These days there doesn’t seem to be much that people agree on. Here’s one thing we can all agree on: whoever hurt this dog last fall is a piece of shit.
Because I am currently incapable of committing to having a dog around forever, we’ve been fostering dogs once in awhile. In mid-December, we took in an about 6 month old Comet. When I met Comet, he was shaking. He had just had surgery that attached a metal rod to one of his hind legs to repair a badly broken bone. In order to get the surgery, the dog needed to be surrendered by the original owners and the bill was picked up by a dog adoption organization. There’s no proof a lawyer would call solid, but I feel confident that piece of shit I mentioned earlier kicked Comet hard enough to snap his leg. I figured the shaking when we met was a combination of cold weather/shaved leg from the surgery, new people and a general lack of understanding of what was going on around him. Looking back, as I reached through a car window to pet Comet on his head, I’m sure the shaking was fear. Comet was completely terrified of me.
I’ve never seen this kind of fear in a dog’s eyes. When I came home, I was greeted with angry barks that felt like they were meant to warn everyone else that the monster was back. Wide eyes waiting for an attack that never came. Tail down, tucked between his legs. I was met with the same behavior every morning too starting the second I appeared at the top of the stairs. As I made dinner, I could hear Comet’s footsteps approach then see him as he kept tabs on my location before trotting away…only to be back about a minute later to check back in on me again.
The piece of shit that hurt Comet was a guy. Sad truth is it doesn’t take Columbo like instincts come to that conclusion. Dog has absolutely no problem with females, freaks out around all males. Here's an absolutely fascinating side note: Comet didn't give a transgender person a second glance. The dog's assessment of her was non-threatening female while he continued to closely watch some nearby males and huff at them whenever they walked past the doorway.
Based on a few other things, I believe that Comet saw this piece of shit hit women too. On Christmas Eve, an uncle raised his arms as he walked towards his niece to give her a holiday hug and Comet went nuts. Attack mode NUTS in making sure he didn't hurt her. Comet has seen stuff. Bad stuff. I think Comet’s injury was sustained while he heroically sacrificed his body jumping into harms way to protect someone from the piece of shit. I also like to think he got a few painful bites in while doing it. He's a protector. I took this picture of Comet protecting my youngest from that stomach bug that went around over the holiday break.
A trainer told me to keep Comet on a leash looped around a belt while I made dinner and occasionally drop treats. Even if he didn’t eat the treats right away, he would know they came from me plus he’d have to watch me not doing anything. It didn’t really work. Comet often ignored the treats and was mostly terrified of being attached to me. Pretty sure there were a few times that my presence literally scared the shit out of him. A weird twist is that if I was sitting down, I wasn’t as bad. Comet actually fell asleep on me a few times.
But the second I stood up, it was back on. There’s an expression, “If my dog doesn’t like you, I probably won’t either.” After the first week, I was pretty sure Comet and I were never going to be best friends. But I did not expect the complete and total rejection of a dog to be as demoralizing as it was. Almost all of my offers of friendship were refused. In his eyes, I was just like the a piece of shit that broke his leg. Comet would let me know that. Several times a day. In my own house. After awhile it just wears you down.
Comet needed to take it easy for 6 to 8 weeks so that the screws in his leg healed. Apparently if the leg is over-stressed, the bone around the screw can shatter and that is a much harder break to fix. Through a miracle, Comet didn’t re-injure the break while he stayed with us. Unless he was sleeping, Comet was moving. And once the leg pain went away, Comet was fast. And a jumper too. Gates were just a recommendation. We had put him in a pen and went out for a bit. When we got home, Comet met us at the door. That little guy cleared a 42 inch tall pen wall with about 2 feet to build up speed for the jump. We returned the pen and got a crate.
After his stay with us, Comet spent a few weeks with a trainer/behavior specialist. He got better with other dogs and people. From there he moved onto a few other foster homes. Honestly, I didn’t know if Comet was ever going to find a permanent home. But a few weeks ago he did. We saw him recently with his new family. They clearly had already fallen in love with Comet. Comet looked happy too. I think he is still a little hesitant around men but his behavior was much more relaxed than when he moved on from our house. Comet smelled my hand and seemed to remember me. No barking or huffing. His tail never stopped wagging and he looked content. The huge eyes that used to be filled with fear were just excited puppy eyes wanting to play.
Good for you, Comet. You deserve it.