Equator Gringos

May 6, 2008

Three-Dog Day

Filed under: Ecuador — lstollin @ 9:31 am

A couple of months ago we awoke to find that our landlady Kathy, who lives downstairs, had gotten a third dog. This was shocking and dismaying. But first, some background.

An early post, Dog Rallies, was partly about the two mutts Kathy already had when we got here. They each enjoy barking, but in different ways. Jake likes to bark at passersby but is quizzically quiet around us. Jake, on the other hand, still thinks we are intruders, enemies, six months and more into our residence in his territory. His bloodcurdling barking and lunges at the gate are truly terrifying for a dog that weighs just fifteen pounds.

Perhaps I need to clarify. Yes, for some reason both dogs are named Jake. What I forgot to mention is that they both have second names. Jake Sweeney is the white brillo pad dog who is silent around us. The psycho (and he may be truly psycho) floppy-black curls one is Jake Farley. Perhaps, though, passersby-barking Jake Sweeney might live up to the Demon Barber appelation in his own way: Kathy keeps them separated at all times or Jake Sweeney will attempt to rip psycho Jake Farley limb from limb.

We kept hoping Kathy would get rid of one of the dogs (preferably the psycho Jake), and she always talked about how one or the other was supposed to be a temporary thing.

So when Nora showed up, we were a little freaked. Kathy explained: Nora was to provide company for Jake Farley and calm him down. Did we roll our eyes? Not in front of Kathy, of course, but the way we saw it, you don’t fix too many dogs by getting even more. Plus, we’d had a history of ineffective strategies in trying to calm down Jake Farley. First, Kathy would soothe him until we could pet him ourselves — surely some sweet patting and ear-scratching would convince him of our general goodness and lack of ill-will. But no. The split-second Kathy moved away, he nearly bit our fingers off while resuming his insane barking. Next, we beseeched him with doggy treats. This didn’t work either. Then Kathy read in a book that we needed to spray him with water, and she got us a little sprayer (like a Windex bottle, except made of cute, orange plastic in the shape of an upside-down carrot). This worked for about two days until he realized he could back up 6 feet and keep up the earsplitting barks. Finally, I started opening the gate and chasing him down the side of the house growling. This was the most effective so far.

But now there is Nora. An adorable cocker spaniel puppy. And Jake the maniac Farley loves her to pieces. The calming strategy really seems to be working. And now, besides the hummingbirds, we have another animal entertainment out the window: Jake Farley and Nora wrestling their little hearts out, and then sleeping curled up together. Sweet!

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