other. Ok one common cause off the checklist.

We had taken ages to get to Ofunato, much longer than expected. I have a deep distrust of the digital navigation systems that come with rental cars. To compound matters, up in Tohoku, there wasn't always a road where these machines said there should be one. My Google maps was great but it was on the iphone which of course meant mood swings between full signal and "no service" while pulled over and stationary trying to get back on track. 2 Electronic mapping devices, one paper kanji map, and a tsunami razed coastline were all the ingredients needed to get me utterly lost on the way down. We practically "handbrake turned" into the parking lot of the pound, to meet at our appointed time.

We cut it so finely. The desk warriors were punching out and leaving. A few young ladies were the last of the trickle as Taro was handed over to us. We'd had the "sketchy" conversation at this stage and now had moved on to his family's story. The ladies were mesmerized by his beautiful eyes and his enthusiasm to be petted. We paused our conversation and watched the three ladies interact with a dog that was clearly loving the attention. Then his movements changed. It was so very minor but there was a pause in his little hind leg happy dance. He remained motionless for a split second. He had stopped the raspy dog laugh and now his mouth was slightly closed over. It takes longer to put into words what actually happened there and would be totally imperceptible to people who haven't seen it a few times. It happens in the blink of an eye.I saw it and pulled him back, just as he had decided 'snack time'. Not far back, just out of reach, back. Normally there is a pre-launch growl or teeth baring moment but Taro gave us a very little window of time to work with. Ok, so note to self, triggers could be crowding, females or that one of them touched a sore spot. Something to work on.

We also picked up Setsuo, the one year kitty who I'll tell you about in another post. And that was us: two corgis one cat and two volunteers hitting the road for the trip back to overnight in Sendai before the next day's trip to Bandai near lake Inawashiro.

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