Pets require patience

By Anita Doberman: Lifestlyes Columnist

Even though pets are difficult, we still love them to death.

My husband and I have three pets: two dogs and a cat. We have had our two pugs, Monty, a male, and Tiny, a female, since they were puppies. While they love us unconditionally, Tiny is a normal dog and Monty is our “problem child.”

We have had grief and expenses associated with this dog since we brought him home. He started by biting our pants by the ankles. He chewed shoes, furniture and couch cushions, and ate garbage bags. After we had children, he loved to grab dirty diapers. All puppies exhibit these kinds of behaviors, but Monty never outgrew them.

As an adult dog, he attempts to mark his territory all over the house and thinks that jumping on the table looking for food or grabbing a sandwich from our children’s hands is great exercise.

We have tried everything, including crate training, obedience classes, even a dog behavioral therapist – it didn’t sound as crazy when we lived in Los Angeles – and anti-anxiety medication. Regardless of our efforts, Monty has always been and continues to be a difficult dog.

Luckily, he is not aggressive and wonderful with children. He has never turned against our kids or growled, even as they attempted to take food out of his mouth.
But, he requires constant attention and 24/7 supervision. When you have five young children and a husband deployed, it’s difficult to focus exclusively on the pet. Since my husband’s absence and a terrible flea infestation, which almost pushed me over the edge, I thought about giving away Monty. I called the pug rescue society and some of the animal shelters in the area. Some of my husband’s friends suggested putting him to sleep to end our misery.

I confess that in moments of despair, when I was washing our linens and towels in the middle of the night, or when my daughter Anna was covered in flea bites, the thought of parting from Monty crossed my mind.

But, I could never get rid of this dog. I took responsibility to care for this pet when I brought him into our home.

Monty, our neurotic pet, is a test of patience and love. I could never tell my children that I decided to get rid of him because he was too much work. What lesson would that be for them? Give up when the going gets rough?

So, I have become more creative with Monty. He has been wearing a doggy diaper in the house, my husband’s idea and apparently the only thing that will stop him from marking inside the home. The veterinarian gave us a few tips for some more crate training and behavior modification. He even suggested that I walk around the house with Monty on a leash, to keep an eye on him at all time (I have so much free time as it is).

Monty will probably never change, regardless of what we do. We must love him despite his behavior.

Rest assured, buddy, we are not putting you to sleep. You still have lots of military bases to see, tails to chase and dirty diapers to grab. If you can, cut me a break once in a while, especially when Daddy is not around.