I've been telling the story of two "cat people" and our life with Bozo The Blind In One Eye, Three Legged Dog With A Chronic Skin Condition (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3). I've talked about his many "lives" and that meme was a constant one with me, Mrs grog and our vets. Every time Boze would have some kind of surgical procedure, be it a ruptured cist or removal of a mouth tumor or another kind of growth on his chest, we'd joke that the old dog was tough and had more lives than a cat.
By this point in the story, he's probably up to seven or eight lives but along the way, probably around the time he turned 10, we learned yet another thing about this fascinating dog.
You Can Teach An Old Dog New Tricks
We learned this totally by accident. We had healthy treats that we'd give him from time to time, remember, we were cruel owners who never game him hotdogs, hamburgers or ice cream. Heh heh, of course his coat looked and felt better and he was less stressed but some days I wondered if he'd be happier eating crap all the time.
Anyway, I don't recall exactly how it happened but I had a treat in my hand and his exceptional nose (even by dog standards, he would have made a great dope or bomb sniffing dog) picked up on that and suddenly both eyes were locked onto me across the room. I said "this way Bozo" and he got up and came over. I said "sit" and he sat!
I spent the next couple of weeks working on this maybe 15 minutes a day and with almost no effort, he would "Sit", "Stay", "Come Here", "Sit", "Lie Down" and "Speak". When speaking, it was a Frankenstein movie-esque howl, that was the hound dog in him. Thereafter, we sometimes put him thru his paces with treats, sometimes without, but he was always cooperative.
Which made me wonder, did he perhaps have a little bit of training at some point? He sure as hell didn't learn anything living with Cliff and it just seemed too easy with us, like he already knew. We knew from early on that he was a very smart dog, also willful to the point of stubbornness at times but this? It always made us wonder exactly who had him when he was a puppy and why he was abandoned.
But I Want To Be A Lap Dog!
As a rule, Boze got along with most dogs, big, small, whatever...except beagles, particularly unfixed male beagles. One of our neighbors kids always seemed to have a male beagle around and of course never dreamed of getting the thing fixed so it would come up to Boze during a walk and try to hump him. Our normally placid dog would get all alpha male and after a while, we simply let him. One marginal dog fight sent the dog a message. Of course like all dogs out here in red, rurl Misery, he eventually got hit by a car. As did several others from the same neighbors' kid. They just let them roam around and never were let inside the house and amount of maimed dogs like Bozo or splatted dogs like the rest would ever convince them otherwise.
Also, Bozo loved people. Aside from Mrs grog, his two favorite people in the world were our fellow band mates, Andy and Gina:
They learned, as did we, that early on, Bozo never met a lap he didn't want to climb onto. His inner "foo foo lap dog" was never far from the surface. Like most dogs, he craved attention and if we were ever out on the deck, he'd woof to come out:
He liked everybody except one person(s): the UPS delivery person(s). This was yet another amazing thing about the dog. He could be in the house, snoozing, and the UPS truck would come up the street and he'd wake up, stand up and start baying at the moon. And heaven help the UPS person when they came up to the house. He'd start barking loudly at the door. Remember, he couldn't see em or presumably smell em but damnit all, somehow he just knew. Again, it's unbelievable until you saw it 3-4 times.
He never did that to anybody else. A total stranger could have broken into the house and Boze would have helped them find the valuables just as long as he got a treat. The only guarding he might have done would be to inadvertently trip the intruder.
Life As A Fixture
Amongst our friends, obviously we're identified by our cats, both at the house and down at the Dauphine. And yet, Bozo came, in a very short amount of time, to become the visible fixture in our lives. I learned my mistake about "nobody will adopt a three-legged dog" and over the years changed it to "everybody loves a three-legged dog".
After we got his weight down and got his skin condition manageable, he became part of the furniture. Okay, it moved, barked and occasionally erupted in a bloody mess, but otherwise, life at home looked like this for the better part of 6 years:
Boze remained pretty spry and active for his first four years with us but right around the time he turned 12, old age kicked in and I'll tell you those stories in the next, and last installment.