Pavlov’s Perfume


My girlfriend, who shall remain nameless, lest someone recognize her on this page, has a three-time rescue dog like mine. Hers also started out as a voluntary surrender puppy after his owner first lost a home in the Redding fire. Or maybe the mop-top pup was at the Redding shelter and got shipped out to make room for the incoming fire dogs.

At any rate Tony LaRussa’s ARF of Walnut Creek took him in, where another family adopted him. Although he is only nine pounds, he’s a hairy thing and excitable around other dogs.  It’s the Pomeranian in him that goes berserk when he sees another dog. Or maybe the Chihuahua. He’s a little bit of both – a pom chi.

The second family gave him back. Then my girlfriend came along and got him, once she realized that the Belgian Malinois, the ninety-five pound behemoth that she and her son trained from a puppy, was going to move with her son to his new job in south-central California.

She wasn’t going to miss that big police dog that much. He had used the tender skin on her arms as his personal teething rings. She had the cuts and scratches to prove it.  Still, she’s always had a dog in the house, and with her son gone, she needed a buddy.

Tiny Bruno looks like a black and white mop with his flopsy bangs and his tiny circus dog nose. He made her laugh, and she needed that.  He should have been named Houdini, though, since after she brought him home he used that circus nose along with his itty bitty paws to get the front door open (the lock was broken) and then got himself out the front gate, as well, while my girlfriend was at work.

Fortunately, the neighbor found Bruno running down the street and was able to lure him over with a piece of chocolate. She grabbed him and looked at the tag, then called my girlfriend, who went home and got Bruno situated before she went out again.

That’s the thing about rescue dogs. Leave them alone and they go a little nutso. Put them in the car, and they think they are losing their new home yet again. My three-time rescue Jack Russell is anxious on all car rides.

Back to Bruno. He is more comfortable now. He’s to the point where when my girlfriend gets dressed up and squirts on a little perfume, Bruno knows he is going to get a bacon stick to chew on. Now he is excited instead of anxious when she leaves him alone. He is learning the new routine.

Bruno has no reason to escape again or to worry. Mommy will be back, and she will be bringing treats.

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