Those few people who know me IRL might or might not be aware that the family picked up (against my protests) a dog at the beginning of June. Sturgis, as he's known, is over 75 pounds of pure 2 1/2-year-old muscle. He's a Lab-Boxer mix, most likely with several other breeds thrown in (I'd suspect Greyhound from his speed and his lack of endurance). He's also obedient only to Daddy, Mother, and Karyn. At this moment, none of them are capable of caring for him; the 'rents are on a house-hunting trip to London, while the school where K teaches is back in session. That leaves me with the responsibility of dealing with the dog.
Unfortunately, I don't know if anyone told the dog; if they did, he didn't pay much attention. I can't even get him to do his business...from the day when my parents left, I came home and immediately tried to get him to go, since they'd been in such a hurry to get out to the airport that they couldn't do so themselves. I stood out there for twenty minutes while he stayed virtually in one place, and acted as if he'd never had to eliminate in his life. I got the same response every time I left the house with him, save for one time when he walked virtually the entire perimeter of our 2.8-acre property. That involved dragging me through high grass, and worse, all that it led to was his wetting very lightly three times...marking territory, don'cha know? I jiust happen to develop contact dermatitis when I touch almost any sort of grass with my bare skin, so if that was the only way I was going to be able to get him to do even that much, it was going to be a long, enflamed week until Mother returned. I was spared such a fate mainly because Karyn, in her final week before returning to school, found the time to come over here at least once, sometimes twice, a day, and he's actually willing to drop for her. She eventually decided that what was getting results (including the only messes made by the stupid animal since Monday) was that she was playing ball with him and I wasn't. As a result, with her being unable to play today (it's a planning-day for her school, preceding resumption of classes tomorrow), she told me in no uncertain terms that I had to play ball with him, and maybe that would actually produce some results as his garbage turned to jelly from the running involved.
There were major issues to deal with. Over his time here, the damned animal has proved himself to have certain tendencies of which he can't be broken. Like our previous dog, he's an instinctive chaser. Unlike our previous dog, no amount of peventive measures can keep him from making a move against anything he considers prey. That's never a great thing when you live in a small blot of ponderosa forest which contains at least one herd of deer. As a result of all that, even Mother and Karyn normally keep him on-leash at virtually all times.
Ball can't be played off-leash. As soon as I released his lead, he started refusing to stay in a position where he could see the ball; I kept trying to maneouvre onto his left shoulder so that he could see, but he just kept moving himself over to a position ahead of and to the left of me. Then, he took off like a guided missile...or like the hound I suspect him to be largely composed of. I learnt at that point that the other way in which he differs from the previous dog is that when he's in chase mode, he becomes totally un-responsive to verbal command. I also learnt, a matter of seconds later, that the local deer don't know how to jump fences, even though they've been here for longer than the oldest deer have been living, are composed merely of wire and maybe a few 2*4's, and reach only to about a metre high, if that. He first chased two into the section of property running back towards the road; this time, since there were two, one was able to distract him when the other hit the fence in a blind panic, long enough for that one to get loose and find the only opening in the fence on the entire property. At the point when the deer left the back yard, the dog was about a metre and a half behind her; I stepped directly into his path as soon as the poor terrified creature had passed. Thankfully, the one thing the dog won't do is attack a human even if she stops him from a certain kill; he was gaining on Miss Deer as I intervened. Unfortunately, what I wasn't aware of is that the other deer had instead decided to bed down in a spot about 5 metres from the boundary of our property on the side away from the road. It came into view precisely once, for two seconds, just as I was throwing the ball in the same direction, and the dog (apparently not able to learn a lesson even when he was stopped in the act!) took off as though he had a JATO device strapped to him. This time there was only the one deer on the premises, so the distraction trick didn't work; I couldn't get over quickly enough to intervene, either (particularly since I was trying not to go in there, since it was where the long grass and the nasty shrubbery grew). I breathed a sigh of relief when the rattling of something hitting the fence in a panic stopped and a deer came trotting away from the furthest corner of our yard on the far side of the fence, but when I arrived at the spot where the dog was sitting and looking proud, I saw a neighbor stroking him and a fawn, still alive, but with a broken neck, not a metre away. I wanted to break the dog's neck, as well; certainly, petting him was totally out. Completely un-surprising to me, he didn't once even wet, let alone dump, during the entire nearly 20 minutes I was out with him. That's right; even if he hadn't killed a deer, the attempt would have been a failure!
It's my fault. The dog at least makes a show of obeying the others, but something about me has him convinced that I can be blithely ignored at all times. Admittedly, when Mother and Karyn brought him home, I spit, arched my back, and puffed my tail as much as did Natsumi, but still...I'm a human. By definition, every last human is superior to every last canine; if not, you get not only deer-killing, cat-killing dogs, but dogs that do harm to people as well, as they 'correct' them in the way they would any inferior in their pack. I'm almost glad that it'll take an un-qualified miracle to have children; if he sees me as beta enough to totally ignore, he'd most likely see any future Chrysikittens as inferiors who could be chastised...right to the point of nearly biting off their faces! If there's any bright side, his disobedience to me extends so far that he even refuses to eat for me. On the other hand, that's still not all that great of news; my parents actually like him and have made it clear that if anything happens to him, I'll be held responsible and really regret the event. His unwillingness to do literally anything for me apparently isn't a mitigating factor here, and since the current plan is for Mother to commute between Denver and London, leaving the dog here, I have a lot more of this to look forward to...if 'look forward' is the right term. Shoot me now, please?