Once in a while I catch the television show called, The Dog Whisperer. It's not a favorite show but sometimes I like to see how he can change bad-boy dogs into good dogs.
Then I feel guilty. I think back to my childhood. My dog Cindy. She was actually brought home by my sister. The neighbors had a litter of puppies which they were drowning because they didn't want them. My sister, eight at the time, could hardly keep herself in check as each little blind puppy was put under the water in the pail and became still. When she couldn't stand anymore, she cried out. "I'll take that one." This was Cindy, the runt of the litter, filled with lice and fleas, afraid of everything that came her way.
At first my mother took Cindy. She placed her in her kitchen apron pocket and carried her around feeding through an eyedropper. We never thought the puppy would like but soon she was eating bread soaked in warm milk. After her eyes opened and she began eating solids, Mom let my sister have her. It didn't last long. The dog was too much for my people-loving sister, so as I loved the dog and spent a lot of time with it, it became mine.
The guilt comes in because we just didn't know back then about dog psychology. Cindy should have been on a farm, running around under a farmers firm hand, instead of being cooped up in our house. I did take her for walks on the beach and in the forest but not enough, this is what I think now. She was constantly barking, which we thought was a personality tic but it seems it just seems the dog is filled with energy.
We laughed at her fears, which could have been dealt with. I fear that she might not have been a happy dog and it pains me because even though she died thirty years ago, I still consider her one of my childhood friends (I didn't have many human ones)
I know it's not good to let a dog think it's top dog, we didn't know we were doing anything wrong. Last, she had a habit of dragging her bottom along the carpet which we thought was gross and that she was wiping her bum. Well! It seems that there's a gland in a dog's bum which in the wild was for scent. In the domestic dog, it's residual, but can get fluids trapped in it. And it bothers the dog which tries to relieve the pain by dragging.
So when I watch dog shows, they make me feel bad at what I didn't know, at the irresponsibility that, I suppose, many people had back then. At least if I ever have a dog in the future I will know how to care for it properly. It's all I can do to make it up to Cindy.