When you get an older dog (meaning not an 8 week old puppy like I normally get) there is a piece of their history that you will never know. You can speculate all you want but can never truly know what their life was like.
Mack was five months old when I got him. He’d spent those first months on a farm. A seemingly charmed life. No leashes. No collars. No rules. Just freedom to run all day on the farm, and sleep in a safe barn at night. It sounds quite perfect.
But I can’t shake the feeling that his life was not perfect before he came to my house. There are these little glimpses of… I don’t know what.
There have been times over the last couple of months where he’ll be sleeping peacefully on the floor, then his legs start kicking like he’s having one of those frolicking dreams, then he is suddenly on his feet frantically barking. It’s this high pitched “ar-ar-ar” like a half whimper/half bark/half yelp (yes, I know that math doesn’t add up). As he’s doing this weird yelping he’s looking quickly around the room, then calms down and runs to me. He’ll practically throw himself across my lap while I talk to him and tell him it’s OK.
There have been a few times over the past two months where I’ve been walking down the hall or up the stairs or in the kitchen and suddenly remember that I forgot something and I’ll turn around quickly to go the other way. He’ll jump quickly out of my way and does that frantic little bark/yap/yelp thing. I have to get down on my knees and call his name to snap him out of this state.
Last night I was eating dinner on the recliner and he was sitting on the floor watching me. He started to come towards the recliner like he was going to climb on my lap and I turned my toes in towards each other to block his path and I said, “No, Mack.” In his approach towards the recliner, his chest made contact with my the bottom of my feet. My feet that were not moving, only blocking his path. He jumped back and started yelping his little frantic yelp. Mark looked at me and goes, “What did you do?” I said, “I didn’t do anything. I just put my feet together to block him from getting up on the chair.” About that time Mack tried again to get up and his chest contacted my feet. Again he jumped back and started yelping.
I was just about in tears by this time because he sounded so frightened. I try to not let my mind go wild making assumptions about what his first five months were like. It would drive me mad. But I’m beginning to think that life on the farm wasn’t all that it’s cracked up to be.
I can only hope that one day he will feel completely safe and won’t have these heart-breaking outbursts.