Rain Girl in a Dog Suit, by Beverly Hicks Burch

Rain Man Girl in a Dog Suit,

I’ve been thinking about Michael Vick a lot lately…

To refresh memories, back in 2007 Michael Vick was an Atlanta Falcon pro football player who got himself into a heap of trouble over dog fighting. Mr. Vick had a 19 page indictment against him that pretty much laid open the dirty little secret he had been keeping on his property in Virginia…he was running an illegal and atrocious dog fighting kennel and ring. Many of Vick’s supporters felt he should be given a pass on the discovery of his secret hobby on the grounds that it was a “cultural thing”. In other words, they were saying that people of color find it acceptable to abuse and misuse animals.

Well, all of that didn’t fly too well with the general public and long story short, Mr. Vick was convicted. He spent several months in prison.

Now, I’m all for a person moving on with their life, especially after they have paid their dues so to speak. They deserve to try to make a normal life for themselves as long as they are productive, decent citizens.

So, my beef here is not the fact that Vick is out of prison now. No, it’s how in the name of heaven could he have done what he did in the first place?

You see, this was been driven home to Tall & Handsome and me recently. We adopted a little female Schnauzer (possible Schnauzer mix) dog from a local shelter. We have fallen in love with the breed because of our Watson. Schnauzers are crazy smart little dogs and make wonderful, delightful companions. I have said Watson it like a little boy zipped up inside a dog suit. He is that much like a child at times. He’s so smart that we actually have to spell words in front of him and he has actually reasoned out a couple of them!

So when we saw this little orphan needing a home, I confess, I was the first who developed weak knees and buckled. She looked so sad, lonely, hopeless and helpless. She was a diamond in the rough, cute as could be and I knew with a good grooming the Schnauzer in her would blossom. Unlike Watson who is a dark charcoal grey with light markings and a docked tail and ears, this little gal is a salt and pepper (light grey) and her ears were not docked…typical for Schnauzers in Europe. She had the same cute puddles of sweetness for eyes framed by those infamous long Schnauzer eye lashes. One look into those eyes and your heart feels like a jiggling Jell-o mold of mush.

We couldn’t resist and we took the plunge…and, went down a path we’d never experienced before…adopting from a shelter.

For you see, it appears we have adopted the Rain Man Girl zipped up in a dog suit. In the two years this tiny little dog has been on this Earth she has had a litter of puppies and evidently been mistreated so terribly she flinches every time you reach out to pet her. She is especially leery of Tall & Handsome which is shocking because he is Mr. Jet Puff Marshmallow when it comes to animals. He is kind of like the Dr. Doolittle of the family. We have concluded that somewhere, sometime there must have been a man or men that mistreated her terribly. I know her not so subtle reject of T & H must cut at his big kind heart, but he patiently bids him time waiting for her inner healing to come.

When I think of how someone could harm a tiny, helpless little dog like that, well, I’d like to be in a special room with Mr. Michael Vick and anyone else guilty of such behavior and give them a piece of my mind. A dose of their own medicine would probably work, too, but then again, it would probably be against the law to tie up a grown man and beat the poop out of him…just saying. I’d also ask him if he feels like a really big man…

Our little gal came to us with the name Krista. T & H and I both didn’t think that fit her, but were willing to keep it. Over the course of trying to help her heal and adapt to family life we have called her Baby Girl. That is what she answers to now. So, I would say she is now Baby Girl Burch. My parents both have asked, “You named her Baby Girl?” Are you going to call her something else?” Lately we’ve been trying out Tinkerbelle…

We’ve had her a little over 2 months now. We have seen progress in her, but she still has a way to go in many areas. Trust is one of them. I have become Momma and I seem to be her safe place. I seem to be able to handle her and pet her without her flinching or freaking out first. In fact, she will actually approach me for attention now, especially if I’m loving on Watson. Yes, there seems to be some sibling rivalry going on there. I have seen her and Watson scuffle and play a time or two until she realizes what she’s doing and then it’s like, “Ooops, what’s going on here?” Baby Girl/Tinkerbelle will follow Watson around in the yard and she tries to mimic him…you should see a tiny girl dog try to tinkle on a tree…it is truly a site to behold and make you wonder if she will come in with splinters on her bum.

She’s still warming up to T & H, but she will now take a treat from his hand on occasion…big progress! But, there are still times when she runs if he tries to pet her. She also does this approach and retreat thing if you call her to you. It’s almost schizophrenic. The other day I let the dogs out and T & H was setting up a toy train under the Christmas tree in the dining room. When Baby Girl came marching back in T & H’s big head was in the doorway (he was still laying in the floor working on the train). He looked up at her and said, “Hey, Baby Girl”. She looked like a deer that had been caught in a blind and shot. After that, it took a lot of cajoling from me to get her back into the house. Good thing the porch in screened in back there.

I am practicing picking her up and setting her down. The picking up part takes time and in the beginning it was like picking up a corpse in full rigor mortis. Stiff as a chunk of firewood…hand to God, no kidding. If it wasn’t so pitiful it would be hilarious. She draws her front legs up so tightly they look like the front paws of a kangaroo. The good news: Picking her up is becoming a little easier, she doesn’t fight as much and isn’t as tense…at least with me.

Setting her down has been another story. It was like trying to place a gyrating football. I have been teaching her the word “easy” much like I taught Watson and I proud to say slowly but surely each time I set her down there’s less “swimming” going on and more calm. I am proud to say that is finally beginning to take hold.

We’re crate training her for several reasons, one being potty training. She was semi-potty trained, but we count each day without an accident like an addict out of rehab. If she falls of the wagon, we start counting all over again.

She has no problem with her crate and sleeps in it at night. As a matter of fact, we had to get use to her being here and in it. The first night T & H, Watson and I all three bolted up in bed when we heard what sounded like a poltergeist in the room. It was Baby Girl standing up in her “condo” as we call it and stretching, shimmying and shaking before settling back down.

Last night was a major breakthrough. She had been up on the bed with us while we watched some TV before bedtime. Usually I have to pick her up and put her in her crate, but I always tell her “it’s bedtime”. Last night, I stood up, looked at her and said, “Baby Girl, it’s bedtime.” Well, she did that little “yes I will, no I won’t” thing, but after working with her, she hopped down off the bed and walked into her crate!” Shut the front door and pick Momma up off the floor!

So, that’s how life goes with our little abused and damaged Rain Girl. Everyday an adventure and each day a new day for me to tell her…”you is smart…you is beautiful…you is important…you is loved…”

baby girl went to the beauty shop

Baby Girl went to the “beauty shop”

© 2012 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved

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Filed under Dog fighting, dogs, Michael Vick, Miniature Schnauzer, Paraphrase Quote from The Help, Pet Adoption, Pets, Photography, Picture of the Day, Tall & Handsome

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