We brought Max home as a puppy 11 years ago. We were looking for a small dog like a Shi Tzu that would live longer than the others we had, and easier to manage. Max had a terrible start in his life. Found in near death, it took 6 months at the Vet in order to be placed for adoption. Four foster mothers, given 4 different names, the puppy was a bundle of nerves when I first held him. We wondered if he was really a Shi Tzu.
We were reassured by the Vet, a friend, that he was. At the time he looked more like a mix between a rat and a squirrel. His first weeks home, for him another place to be abandoned, were mostly a mix of crying when alone and if not, following us every second. After a few months, he relaxed and started feeling more secure, even exploring the home and patio by himself. His only exhibition of extreme affection was when we returned home, regardless of the time he had stayed alone. It was a mixture of joy and some growling,as a sign of some displeasure for our actions. As time elapsed, we noticed some changes.
He was not following us, but reminding us of what we usually did, and at what time we were supposed to do it. Slowly being reminded changed to being ordered. As it was happening we were oblivious to what was going on. What had been OUR house was now MAX house. We wake up on his clock that does not change twice a year. We take care of our toilet needs on his timetable.
The same goes for when we, our feral cats and he have to be fed. We are confronted with disgust, expressed by growling and/or barking if we deviate from his (our) routine. Just as many in our great Nation are just accepting the recent cultural changes without a protest, we were, and are, following Max’s leadership. Dependency though, does have some merits.
We are told if we over sleep, late for meals, not in our beds in a timely manner, or eat at regular hours. It does give us assistance to the normal elderly loss of memory. Also we have inside security. Any perceived threat is taken care of by constant barking. If we dare to challenge the existence of any abnormal sighting, he looks at us like “see, I drove them away!”
Max knows that this is his forever home and he is not leaving. He stills has nightmares and we see him sleep, but crying and his small legs moving as if he was running. He is friendly to the extreme with visitors, but when they leave he stays far apart from the door, just in case they will take him away. Our bottom line is that we are now under new management, like it or not, it is too late to change, and in all honesty we love our little dictator!
Fernando J. Milanes, MD