Buster Gives Me Fits

By Ruta Paskevicius

I found Buster at the pound. He pressed his side against the wire mesh of his cage, begging to be scratched, to be touched. When we went outside to see if we liked each other, he sat on my feet. I took this as affection. What I found out later was that it was just one form of domination.

Buster wasn’t overwhelmingly large or fierce; he’s a medium-size Australian shepherd. But I learned that he had a will strong enough to intimidate an inexperienced dog owner. From the moment we got home he was a wild man, energetic, stubborn and recalcitrant. I put his dog house under a shade tree in the far corner of the yard. He refused to use it. I put towels in there so he’d have a soft bed. He dragged them across the yard and left them in a snarled mess on the patio. Angry scratches appeared on the back door. When I returned from work, he jumped on me on his hind legs, with an erection that left no room for discussion as to who he thought was alpha dog between the two of us. Let me tell you, this sort of enthusiasm is not as flattering when it’s not your own species.…

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