day my dad picked me up from the airport and gave me this cool toy!
June 6, 2003
what's with this leash thing?
me and my mum
Shakespeare arrived on June 6, 2003 at Logan airport from Toronto, sans passport. We had selected him out of his breeder's litter from his picture on the web, due to his goofy and independent appearance. Those qualities never left him. From that day on, he was a constant and integral part of our lives.
Shakespeare's personality was there from day 1. Take, for example, his stubborn streak - he fought with his leash constantly. It also became his security blanket and he would hold it in his mouth when he went somewhere scary, like the vet or the groomer.
Growing up Shakespeare, like most dogs, got bored easily, We found this out the hard way when we went on a short vacation and employed a dog sitter to take care of him while we were gone. Shakespeare took out his frustrations on the kitchen floor, tearing up a good portion of the linoleum (I think it was a conspiracy with his mother, who never liked the floor anyway and wanted a good reason to replace it with tile!) For some reason, Shakey also took issue with my DaVinci Code book, chewing up 2 of them before I finally got the sense to keep it out of his reach. Other temper targets included assorted CDs, DVDs, magazines, kitchen table legs, 3 carpeted steps, and, of course, trash bags. We realized very early on how strong his jaws were, as he would chew through so-called indestructible toys, and consume rawhide bones in 15 minutes that were supposed to last 4 hours!
I took Shakespeare to puppy kindergarten and was proud to say that he flunked. He was never one for taking instruction from anyone. There would be 15-20 dogs there, all fairly well-behaved and calm. And then there was Shakespeare who just wanted to run around, sniff everyone, and play.
To avoid home damage when he was a pup, we bought some of those doggy gates. He just climbed over them. So we had to stack two of them in one doorway and add a big lattice barracade between the kitchen and the dining room.
Taking Shakespeare for a walk was a treat. Initially, of course, he would grab his lease and tug on it. And when hot fighting with his leash, he was eating everything in sight, including acorns and rocks! As he got older, he somewhat outgrew those habits. But he never changed his pattern of walking down a street or sidewalk, constantly zig-zagging from side to side. Shakey never learned to walk a straight line. There was just too much on both sides of the walk to explore.
Shakespeare did really well with the cats. He accepted them right away, and gave them respect. The reverse wasn't quite true as the felines accepted his presence in the house, but put him at the bottom of the totem pole in terms of hierarchy. Stretch, for example, once got annoyed at Shakey barking, went over to him and wacked him on the head. Another time he did the same just because Shakey was laying on a rug the Stretch wanted to be on. Poor Shakey even sat in the corner waiting for the cats to drink out of HIS bowl before taking a slurp himself. One exception to this treatment was Scully, who absolutely loved Shakespeare. She loved playing with his tail and slept with him every night. When Shakey went out for a ride or a walk, Scully would be at the window or doorway waiting for him when he returned.
Shakey appreciated the cats for another reason. He loved to clean out their litter boxes. Eeeew! More than once, we noticed that the box was empty and Shakey had litter on his nose with that guilty look on his face. So it became clear that he had to be barracaded from the basement.
The poor guy did seem to have a lot of fears. For example, there was the vacuum cleaner, but that's understandable. Then there was a small cat sculpture that sat on the floor. Shakey was generally afraid to approach it. Of course, I teased him by placing his bones in front of it. Shakey would try to retrieve one by reaching with one paw pulling it toward him. More often then not, it was just too difficult and scary, so he would look at us and woof for help. Then there was the time Shakey discovered an ant in the driveway on the way out for a walk. The whole rest of the way down the driveway, he kept stopping and looking back at it, in case it was coming after him!
One thing he was never afraid of was the UPS/Fedex/USPS guys. Their presence in his driveway was unacceptable and he let them hear it. Once even chased the poor UPS guy back into his truck.