I have a dog living under the bed. His name is Gizmo, but you can call him Giz. He is a miniature Sheltie. Giz is as weird as his name, very shy, timid and afraid. He spends most of his time hiding. I should mention that he actually is my daughter’s dog. When he is not under her bed hiding from imaginary doggy danger, he is looking out the window waiting for her to come home and protect him.
The other evening I was getting ready to go for my evening walk. Giz was not under the bed for once and was dancing on his toenails to go along. He goes on walks rather infrequently because he is either having paranoid delusions or is under the bed on the verge of another nervous breakdown.
Well, why not take the silly dog walking? He needs exercise too and perhaps a change of environment will help him to overcome some of his unreasonable fears, I thought.
I put him on a leash and Giz trotted along beside me, acting as if he had just eaten a whole box of Prozac flavored dog treats, seldom stopping even to leave his autograph on mailboxes or trees. He was almost acting like a normal dog until we reached the end of the cul-de-sac where some neighborhood children were playing. When the children spotted Giz, they came rushing over yelling, “Can we pet him?” People tend to like Shelties because they all look like Lassie.
Surrounded by strange children, instinct took over. Giz panicked and tried to pull away from me. The children did not understand why Giz was trying to escape from being petted. Frankly, neither did I. He ran first one direction and then another but couldn’t go far on a leash. I was trying to calm him when he somehow managed to pull his head through the loop of his collar, breaking free and streaking back down the street as if chased by imaginary demons.
Dogs, children, and dust swirled around me as Giz bolted down the middle of the street toward the lights of an oncoming car. With my heart in my throat, I saw him veer out of the path of the car and into someone’s yard just in the nick of time, probably setting a new world record for the canine sprint. The children chased after him squealing.
By now we were creating quite a commotion on the normally quiet street. We called and called, but he didn’t come. I stopped to ask some neighbors if they had seen a dog. “Oh, the Sheltie? Yes, he was running down the street!” Well, that didn’t help much.
It was growing dark and the dog was nowhere to be found. There seemed to be nothing to do but return home at this point and hope that the stupid dog would calm down and find his way home later. Walking back with an empty leash, I peered into bushes and shadows, hoping to catch a glimpse of him. How would I explain to my daughter that her little dog was lost, I wondered?
Well, when I arrived back home, the mutt was waiting for me on the back steps anxious to get inside. He made a beeline to his favorite spot under the bed, not even slowing down to check out his food dish. I haven’t seen him since.
I might as well face it; I have a permanent dog kennel under the bed – but at least I know where the dog is.
I’m so glad he made it home. I have a skittish Sheltie too. It takes him forever to warm up to people. Especially men and people in dark clothes. We got him from the Humane Society and suspect he had a bad experience with a man in a dark uniform. Just a guess. Again, you had me scared for a bit and I’m glad all is well.
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They are so smart. I think when something bad happens, they do not forget and it affects behavior later. I think if anything happened and we had to find Giz another home, he would not have made it. He had a hard time learning to trust.
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What an adventure! I thought Shelties were usually outgoing and a little hyper.
They are. We have had several Shelties and they are great dogs, extremely intelligent. This particular dog was just weird. The vet thought he might have been traumatized as a pup, maybe taken away from the litter too soon to sell. He was very sweet, though, and loved my daughter to death.